The winner of the 2010 Man Booker Prize for Fiction will be announced on October 12
The Man Booker Prize 2010
Parrot and Olivier in America
Peter Carey (Faber and Faber)
One of the favourites in the Booker race, this novel from two-time Booker winner Carey is an inventive and comic look at the beginnings of American democracy, told from the perspective of a French aristocrat and an English servant. Were Carey to win, the Australian author would be the first person to win the prize for a third
time, which would surely make him a frontrunner for the Nobel.
Emma Donoghue (Picador/Pan Macmillan)
A novel about confinement protagonists Jack and his Ma are locked in a room. Jack has never been outside the room, and
the only person from outside to enter it is Old Nick, whose night-time visits are hidden from Jack. When his mother hatches a plan to escape, the greatest challenge is not overcoming Old Nick, but facing the world outside the room. Courting controversy because of its similarities to the recent Josef Fritzl case, this is the first time that Donoghue has been nominated for the Booker.
In a Strange Room
Damon Galgut (Atlantic Books/Grove Atlantic)
Galgut, a prolific author, was first shortlisted for the Booker in 2003 for his novel The Good Doctor, set in post-apartheid South Africa. This time, he tackles journeys. A young man travels through Greece, India and Africa, changing the lives of the people he meets. But with each journey ending in disaster, it is his own life that is changed irrevocably.
The Finkler Question
Howard Jacobson (Bloomsbury)
One of the UK’s most brilliant comic authors, Jacobson is best known for Kalooki Nights, his novel about Jewish cartoonist Max Glickman, which was longlisted for the Booker. The Finkler Question follows a similar narrative route taken by Graham Swift’s Booker winner, Last Orders. Three old men, two recently widowed, one so unsuccessful with women that he is an honorary widower, dine together, recalling a time before they had loved and lost. After they leave, one of the them is attacked, changing the whole sense of who and what he is.
The Long Song
Andrea Levy (Headline Review/Headline Publishing Group)
Best known for her novel Small Island, which won practically every literary prize in Britain with the exception of the Booker, Levy’s The Long Song is an elegiac novel set in Jamaica shortly before and straight after the abolition of slavery. Although this treads familiar territory, Levy’s prose reinvigorates what may seem a rather tired subject.
Tom McCarthy (Jonathan Cape/Random House)
One of the most brilliant and innovative novels on the list from one of the most interesting cultural commentators working today, C, otherwise known as Serge
Carrefax, is born into the electronic modernity of the 20th century. Transfixed by the technologies that will obliterate him, Serge finds himself steeped in a world of weird transmissions that appear to embed the hidden codes and dark rhythms that sustain life. Reminiscent of Beckett and Pynchon, a win for McCarthy would be a vote for experimental literature.
For more information on the annual Man Booker Prize, see www.themanbookerprize.com