Man Booker 2018 Shortlist

MilkmanMilkman by Anna Burns ($34.50)

Released in North America Dec.14

This novel takes place during the “Troubles” in Northern Ireland during the 70s through the eyes of a young girl. The book is described as “a tale of gossip and hearsay, silence and deliberate deafness. It is the story of inaction with enormous consequences.” Currently not available in North America until mid-December, this may change – especially if it wins on Oct.16.

 

Washington BlackWashington Black by Esi Edugyan ($33.99)

Also through the eyes of a young narrator, this time an 11 year-old slave on a Barbados sugar plantation. A grand geographic and historical sweep propels this highly ambitious exploration of race. The judges described it as “extremely imaginative, profoundly engaging and filled with an empathetic understanding of characters who are uprooted from places they knew and are required to make adjustments in worlds they barely could have dreamt of.” Also recently announced on the Giller Longlist.

 

Everything UnderEverything Under by Daisy Johnson ($21.00)

Released in North America Oct.23

The youngest author ever selected to a Man Booker list excels at making psychic phenomena feel visceral. This novel about an isolated lexicographer who, as an adult begins to remember a language invented in childhood will appeal to wordsmiths of all ages. Described as a “Sophoclean melodrama”, this retelling of Oedipus Rex, also reveals a layered story of a troubled mother-daughter relationship. Set on the canals of Oxford this is a beguiling contemporary tale of mythological proportion.

 

The Mars RoomThe Mars Room by Rachel Kushner ($24.99)

This searing novel about the fate of being poor and female in America portrays its main character, 29 year-old single mom, Romy Hall as she begins two consecutive life sentences at the Stanville Women’s Correctional Facility in California. Incarcerated for killing her stalker, it becomes evident that she and the rest of Stanville’s population began their sentences well before they wound up in Stanville. Kushner masterfully weaves their stories together along with their guards and other prison workers to create a powerfully nuanced narrative of survival in a socially engineered nightmare.

 

The OverstoryThe Overstory by Richard Powers ($36.95)

Another masterful storyteller creates a multi-voiced narrative about nine fascinating strangers who come together in a deliciously rendered, serendipitous, yet delightfully overdetermined way to try and save a continent’s last few remaining acres of virgin forest. You don’t need a botany degree to appreciate the depth of research Powers brings to bear on the life of forests and the rich biodiversity they have generated over the millennia. The only thing to rival Powers botanical research is his seamless ability to fuse it with his knowledge of the human animal and our conflicted social and political aspirations.

 

The Long TakeThe Long Take by Robin Robertson ($22.95)

Released in North America Oct.30

This is Scottish poet Robertson’s first novel. Told in a mixture of verse and prose, it describes a D-Day veteran from Nova Scotia trying to fit in to life after the war. A traumatized out-cast in a society with no time for yesterday’s heroes, he travels to New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles in an attempt to find a niche to survive in. Steeped in language raw and brilliant this is a homage to noir films from the late 40s and 50s that helped inspire his imagery and characters. Robertson has created an epic journey of a troubled soul who was part of a generation abandoned and set adrift after the sacrifices they endured during WWII.

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