To the final post?

The Man Booker longlist was announced. No surprise that I haven’t read any of the titles. But for someone who lives in bookshops on Sunday afternoons to not recognise any of the titles, bar McEwan’s, shocking. It’s nice to see I’m not the only one.

Just two short months to get reading if you want to debate the final winner. Even though he is the short priced favourite, I predict McEwan won’t make the short list. If I were a betting man (a dangerous way to start a sentence) I’d be backing Consolation by Michael Redhill. I haven’t checked the form guide and I don’t know the book from any of the others; I just have a feeling. But how do you know which book is suited to the Booker track conditions?

Sooner or later, probably sooner, the contemporary character becomes aware of the worthwhile mystery, and sets out to solve it. And the fairly historically accurate historical characters, with all their past-is-another-country pungency and profundity, bumble about creating and revealing the worthwhile mystery. By the end, the contemporary character will have semi-solved the mystery – while at the same time suffering some emotional damage and achieving a moderate redemption.

But betting on the Booker, or any prize for literature, come on, really?

Darkmans by Nicola Barker (Fourth Estate)
Self Help by Edward Docx (Picador)
The Gift Of Rain by Tan Twan Eng (Myrmidon)
The Gathering by Anne Enright (Jonathan Cape)
The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid (Hamish Hamilton)
The Welsh Girl by Peter Ho Davies (Sceptre)
Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones (John Murray)
Gifted by Nikita Lalwani (Viking)
On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan, (Jonathan Cape)
What Was Lost by Catherine O’Flynn (Tindal Street)
Consolation by Michael Redhill (William Heinemann)
Animal’s People by Indra Sinha (Simon & Schuster)
Winnie & Wolf by AN Wilson (Hutchinson)