2014 Booker Prize Shortlist Announced

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The Man Booker Prize shortlist, United Kingdom’s most prestigious literary award, was announced today. The award for the first time is opened to non-British writers. This year three British authors, two American and one Australian author have been nominated.

The Man Booker Prize is the most prestigious prize awarded for novels written in the English language. While earlier the prize was awarded only to the citizens of the UK, this year the award has opened up for the very time to authors of any nationality who have written in English. The winner will be awarded a prize money of 50, 000 British Pounds.

The nominations for this year’s award are:

The Narrow Road To The Deep North by Richard Flanagan (Australian)

Critically acclaimed globally, The Narrow Road To The Deep North is a story of a lovelorn Australian Doctor who is haunted by the memory of his love affair with his uncle’s wife during a war in Burma.

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To Rise Again At A Decent Hour by Joshua Ferris (American)

Giving the reader a whole different experience of dentistry, To Rise Again At A Decent Hour is a book that tackles the emotional crisis experience by a person that drives him towards suicide but the fear of death stops him. Amid this crisis, the protagonist seeks to find deep meaning and strong connection to fellow-beings in everyday life.

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We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler (American)

Uniquely written, the story is about the separation of three siblings at a very young age. Unraveling in an unconventional style of writing, the story seems to move from the end towards the beginning.

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J by Howard Jacobson (British)

2010 Booker Prize winner, Jacobson’s J was nominated for the Booker Prize even before its release. J is set in a time, with no revelation of the past, when any word starting with the letter J cannot be said out loud. Two people fall in love in that “present”, not knowing where their past resides, nor do they know what their future holds, the only thing they are both aware of is their lives is a result of a terrifying past. The novel will leave you terrified and at the same time, amused.

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The Lives Of Others by Neel Mukherjee (British)

Set at the time when Marxism was gaining ground in India, Mukherjee’s is a novel set in 1960 Calcutta. The story revolves around the rich Ghosh family, the eldest Grandson of which joins the Communist Party of India (Marxist) to mobilize the poor peasants to stand up against the landlords there. Apart from the Grandson’s engagement with the peasants, the story also explores various themes like that of death, tragedy, love, etc, and brightly highlights the rich Bengali culture.

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How To Be Both by Ali Smith (British)

In an interesting attempt to take the readers through a twisting narrative, How To Be Both has two copies to its edition. Now, it depends on which copy you pick up at the book store. One version tells the story through a teenage girl’s perspective, the other one tells the story from the perspective of Francesco, an Italian renaissance artist. Both the stories however are interconnected. The main plot revolves around the death of the teenage girl’s mother as the young girl is trying to cope with her mother’s death.

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All of the books have intriguing plots and are all written in an unconventional fashion. We will have to wait till mid-October to find out who takes away the Booker Prize.

Pallavi Sharma


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