The shortlist for the Man Booker Prize 2016 has both a gender and racial balance. Three of the six nominees are men and three women. The list features an African-American, American-Iranian, and Canadian writer of Malaysian-Chinese parentage.
So who are they?
Paul Beatty’s The Sellout is “a biting satire about a young man’s isolated upbringing and the race trial that sends him to the Supreme Court, [that] showcases [Beatty as] a comic genius at the top of his game. It challenges the sacred tenets of the United States Constitution, urban life, the civil rights movement, the father-son relationship, and the holy grail of racial equality—the black Chinese restaurant.”
British author Graeme Macrae Burnet’s novel, His Bloody Project, takes place in the year is 1869 when a “brutal triple murder in a remote community in the Scottish Highlands leads to the arrest of a young man by the name of Roderick Macrae. A memoir written by the accused makes it clear that he is guilty, but it falls to the country’s finest legal and psychiatric minds to uncover what drove him to commit such merciless acts of violence.”
The book is described as “a mesmerising literary thriller set in an unforgiving landscape where the exercise of power is arbitrary.”
American-Iranian novelist, Ottessa Moshfegh’s Eileen is about a “lonely young woman working in a boys’ prison outside Boston in the early 60s is pulled into a very strange crime, in a mordant, harrowing story of obsession and suspense, by one of the brightest new voices in fiction”.
Watch Literary Director of the Booker Prize Foundation Gaby Wood and Chair of the judges Amanda Foreman make the announcement:
British author Deborah Levy’s Hot Milk tells the story of Sofia, a young anthropologist, who “has spent much of her life trying to solve the mystery of her mother’s unexplainable illness. She is frustrated with Rose and her constant complaints, but utterly relieved to be called to abandon her own disappointing fledgling adult life. She and her mother travel to the searing, arid coast of southern Spain to see a famous consultant–their very last chance–in the hope that he might cure her unpredictable limb paralysis.
The book “is a profound exploration of the sting of sexuality, of unspoken female rage, of myth and modernity, the lure of hypochondria and big pharma, and, above all, the value of experimenting with life; of being curious, bewildered, and vitally alive to the world.”
Canadian David Szalay’s All that Man Is is about nine men, each of whom are “at a different stage in life, each of them away from home, and each of them striving—in the suburbs of Prague, in an overdeveloped Alpine village, beside a Belgian motorway, in a dingy Cyprus hotel—to understand what it means to be alive, here and now. Dark and disturbing, but also often wickedly comic, All That Man Is is notable for the acute psychological penetration Szalay brings to bear on his characters, from the working-class ex-grunt to the pompous college student, the middle-aged loser to the Russian oligarch.”
Canadian Madeleine Thien’s Do Not Say We Have Nothing? takes place in China, referring to her Malaysian-Chinese parentage. The novel is described as “breathtaking in scope and ambition even as it is hauntingly intimate. With the ease and skill of a master storyteller, Thien takes us inside an extended family in China, showing us the lives of two successive generations–those who lived through Mao’s Cultural Revolution in the mid-twentieth century; and the children of the survivors, who became the students protesting in Tiananmen Square in 1989, in one of the most important political moments of the past century.”
The 2016 winner will be announced on Tuesday 25 October in London’s Guildhall.