Elizabeth Strout Completes 2017 Not the Booker Shortlist

elizabeth strout joins not the booker prize 2017Leonard-Cendamo

It was just announced this morning (August 14) that American novelist and author Elizabeth Strout would be joining the shortlist for this year’s Not the Booker prize. With approximately 200 candidates for consideration, the competition for the title condensed to a remainder of five finalists last week (August 7).

Now, with last year’s experts Tracey Hope, Dana LeMarr and Sara Richards casting their wild card entry, Strout follows the competition with her 2017 work Anything is Possible, a novel which was written in tandem with her 2016 story, My Name Is Lucy Barton, and is described as “a collection of stories tell of two sisters: one trades self-respect for a wealthy husband while the other finds in the pages of a book a kindred spirit who changes her life.”

elizabeth strout joins not the booker prize 2017
(Amazon, $16.08)

Synopsis: “As I was writing My Name Is Lucy Barton,” Strout says, “it came to me that all the characters Lucy and her mother talked about had their own stories—of course!—and so the unfolding of their lives became tremendously important to me.”

Here, among others, are the “Pretty Nicely Girls,” now adults: One trades self-respect for a wealthy husband, the other finds in the pages of a book a kindred spirit who changes her life. Tommy, the janitor at the local high school, has his faith tested in an encounter with an emotionally isolated man he has come to help; a Vietnam veteran suffering from PTSD discovers unexpected solace in the company of a lonely innkeeper; and Lucy Barton’s sister, Vicky, struggling with feelings of abandonment and jealousy, nonetheless comes to Lucy’s aid, ratifying the deepest bonds of family.

With the stylistic brilliance and subtle power that distinguishes the work of this great writer, Elizabeth Strout has created another transcendent work of fiction, with characters who will live in readers’ imaginations long after the final page is turned.

With the addition of Strout’s book, six contestants are in the running to claim the achievement.

Stay tuned as more developments progress.

Not the Booker Prize 2017: See the Shortlist

The following article was originally written by Editor-in-chief Paris Close

Last week (July 31), The Guardian presented its longlist for their annual Not the Booker prize, an annual tradition run by journalist Sam Jordison, who facilitates the yearly competition. The list, which is poll-voted and consisted of approximately 200 entrants (195, to be exact) this time around, has since been condensed to five contenders with yesterday’s shortlist reveal.

In addition to this year’s contestants, there will also be a wild-card entry that’s chosen by a panel of three judges. Jordison plans to return next week with the unveiling of the additional book.

See this year’s frontrunners below, and learn more about how you can be one of three judges in the final round.
The synopses in this post were provided by Amazon and Goodreads.
This post contains affiliate links and if you make a purchase after clicking on our links Paperback Paris will receive a small commission.

1. Not Thomas, Sara Gethin

Not the Booker Shortlist 2017 Announced
Sara Gethin
(Amazon, $16.95)

Synopsis: She’s knocking on the front door. She’s knocking and knocking. I’m not opening the door. I’m not letting her in. I’m behind the black chair. I’m waiting for her to go away. Tomos lives with his mother. He longs to return to another place, the place he thinks of as home, and the people who lived there, but he’s not allowed to see them again. He is five years old and at school, which he loves. Miss teaches him about all sorts of things, and she listens to him. Sometimes he’s hungry and Miss gives him her extra sandwiches. She gives him a warm coat from Lost Property, too. There are things Tomos cannot talk about – except to Cwtchy – and then, just before Easter, the things come to a head. There are bad men outside who want to come in, and Mammy has said not to answer the door. From behind the big chair, Tomos waits, trying to make himself small and quiet. He doesn’t think it’s Santa Claus this time. When the men get in, Tomos’s world is turned on its head and nothing will ever be the same again.

2. Dark Chapter, Winnie M Li

Not the Booker Shortlist 2017 Announced
Irish Times / Pictured: Author Winnie M Li
(Amazon, $24.08)

Synopsis: Vivian is a cosmopolitan Taiwanese-American tourist who often escapes her busy life in London through adventure and travel. Johnny is a 15-year-old Irish teenager, living a neglected life on the margins of society. He has grown up in a family where crime is customary, violence is a necessity, and everything–and anyone–can be yours for the taking.

