Author Topic: The Booker Prize 2021  (Read 1296 times)

BritishHobo

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The Booker Prize 2021
« on: July 27, 2021, 09:20:40 AM »
Here it is!

A Passage North, Anuk Arudpragasam (Granta Books, Granta Publications)

Second Place, Rachel Cusk, (Faber)

The Promise, Damon Galgut, (Chatto & Windus, Vintage, PRH)

The Sweetness of Water, Nathan Harris (Tinder Press, Headline, Hachette Book Group)

Klara and the Sun, Kazuo Ishiguro (Faber)

An Island, Karen Jennings (Holland House Books)

A Town Called Solace, Mary Lawson (Chatto & Windus, Vintage, PRH)

No One is Talking About This, Patricia Lockwood (Bloomsbury Circus, Bloomsbury Publishing)

The Fortune Men, Nadifa Mohamed (Viking, Penguin General, PRH)

Bewilderment, Richard Powers (William Heinemann, PRH)

China Room, Sunjeev Sahota (Harvill Secker, Vintage, PRH)

Great Circle, Maggie Shipstead (Doubleday, Transworld Publishers, PRH)

Light Perpetual, Francis Spufford (Faber)

https://thebookerprizes.com/fiction/2021

BritishHobo

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Re: The Booker Prize 2021
« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2021, 09:38:03 AM »
I've sort-of not bothered with this for the last couple of years, yo-yo-ing in a "if I'm not gonna read all of them then I won't bother reading any" way. This year I've had a little look at the blurbs, and picked out four or five I like the sound of. I'm shit at books still, so I'd only heard of about two.

I'm gonna give No One is Talking About This a go, as I had spotted that in Waterstones a while back and thought it looked interesting. Also interested by China Room, Bewilderment (I did love The Overstory a few years back), and Light Perpetual. Most tempted by The Fortune Men though, as I was literally just reading about the story of Mahmood Mattan on Twitter yesterday, and that feels like a fairly neglected topic and location - it's a horrific, appalling injustice, and it's good to see the topic recognised so highly.

Re: The Booker Prize 2021
« Reply #2 on: July 27, 2021, 12:25:48 PM »
I might give this a go again but doubt it. I've already read the Ishiguro one and have the Lockwood one next to the bed. Been meaning to pick up The Promise for a while after it was raved about on somewhere or other. Would have read Bewilderment anyway and will pick up Fortune Men now too. Can't be arsed with Spufford though.

Re: The Booker Prize 2021
« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2021, 01:45:22 PM »
I've sort-of not bothered with this for the last couple of years, yo-yo-ing in a "if I'm not gonna read all of them then I won't bother reading any" way. This year I've had a little look at the blurbs, and picked out four or five I like the sound of. I'm shit at books still, so I'd only heard of about two.

I'm gonna give No One is Talking About This a go, as I had spotted that in Waterstones a while back and thought it looked interesting. Also interested by China Room, Bewilderment (I did love The Overstory a few years back), and Light Perpetual. Most tempted by The Fortune Men though, as I was literally just reading about the story of Mahmood Mattan on Twitter yesterday, and that feels like a fairly neglected topic and location - it's a horrific, appalling injustice, and it's good to see the topic recognised so highly.

No one is talking about this is the only one I read, and I enjoyed it lots. It definitely won’t win though.

buttgammon

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Re: The Booker Prize 2021
« Reply #4 on: July 27, 2021, 01:49:26 PM »
The only one I've read is the Rachel Cusk, which I really enjoyed. It's a weird one for fans (I guess I'm one), because it came off the back of a fantastic trilogy and the suspicion is that the Booker people may have wanted to nominate one of those books but felt trapped by the trilogy format. It's still a really good book, but probably not on a par with Kudos, the last part of that trilogy.

Re: The Booker Prize 2021
« Reply #5 on: July 27, 2021, 02:01:17 PM »
Do they have particular rules about nominating one book out of a particular series?

buttgammon

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Re: The Booker Prize 2021
« Reply #6 on: July 27, 2021, 02:06:25 PM »
Do they have particular rules about nominating one book out of a particular series?

I'm not sure but I reckon the idea of picking one from the middle of a series would put them off. There's absolutely nothing to back this up by the way, just a hunch.

Re: The Booker Prize 2021
« Reply #7 on: July 27, 2021, 02:24:38 PM »
Yeah, I know what you mean. But if Kudos was the last one, wouldn’t that have got the nod in the same way the third Lord of the Rings swept the oscars.

Who knows. I just finished the first of the trilogy and enjoyed it, so excited to hear that it gets better.

Jerzy Bondov

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Re: The Booker Prize 2021
« Reply #8 on: July 28, 2021, 09:57:06 AM »
Read the Ishiguro one and thought it was surprisingly bollocks, read the Lockwood one and loved it.

Re: The Booker Prize 2021
« Reply #9 on: July 28, 2021, 10:16:23 AM »
I thought Serge-favourite, Ali Smith's Summer might be nominated seeing as the first in the quartet was but everyone seemed to lose interest.

buttgammon

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Re: The Booker Prize 2021
« Reply #10 on: July 28, 2021, 10:20:23 AM »
I thought Serge-favourite, Ali Smith's Summer might be nominated seeing as the first in the quartet was but everyone seemed to lose interest.

