The Man Booker Prize longlist was announced last week, and now literary gamblers can begin placing bets: Bookies have posted odds on the thirteen contenders. The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, The Long Song, and C are leading the pack.
But, wonders The Guardian, what does it all mean? This weekend Robert McCrum and Patrick Neate debated the significance of the prize:
RMc: Who knows how the Booker jury operated this time? It’s interesting to speculate. Each year one hears some judge or other protest his/her devout belief in “literary merit”, but the smell of many shortlists is too often of compromise, cowardice and crowd-pleasing. And to introduce an old note of dissent, the real problem with Booker in an age of global fiction based on the Anglo-American tradition is its absurd omission of American writing. This looked odd when the prize was set up in 1969. Now it seems bonkers.
PN: I agree. That said, off the top of my head, I’m not sure I can think of an American novel that clamours for inclusion.
(via The Millions)