As Vivian looks to find her calling professionally, she delights in exploring foreign countries, rolling hillsides, and new cultures. And as a young, single woman, she has grown used to experiencing life on her own. But all of that changes when, on one bright spring afternoon in West Belfast, Vivian’s path collides with Johnny and culminates in a horrifying act of violence.

In the aftermath of the incident, both Johnny and Vivian are forced to confront the chain of events that led to the attack. Vivian must struggle to recapture the woman that she was and the woman she aspired to be, while dealing with a culture and judicial system that treats assault victims as less than human. Johnny, meanwhile, flees to the sanctity of his transitory Irish clan. But when he is finally brought to reckon for his crimes, Vivian learns that justice is not always as swift or as fair as she would hope.

3. Man With a Seagull on His Head, Harriet Paige

Not the Booker Shortlist 2017 Announced
Linda Nylind for the Guardian
(Kindle, $5.99)

Synopsis: A gull falls from the sky and strikes a council worker on the beach below. From that moment on he is obsessed, a crazed visionary depicting the scene and the unknown figure with in who filled his view at the moment of impact. The mysterious beauty of his creations draws others to him, but can they lay hold of that which possesses him? And what of his anonymous muse?


4. The Threat Level Remains Severe, Rowena Macdonald

Not the Booker Shortlist 2017 Announced
Martin Fuller / Pictured: Author Rowena MacDonald
(Amazon, $15.95)

Synopsis: A new colleague and a mysterious admirer make life infinitely more interesting for House of Commons secretary Grace, but is everything really as it seems?

Grace Ambrose, Brett Beamish and Reuben Swift appear to have little in common, but as each of them negotiates metropolitan life, they find their fates entwined.

Arty, liberal-minded House of Commons secretary Grace has been counting the tea breaks in the same dull job for approaching a decade and feels she could do something better … if only she knew what.

New recruit Brett, a smooth, high-flying Australian, is on a mission to shake up the dusty backrooms of power – and on a collision path with Grace. Office life begins to look up when Grace receives an email from an admirer with musical and poetic talents … but is soulful, enigmatic Reuben Swift really who he says he is?

5. The Ludlow Ladies’ Society, Ann O’Loughlin

Not the Booker Shortlist 2017 Announced
Ann O’Loughlin
(Amazon, $16.69)

Synopsis: Connie Carter has lost everybody and everything dear to her. To help nurse her grieving heart and to try and find answers, she moves from her home in America to Ludlow Hall, deep in the Irish countryside. All she knows about Ludlow is that her late husband spent all their money on the house – without ever mentioning it to her. Now Connie needs to know why.

At Ludlow Hall, Connie befriends Eve and Hetty and is introduced to the somewhat curious Ludlow Ladies’ Society. But can Connie ever reveal her hurt? And, more importantly, can she ever understand or forgive? As the Ludlow Ladies stitch patchwork memory quilts to remember those they have loved and lost, the secrets of the past finally begin to surface.

In case you’re curious (and we know you are), here is that mega longlist.

