The Man Booker Dozen – the list of thirteen longlisted titles for this year’s prize – was announced on 26th July; there are some old favourites appearing on it, alongside some authors I’m unfamiliar with, but they all sound like very interesting reads.
We’ve added the longlisted books here, but at the moment we don’t have them all on the catalogue. So if you see one you fancy, click on the book cover and it will take you either to its catalogue entry (where you can reserve a copy), or to the page where you can request that we buy the book for stock.
Alternatively, please just pop into your local library – we love chatting about books and will be happy to order it for you, whether or not we have it in stock yet.
Have you read any of these titles already? We’d love to hear your thoughts.
On March 3, 1947, in the maternity ward of Beth Israel Hospital in Newark, New Jersey, Archibald Isaac Ferguson, the one and only child of Rose and Stanley Ferguson, is born. From that single beginning, Ferguson’s life will take four simultaneous and independent fictional paths. Four Fergusons made of the same genetic material, four boys who are the same boy, will go on to lead four parallel and entirely different lives. Family fortunes diverge. Loves and friendships and intellectual passions contrast. A boy grows up-again and again and again.
After signing up for the US army in the 1850s, barely seventeen, Thomas McNulty and his brother-in-arms, John Cole, fight in the Indian Wars and the Civil War. Having both fled terrible hardships, their days are now vivid and filled with wonder, despite the horrors they both see and are complicit in. But when a young Indian girl crosses their path, Thomas and John must decide on the best way of life for them all in the face of dangerous odds.
Fourteen-year-old Linda lives with her parents in an ex-commune beside a lake in the beautiful, austere backwoods of northern Minnesota. She is unpopular at school and left to her own devices by her parents, so when the perfect family – mother, father and their little boy, Paul – move into the cabin across the lake, Linda begins to babysit Paul and feels welcome, that she finally has a place to belong.
Yet something isn’t right and Linda must make a choice. But how can a girl with no real knowledge of the world understand what the consequences will be?
Nadia and Saeed are two ordinary young people, attempting to do an extraordinary thing – to fall in love – in a world turned upside down. Theirs will be a love story but also a story about how we live now and how we might live tomorrow, of a world in crisis and two human beings travelling through it.
Civil war has come to the city which Nadia and Saeed call home. Before long they will need to leave their motherland behind – when the streets are no longer useable and the unknown is safer than the known. They will join the great outpouring of people fleeing a collapsing city, hoping against hope, looking for their place in the world . . .
Marcus Conway has come a long way to stand in the kitchen of his home and remember the rhythms and routines of his life. Considering with his engineer’s mind how things are constructed – bridges, banking systems, marriages – and how they may come apart.
A whole life, suspended in a single hour, described in continuous, flowing prose.
Midwinter in the early years of this century. A teenage girl on holiday has gone missing in the hills at the heart of England. The villagers are called up to join the search, fanning out across the moors as the police set up roadblocks and a crowd of news reporters descends on their usually quiet home.
Meanwhile, there is work that must still be done: cows milked, fences repaired, stone cut, pints poured, beds made, sermons written, a pantomime rehearsed. The search for the missing girl goes on, but so does everyday life. As it must.
(Reservoir 13 is only available as an e-book, so if you’d like to request it in another format, use this link to request it for stock.)
Daniel is heading north. He is looking for someone. The simplicity of his early life with Daddy and Cathy has turned sour and fearful. They lived apart in the house that Daddy built for them with his bare hands. They foraged and hunted. Sometimes Daddy disappeared, and would return with a rage in his eyes. But when he was at home he was at peace. He told them that the little copse in Elmet was theirs alone. But that wasn’t true. Local men, greedy and watchful, began to circle like vultures. All the while, the terrible violence in Daddy grew.
Anjum, who used to be Aftab, unrolls a threadbare carpet in a city graveyard that she calls home. A baby appears quite suddenly on a pavement, a little after midnight, in a crib of litter. The enigmatic S. Tilottama is as much of a presence as she is an absence in the lives of the three men who loved her.
The Ministry of Utmost Happiness is at once an aching love story and a decisive remonstration. It is told in a whisper, in a shout, through tears and sometimes with a laugh. Its heroes are people who have been broken by the world they live in and then rescued, mended by love-and by hope.
The American Civil War rages while President Lincoln’s beloved eleven-year-old son lies gravely ill. In a matter of days, Willie dies and is laid to rest in a Georgetown cemetery. Newspapers report that a grief-stricken Lincoln returns to the crypt several times alone to hold his boy’s body.
From this seed of historical truth, George Saunders spins an unforgettable story which unfolds over a single night. Willie Lincoln finds himself trapped in a transitional realm – called, in Tibetan tradition, the bardo – and as ghosts mingle, squabble, gripe and commiserate, and stony tendrils creep towards the boy, a monumental struggle erupts over young Willie’s soul.
A contemporary re-imagining of Sophocles’ Antigone.
Isma is free. After years spent raising her twin siblings in the wake of their mother’s death, she is finally studying in America, but she can’t stop worrying about Aneeka, her beautiful, headstrong sister back in London – or their brother, Parvaiz, who’s disappeared in pursuit of his own dream: to prove himself to the dark legacy of the jihadist father he never knew.
Then Eamonn enters the sisters’ lives. As the son of a powerful British Muslim politician, Eamonn has his own birthright to live up to – or defy. Is he to be a chance at love? The means of Parvaiz’s salvation? What sacrifices will we make in the name of love?
Daniel is a century old. Elisabeth, born in 1984, has her eye on the future. The United Kingdom is in pieces, divided by a historic once-in-a-generation summer.
Love is won, love is lost. Hope is hand in hand with hopelessness. The seasons roll round, as ever . . .
Dazzlingly energetic and deeply human, Swing Time is a story about friendship and music and true identity, how they shape us and how we can survive them. Moving from north-west London to West Africa, it is an exuberant dance to the music of time.
Two brown girls dream of being dancers – but only one, Tracey, has talent. The other has ideas: about rhythm and time, about black bodies and black music, what constitutes a tribe, or makes a person truly free. It’s a close but complicated childhood friendship that ends abruptly, never to be revisited, but never quite forgotten, either…
Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. Life is hell for all the slaves, but especially bad for Cora. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape. But matters do not go as planned-they are being hunted.
The Underground Railroad is no mere metaphor-engineers and conductors operate a secret network of tracks and tunnels beneath the Southern soil. Cora and Caesar’s first stop is South Carolina, in a city that initially seems like a haven. But the city’s placid surface masks an insidious scheme designed for its black denizens.