The Booker shortlist has been announced! Six books vying to be crowned the best novel of the year written in English. As the Booker Prize Foundation note, to win is to have your life transformed, with a substantial increase in readership, sales and publicity.
Of course, this transformation doesn’t apply to all on this year’s shortlist: both Margaret Atwood and Salman Rushdie are previous winners, with Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children winning the Booker of Bookers in 2008. But to win–or even make it onto the shortlist–still requires a phenomenal feat of writing.
And that brings us to the question of the moment: who will win?! We checked in with staff here at Wellington City Libraries and rounded up some predictions. Take a look below and see what you think. Do you agree? What’s your prediction for Booker 2019?
My choice for this year’s Booker goes to the multilayered novel Girl, Woman, Other. Bernadine Evaristo’s interconnected stories speak with the voices of twelve unique beings across generations throughout Britain. This book has been hailed as “Exceptional. Ambitious, flowing and all-encompassing, an offbeat narrative that’ll leave your mind in an invigorated whirl . . . unites poetry, social history, women’s voices and beyond.” So for something other than the bitter interminable grind of bleak pseudoreality, here is an iconic and unique voice, filled with warmth, subtlety and humanity.
I usually like to support the dark horse books and would love to see An Orchestra of Minorities by Chigozie Obioma win, but this year I cannot see past the obvious favourite The Testaments by Margaret Atwood. It hasn’t even been released yet but has already been hailed as a landmark work: “a savage and beautiful novel” is what the judges said. You can read a sneak preview and judge for yourself by clicking here. The momentum around this work is so big I think the judges will want to award the prize to the book that could well be regarded in the future as the seminal book of its time.
My pick is Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann. How could you not choose a 1,000+ page book which is made up of almost one long sentence?! (Especially when part of the story is narrated by a mountain lion.) In truth though, Ducks, Newburyport is a fantatic work: as Parul Sehgal said in her review, it “has its face pressed up against the pane of the present; its form mimics the way our minds move now: toggling between tabs . . . between news of ecological collapse and school shootings while somehow remembering to pay taxes and fold the laundry.”