Naomi Alderman – The Power (Penguin)
Alice Allan – Open My Eyes, That I May See Marvellous Things (Pinter & Martin)
Nina Allan – The Rift (Titan Books)
Hala Alyan – Salt Houses (Hutchinson)
Richard Aronowitz – An American Decade (Accent Press)
Jenn Ashworth and Richard V Hirst – The Night Visitors (Dead Ink)
Nadeem Aslam – The Golden Legend (Faber and Faber)
Sara Bailey – Dark Water (Nightingale Editions)
Nicola Barker – H(A)PPY (William Heinemann)
Laura Barnett – Greatest Hits (Weidenfeld and Nicolson)
Sebastian Barry – Days Without End (Faber and Faber)
Elif Batuman – The Idiot (Penguin)
Sara Baume – A Line Made By Walking (William Heinemann)
Kate Beaufoy – The Gingerbread House (Black and White Publishing)
Andrea Bennett – Two Cousins of Azov (HarperCollins)
Gillian Best – The Last Wave (Freight Books)
Victoria Blake – The Return of the Courtesan (Black and White Publishing)
Angelena Boden – The Cruelty of Lambs (Urbane Publications)
JJ Bola – No Place To Call Home (Own it!)
John Boyne – The Heart’s Invisible Furies (Hogarth Press)
SJ Bradley – Guest (Dead Ink)
Su Bristow – Sealskin (Orenda Books)
Alice Broadway – Ink (Scholastic)
Xan Brooks – The Clocks in This House All Tell Different Times (Salt)
Julie Buntin – Marlena (Picador)
Michael Chabon – Moonglow (Fourth Estate)
Jacqueline Chadwick – In the Still (Fahrenheit Press)
Polly Clark – Larchfield (Quercus)
Anne Coates – Death’s Silent Judgement (Urbane Publications)
Joshua Cohen – Moving Kings (Fitzcarraldo Editions)
Juliet Conlin – The Uncommon Life of Alfred Warner in Six Days (Black and White Publishing)
Fran Cooper – These Dividing Walls (Hodder & Stoughton)
Patty Ymi Cottrell – Sorry to Disrupt the Peace (And Other Stories)
Amanda Craig – The Lie of the Land (Little, Brown)
Mason Cross – Don’t Look for Me (Orion)
Sarah Crossan – Moonrise (Bloomsbury)
Richard Daniels – Our Bright Dark Summer (Wild Boar Books)
John Darnielle – Universal Harvester (Scribe UK)
Sharon Dempsey – Little Bird (Bloodhound Books)
Kerry Drewery – Day 7 (Hot Key Books)
Sarah Dunant – In the Name of the Family (Virago)
Kate Dunn – The Dragonfly (Aurora Metro)
Ever Dundas – Goblin (Freight Books)
Nicholas Eames – Kings of the Wyld (Orbit)
Simon Edge – The Hopkins Conundrum (Eye Books)
Robert Enright – Doorways: A Bermuda Jones Casefile (Urbane Publications)
Deirdre Eustace – Finding Alison (Black and White Publishing)
Derek Farrell – Death of a Devil (Fahrenheit Press)
Natalie Fergie – The Sewing Machine (Unbound)
Michael Ferris Smith – Desperation Road (Lee Boudreaux Books)
Clare Fisher – All the Good Things (Viking)
Emma Flint – Little Deaths (Picador)
Laurie Frankel – This is How it Always Is (Headline Review)
Claire Fuller – Swimming Lessons (Penguin)
Julian Furman – This is How We Talk (Freight Books)
David Gafney – All the Places I’ve Ever Lived (Urbane Publications)
Harry Gallon – Every Fox is a Rabid Fox (Dead Ink)
Marie Gameson – The Giddy Career of Mr Gadd (Deceased) (Salt)
Karl Geary – Montpelier Parade (Harvill Secker)
Sara Gethin – Not Thomas (Honno Press)
Eli Goldstone – Strange Heart Beating (Granta)
Linda Grant – The Dark Circle (Virago)
Gabe Habash – Stephen Florida (Borough Press)
Matt Haig – How to Stop Time (Canongate Books)
Mohsin Hamid – Exit West (Hamish Hamilton)
Paul E Hardisty – Reconciliation for the Dead (Orenda Books)
Jane Harper – The Dry (Abacus)
