Some thoughts on the Booker longlist…

I don’t usually post about the Booker long or short list because, for the last couple of years have been slightly disappointed with their choices.

However, this year’s longlist was announced yesterday and to my surprise, I’ve already read five of the listed books – the most I think I’ve ever read from their longlist. Moreover, the five I have read have all been some of my top reads of the year.

Here are links to my reviews:

Trust by Hernan Diaz

Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan

Oh William! by Elizabeth Strout

Case Study by Graeme Macrea Burnet

The Keegan and the Strout both made my best books of 2021 list and Trust will undoubtedly make my best of 2022 along with Audrey Magee’s The Colony. I’m not sure why I didn’t write about The Colony on my blog but I thought that it was a wonderful achievement.

There are two books that I really hoped to see on the longlist and they were Sea of Tranquility by Emily St John Mandel and Spies in Canaan by David Park, both of which I thought would have been thoroughly deserving of the shortlist, but as it goes with the Booker, there are always the ones who got away…

In terms of the other books on the longlist, I’m very keen to read The Trees by Percival Everett, which had already been on my radar; Treacle Walker by the legend that is Alan Garner and Nightcrawling by Leila Mottley.

Are there any other longlisted titles that you would recommend? Or was there a book that you were sure would make the longlist, but has missed out?

The 746

Cathy746books View All →

I am a 40 something book buying addict trying to reduce the backlog one book at a time!

32 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Ha, this was the first year for a while that I’ve read absolutely nothing from the Booker longlist! It does look interesting but I won’t be adding anything to my TBR that wasn’t there already. I’m sad not to see Julia Armfield’s Our Wives Under The Sea and Hanya Yanagihara’s To Paradise – I thought both were superb.

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  2. I’m sorry, I was disappointed by this longlist. It’s offers no sense that it encompasses international fiction, it’s just the US, UK & Ireland and one from Sri Lanka.
    Nothing from Canada, or Australia, or NZ, or India, and nothing from the rich pickings among African authors who publish in English except Bulawayo who’s been in the US for so long now, I read her style and preoccupations as American.

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  3. Great post, Cathy – thanks. I rather enjoyed seeing the Long List this year. The books seemed less depressing than in the last few yeas. But yes, I was also dismayed to see that half of them came from the US. Maybe this is where the edgy stuff comes from. Hopefully the US influence will get whittled down for the Short List.

    I rather wish the Seasons Quartet by Ali Smith had been nominated but some authors refuse to allow their publishers to nominate them.

    Anyway, the one I’ve read is Oh William by Strout. I’ve had Hernan Diaz’ Trust on my Wish List for a long time and I may buy and read Small Things Like This very shortly – tomorrow maybe. LOL (It’s very short.)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m not being parochial, though Australian and NZ lit is what I know best. There’s a couple of Kiwi books that I’d be nominating as well.
    But I’m actually more concerned that their horizons seem so circumscribed.

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  5. I have tried and tried to post this but it won’t go through. That was a super post, Cathy – thanks. I rather enjoyed seeing the Long List this year. The books seemed less depressing than in the last few yeas. But yes, I was also dismayed to see that half of them came from the US. Maybe this is where the edgy stuff comes from. Hopefully the US influence will get whittled down for the Short List.

    I rather wish the Seasons Quartet by Ali Smith had been nominated but some authors refuse to allow their publishers to nominate them.

    Anyway, the one I’ve read is Oh William by Strout. I’ve had Hernan Diaz’ Trust on my Wish List for a long time and I may buy and read Small Things Like This very shortly – tomorrow maybe. LOL (It’s very short.)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve read two (Case Study and Oh William!). I enjoyed the Strout but it was ‘very Strout’ – not that that makes it unworthy of a Booker but… but… I think I stated my thoughts on Case Study when you reviewed it – it was an exciting book, the structure clever and I was absolutely convinced by what I was reading.

    Not sure what else I will read from the list. I have Booth and am interested in Trust.

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  7. I was so pleased to see Keegan and Magee listed, both thoroughly deserving of the judges’ attention. Even as a devoted Strout fan I was quite surprised to see Oh, William there. Good but not her best, I think.

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  8. I’ve read two – Small Things Like These and Oh William! Not surprised to see Small Things Like These on the list but I wouldn’t have bet on Oh William! being there because, although I enjoyed it and Strout is a great writer, it didn’t seem obviously Booker material. Overall it strikes me as quite an “accessible” list. I’m probably most interested to read The Colony as that seemed to appear in a lot of pre-announcement predictions

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  9. I love the wide age range of the authors (20 to 87!) and this is yet another kick in the pants to read Small Things Like These, but I’m saving my energy for the Giller (and hoping a certain Irish-Canadian author makes the longlist)

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  10. I’ve read two (the Keegan and Strout) and have three on my TBR that I’m rather keen to get to, and even keener now (the Burnet, Magee and Schwartz). Like you, I loved Keegan’s a lot, but not sure a novella has enough ooomph to satisfy most readers? And the Strout was enjoyable but like Lisa, I can’t help but think there must have been at least one Canadian, African, Indian, Australian, Caribeean or NZ writer that could have snuck onto this list
    (by the by Strout has a new one coming out this Christmas – Lucy & William do the pandemic!)

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  11. Interesting you’ve read so many! In previous years books that haven’t yet been published were often on the list because I recall pre-ordering titles. I wonder if this is because the prize now has an international focus? Unfortunately this prize has become northern hemisphere centric since it changed its rules and is now dominated by US writers. This is a shame because for a long time the Booker was the route to worldwide attention for little known writers from Africa and Australia/NZ but now that door appears to be closed to them.

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  12. Hmm, I’ve read precisely none so far, but I have four of them on my TBR – so behind with new releases this year! I’d have liked to have seen Andrew Greig’s Rose Nicolson on the list – for me, definitely one of the best of the year, and Booker-worthy!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I’ve read the Diaz and the Keegan and loved both. I’ll be reading The Colony and others, although maybe only one or two until the shortlist is announced. That’s the beauty of library reserves; the choice to take back the ones I don’t get to/that don’t make the short list and not feel guilty!

    I agree with those who feel disappointed. I’ve been disappointed and sad ever since the Booker allowed in the Americans, and I’m an American. What I so loved about the Booker was how it introduced me to authors throughout the Commonwealth, discoveries that excited me and stretched my reading lists.

    Liked by 1 person

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