Having read one of those books and lost the will to live about a hundred pages into the second[1], I can say Serge was spot-on.
 1. it's very rare for me to give up on a book

Re: The Booker Prize 2021
« Reply #11 on: July 28, 2021, 03:49:53 PM »
Having read one of those books and lost the will to live about a hundred pages into the second[1], I can say Serge was spot-on.
 1. it's very rare for me to give up on a book

I really liked Autumn but though Winter was awful. Didn't bother with the last two which is a shame as I like co-ordinating spines (and good books).

Inspector Norse

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Re: The Booker Prize 2021
« Reply #12 on: July 28, 2021, 04:07:18 PM »
The only one I've read is Light Perpetual: like Spufford's previous book Golden Hill, it was very readable with some great moments but the conceit wore a bit thin and there was something unsatisfying about the whole. The guy can write but he's not really got it together for a convincing book yet.

Interested, as always, in 3 or 4 of the others - A Passage North and The Sweetness of Water, probably, plus I've really liked the Powers books I've read and should get around to checking out Cusk, never been particularly whelmed by Ishiguro - but often I find more to entice me in the International Booker lists.

BritishHobo

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Re: The Booker Prize 2021
« Reply #13 on: July 28, 2021, 07:46:46 PM »
Hadn't even realised Summer came out, I'd totally forgotten about the series. Like hzj I very much enjoyed Autumn, but Winter less so, and then I just never got around to Spring. As I remember, the first two felt very much of their respective years (Brexit/Trump, etc), so I'm not sure how well they'd even work if I tried them now.

Have been hearing a lot of hype about Cusk, so I really should give hers a go.

Re: The Booker Prize 2021
« Reply #14 on: August 22, 2021, 12:58:24 PM »
Anyone ploughing through these. Finished The Promise the other night which I like more in retrospect. On to that one set in Wales now .

Re: The Booker Prize 2021
« Reply #15 on: August 23, 2021, 03:16:22 AM »
There’s a particular sequence in The Promise which has stayed with me since I read it. Quite brutal. It wasn’t always my favourite as I read, but based on that one section it’s certainly more memorable than, say, The Island, which was just sludge to me.

I really loved The Sweetness of Water. I would make that one favourite.

I’ve started the one set in rural Canada. As ever, when they have these multi-perspective storylines, I wish they would just pick the single most interesting one and stick with them.
« Last Edit: August 23, 2021, 04:47:41 AM by mr. logic »

BritishHobo

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Re: The Booker Prize 2021
« Reply #16 on: August 25, 2021, 07:16:12 PM »
Anyone ploughing through these. Finished The Promise the other night which I like more in retrospect. On to that one set in Wales now .

I'm a little way into The Fortune Men. Not quite into the meat of it yet so can't really judge, but it's promising so far. You can tell Mohamed has a real passion for the story, and for the world of Tiger Bay itself.

Wasn't intending to read any of the others (apart from maybe the Patricia Lockwood), but I might have a bit of a crack at some. I feel proper out-of-the-loop literary-wise the last couple of years.

BritishHobo

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Re: The Booker Prize 2021
« Reply #17 on: August 27, 2021, 12:36:49 AM »
Gone a bit mad after writing that post - now have the full longlist on my Kindle (minus Richard Powers), have read No One Is Talking About This, and am a little way into Klara and the Sun.  It's like posting opened the floodgates.

I felt a bit uneasy about No One Is Talking About This at first, because I've gotten so exhausted by the thickly ironic Extremely Online style of talking, I worried that even reading a book about the topic would just annoy me. But of course it is much more than that, and dovetails into something much different, and all the more moving and effective for it. It's very self-aware about the fact that internet culture is so fucking stupid that even accurate representations of it usually appear like an over-exaggerated parody. This is borne out on Goodreads, where there are multiple negative reviews from people who are clearly just annoyed that Lockwood dared to make Twitter look silly without writing "but also very important things happen there" after every line. I suppose you read into it what you will, and my current irritation with Twitter will have massively informed my own reading. For someone not familiar with that world, the first half of the novel especially must be absolutely fucking meaningless.

Re: The Booker Prize 2021
« Reply #18 on: August 27, 2021, 04:41:12 AM »
I’m not on twitter but obviously online enough to have enjoyed it thoroughly. I love her joke about wishing she could bring herself to hate the police.

Re: The Booker Prize 2021
« Reply #19 on: September 06, 2021, 11:55:03 AM »
I didn't like Fortune Men. I really wanted to but I found it a chore. Then again, I think I've given up on more books this year then ever before so it might just be me.

Currently on The Sweetness of Water and am really enjoying it. 2nd favourite after Klara.

BritishHobo

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Re: The Booker Prize 2021
« Reply #20 on: September 14, 2021, 06:02:54 PM »
Gone a bit mad after writing that post - now have the full longlist on my Kindle (minus Richard Powers), have read No One Is Talking About This, and am a little way into Klara and the Sun.  It's like posting opened the floodgates.

Well this failed to develop into any mad rushthrough of the longlist, but it has at least meant that, with its release today, I have read a third of the shortlist:

Quote
https://thebookerprizes.com/the-final-six-novels

Can I be bothered to read the other four? Only time will tell! (No)

Re: The Booker Prize 2021
« Reply #21 on: September 14, 2021, 06:20:35 PM »
Read three and a half. Couldn’t get into Great Circle at all.

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