Beverley Harvey – Seeking Eden (Urbane Publications)
Alis Hawkins – None So Blind (Freight Books)
Mick Herron – Spook Street (Hodder & Stoughton)
Ruth Hogan – The Keeper of Lost Things (Hodder & Stoughton)
Malcolm Hollingdrake – Flesh Evidence (Bloodhound Books)
Verity Holloway – Pseudotooth (Unsung Stories)
Gail Honeyman – Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine (HarperC)
Sophie Hopesmith – Another Justified Sinner (Dead Ink)
Laird Hunt – The Evening Road (Chatto & Windus)
Megan Hunter – The End We Start From (Picador)
Elizabeth Jenner – The Dark Places (Arcadia)
Karen Jennings – Travels with My Father (Holland Park Press)
Rebecca F John – The Haunting of Henry Twist (Serpent’s Tail)
Jane Johnson – Court of Lions (Head of Zeus)
Addison Jones – Wait for Me, Jack (Sandstone Press)
Dylan H. Jones – Anglesey Blue (Bloodhound Books)
Jaroslav Kalfar – Spaceman of Bohemia (Hodder & Stoughton)
Meena Kandasamy – When I Hit You: Or, Portrait of the Writer as a Young Wife (Atlantic)
Karen Kao – The Dancing Girl and the Turtle (Linen Press)
Jaroslav Kalgan – Spaceman of Bohemia (Sceptre)
Laura Kaye – English Animals (Little, Brown)
David Keenan – This is Memorial Device (Faber and Faber)
Ausma Zehanat Khan – The Unquiet Dead (No Exit Press)
Rachel Khong – Goodbye, Vitamin (Scribner UK)
Jess Kidd – Himself (Canongate Books)
Gina Kirkham – Handcuffs, Truncheon, and a Polyester Thong (Urbane Publications)
Dorothy Koomson – The Friend (Penguin)
Sana Krasikov – The Patriots (Granta)
LV Hay – The Other Twin (Orenda Books)
Vanessa Lafaye – At First Light (Orion)
Min Jin Lee – Pachinko (Head of Zeus)
Winnie M Li – Dark Chapter (Legend Press)
Rachel Lucas – The State of Grace (Macmillan)
Jennifer Macaire – Legends of Persia (Accent Press)
Tom Vaughan MacAulay – Being Simon Haines (RedDoor Publishing)
Rowena Macdonald – The Threat Level Remains Severe (Aardvark Bureau)
Bernard MacLaverty – Midwinter Break (Penguin)
Guy Mankowski – An Honest Deceit (Urbane Publications)
Carmen Marcus – How Saints Die (Harvill Secker)
Alwyn Marriage – Rapeseed (Stairwell Books)
Rebecca Mascull – The Wild Air (Hodder & Stoughton)
Estelle Maskame – Dare to Fall (Black and White Publishing)
Stephen May – Stronger Than Skin (Sandstone Press)
Mark Mayes – The Gift Maker (Urbane Publications)
Helen McClory – Flesh of the Peach (Freight Books)
Mike McCormack – Solar Bones (Canongate Books)
Martine McDonagh – Narcissism for Beginners (Unbound)
Bernice L McFadden – The Book of Harlan (Jacaranda Books)
Bernie McGill – The Watch House (Tinder Press)
Rose McGinty – Electric Souk (Urbane Publications)
Jon McGregor – Reservoir 13 (Fourth Estate)
Barry McKinley – A Ton of Malice (Old Street Publishing)
Alan McMonagle – Ithaca (Picador)
Laura McVeigh – Under the Almond Tree (Two Roads)
Jane Menczer – An Unlikely Agent (Polygon)
Kei Miller – Augustown (Weidenfeld and Nicolson)
Phillip Miller – All the Galaxies (Freight Books)
Neel Mukherjee – State of Freedom (Hamish Hamilton)
Benjamin Myers – The Gallows Pole (Bluemoose Books)
Sara Flannery Murphy – The Possessions (Scribe UK)
Estep Nagy – We Shall Not All Sleep (Bloomsbury)
Patrick Ness – Release (Walker)
Julie Newman – Beware the Cuckoo (Urbane Publications)
Claire North – The End of the Day (Orbit)
Simon Okotie – In the Absence of Absalon (Salt)
Ann O’Loughlin – The Ludlow Ladies’ Society (Black and White)
Harriet Page – Man with a Seagull on His Head (Bluemoose Books)
