Alas, the finalists for the 2018 Man Booker Prize have been announced!
Earlier this summer, we revealed the 13 books longlisted for this year’s coveted prize. They were: Belinda Bauer‘s Snap, Anna Burns‘ Milkman, Nick Drnaso‘s Sabrina, Esi Edugyan‘s Washington Black, Guy Gunaratne‘s In Our Mad and Furious City, Daisy Johnson‘s Everything Under, Rachel Kushner‘s The Mars Room, Sophie Mackintosh‘s The Water Cure, Michael Ondaatje‘s Warlight, Richard Powers‘ The Overstory, Robin Robertson‘s The Long Take, Sally Rooney‘s Normal People, and Donal Ryan‘s From a Low and Quiet Sea
Now, this year’s judges have rounded the longlist to six books, all of which will vie for the coveted Man Booker Prize title and take home the $65,723 (£50,000) cash prize.
Without further ado, your six finalists are Milkman, Washington Black, Everything Under, The Mars Room, The Overstory and The Longtake.
See the shortlisted books, below, and stay tuned — we’ll be covering the winner on October 16!
Note: the language written below was provided by The Man Booker Prize website.
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Milkman by Anna Burns offers a perspective on Northern Ireland riven by unrest in the 1970s, as seen through the eyes of a young girl. Praised by the judges for being “genuinely experimental” and even “Beckettian” (the gold-standard when it comes to playing with form, perhaps, especially for Irish authors), the book is described as “a tale of gossip and hearsay, silence and deliberate deafness. It is the story of inaction with enormous consequences.”
Washington Black by Esi Edugyan also features a child narrator, this time an eleven-year-old slave on a Barbados sugar plantation. Large in its geographic and historical sweep, Edugyan’s second novel to be shortlisted for the Booker is a highly ambitious exploration of race that the judges called “extremely imaginative, profoundly engaging and filled with an empathetic understanding of characters who are uprooted from places they knew and required to make adjustments in worlds they could barely have dreamt of.”
Readers fascinated by the subject of words and meaning will gravitate to Everything Under by Daisy Johnson, the story of an isolated lexicographer who, as an adult, begins to remember a language invented in childhood. Mythology runs through this book, described as a Sophoclean melodrama. It follows Johnson’s collection of short stories, Fen, which established the author’s unique brand of magical realism.
Special note: The British writer becomes the youngest novelist, at 27, to be shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize.
Judges called The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner “terrifyingly authentic” in its depiction of the “absolute corruption of the American dream.” Gender is at the heart of what the Guardian described as an “unflinching” portrait of what it means to be poor and female in America. It follows Kusher’s 2013 novel The Flamethrowers, one of the books that made it into Vulture’s admittedly premature take on the literature that should make up the 2000s canon, 18-and-a-half years into the century.
Richard Powers was also on the Vulture list with his 2002 novel The Time Of Our Singing, while another of his 12 novels, Orfeo, was longlisted for the Booker prize in 2014. Now he’s been shortlisted for The Overstory. The Booker’s synopsis: “Nine strangers, each in different ways, become summoned by trees, brought together in a last stand to save the continent’s few remaining acres of virgin forest.”
Last of the six finalists, each of whom wins £2,500 ($3,268), is Scottish author Robin Robertson. The Long Take follows a World War II veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder trying to orientate himself in a fractured America. Judges describe it as a “film noir on the page.”
— Man Booker Prize (@ManBookerPrize) September 20, 2018