10 September 2012
Man Booker 2012 Predictions
The four I have read are The Teleportation Accident by Ned Beauman, Bring up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel, The Lighthouse by Alison Moore and The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce. I will finish The Yips by Nicola Barker tonight and I started Umbrella by Will Self. So far my two favourites are Mantel and Beauman, although Moore is close behind. I just reviewed the Mantel on the blog but as I am behind on my reviews, the others haven't been tackled yet. My two favourites are very different; Bring up the Bodies is a complex, historical epic whereas The Teleportation Accident is funny and audacious. However I found both of them to be massively accomplished and very successful in what they set out to do. I was already a big fan of Mantel and Bring up the Bodies more than continues her legacy. Beauman was a new discovery, it was the book on the longlist that most appealed to me initially and I just loved it - it was so enjoyable to read whilst also having enough substance to satisfy. Definitely reminiscent of The Sisters Brothers in tone, which was my favourite from last year's shortlist. I am confident Mantel will be on the shortlist and I wouldn't be surprised to see her win again (she won in 2009 for Wolf Hall). On the other hand I would be pleasantly surprised if Beauman managed to get onto the shortlist, I worry it's too much fun for Booker. But you never know quite what their criteria are each year and they generally like the shortlist to be varied.
I run a Man Booker shadowing group at my school which starts on Wednesday with staff and sixth formers so my opinions are always some mid-point between my own personal tastes and wanting the shadowing to be successful. Which is one of the main reasons I would also like to see Joyce make it onto the shortlist. I really did like this although personally I'm not sure it is unique enough to be really wonderful. However, I think my sixth formers would really respond well to it and as many of them this year don't read much modern fiction at all, if any, I want there to be at least some that are accessible as I'm worried some of them might be a bit much for unconfident readers.
Finally, The Yips, which I am about two thirds of the way through and hope to finish before the shortlist is announced. So far I am enjoying it, although not loving it, but I feel as though it's hit it's stride a bit more now as I have enjoyed the last 100 pages a great deal more than the beginning so hopefully it will continue on that trajectory and have a triumphant end.
I'll post the shortlist tomorrow when it is announced and reviews of the books over the next five weeks before the winner is announced on 16th October as well as some updates about our shadowing group.