Ghillian Potts – Brat (Arachne)
Pooja Puri – The Jungle (Black and White)
Deirdre Quiery – The Secret Wound (Urbane Publications)
Ross Raisin – A Natural (Jonathan Cape)
Paul Read – Blame (Legend)
Brian Van Reet – Spoils (Jonathan Cape)
Jason Rekulak – The Impossible Fortress (Faber and Faber)
Hilary Robinson – A Song For Will (Strauss House)
Monique Roffey – The Tryst (Dodo Ink)
Allie Rogers – Little Gold (Legend Times Group)
Kathleen Rooney – Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk (Daunt Books)
Dilys Rose – Unspeakable (Freight Books)
Henrietta Rose-Innes – “Green Lion” (Aardvark Bureau)
David F Ross – The Man Who Loved Islands (Orenda Books)
Arundhati Roy – The Ministry of Utmost Happiness (Hamish Hamilton)
Nicholas Royle – An English Guide to Birdwatching (Myriad Editions)
Jennifer Ryan – The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir (The Borough Press)
Luiza Sauma – Flesh and Bone and Water (Viking)
George Saunders – Lincoln in the Bardo (Bloomsbury)
Ross Sayer – Mary’s the Name (Cranachan)
Sarah Schmidt – See What I Have Done (Tinder Press)
Kevin Scott – Dead Cat Bounce (Thunderpoint Publishing LTF)
Will Self – Phone (Viking)
Daniel Shand – Fallow (Sandstone Press)
James Silvester – The Prague Ultimatum (Urbane Publications)
J David Simons – A Woman of Integrity (Freight Books)
MG Sinclair – The Cardinal’s Man (Black and White Publishing)
Rob Sinclair – The Red Cobra (Bloodhound Books)
Ian Skewis – A Murder of Crows (Unbound)
Ali Smith – Autumn (Hamish Hamilton)
Andrew Smith – The Speech (Urbane Publications)
Zadie Smith – Swing Time (Hamish Hamilton)
Katherine Stansfield – Falling Creatures (Allison and Busby)
Helen Steadman – Widdershins (Impress Books)
Terry Stiastny – Conflicts of Interest (John Murray)
Jay Stringer – How to Kill Friends and Implicate People (Thomas & Mercer)
Adelle Stripe – Black Teeth and a Brilliant Smile (Wrecking Ball Press)
Elizabeth Strout – Anything Is Possible (Viking)
Olivia Sudjic – Sympathy (One)
Julia Sutton – A Sea of Straw (Cheyne Walk)
Graeme K Talboys – Players of the Game (Harper Voyager)
|June Taylor – Losing Juliet (Killer Reads)
Michelle Tea – Black Wave (And Other Stories)
Angie Thomas – The Hate U Give (Walker)
Adam Thorpe – Missing Fay (Jonathan Cape)
Colm Tóibín – House of Names (Viking)
Amor Towles – A Gentleman in Moscow (Hutchinson)
Alex Tresillian – Eyes of the Blind (Urbane Publications)
Tor Udall – A Thousand Paper Birds (Bloomsbury)
Beth Underdown – The Witchfinder’s Sister (Viking)
Jeff VanderMeer – Borne (Fourth Estate)
Laura Wake – A Monster by Violet (Urbane Publications)
Alyssa Warren – Not the Only Sky (Black and White Publishing)
Kayla Rae Whitaker – The Animators (Scribe)
Colson Whitehead – The Underground Railroad (Little, Brown)
Richard Whittle – The Man Who Played Trains (Urbane Publications)
Bryan Wigmore – The Goddess Project (Snowbooks)
Laura Wilkinson – Skin Deep (Accent Press)
Sheena Wilkinson – Street Song (Black and White Publishing)
Jen Williams – The Ninth Rain (Headline)
Meike Ziervogel – The Photographer (Salt)

Have you read any of the books from the Not the Booker shortlist?

If so, tell us your thoughts, and which book you believe deserves the prize!
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Paris Close
the authorParis Close
Founding Editor. Give me Gillian Flynn or give me death.