The Booker Prize 2020 - Longlist (& Plan of Action!)

Tuesday, 28 July 2020

The Booker Prize 2020 - Longlist graphic

I must admit that, even as someone who spends most of their waking moments speaking/thinking about books, I hadn't even considered that a Booker longlist would be anywhere on the upcoming book calendar. Like, I knew that, at some indefinite point this year, they'd announce the Booker list but, for a few months at least, it has been some far-off future concept only. It may be the Coronavirus, it may be the fact that the so-named global pandemic has postponed the announcing of the winner of the Women's Prize for Fiction, but honestly, when the Booker longlist popped-up, I had to pinch myself to make me believe it. 
Although, like many, I suppose that skin-pinching wasn't all too rare in the book community. Primarily because of the content of the list and the fact that Maggie O'Farrell and Brit Bennett were not on it. Honestly, it is like the Colson Whitehead situation all over again...
The Longlist

Of the longlist, I had read only one: The Shadow King by Maaza Mengiste. And, to say that my views on it were not wholly positive, would be the biggest understatement of the year. This, of course, does not allow me to hold much hope in the rest of the judges' decisions - aside from the utterly bizarre makeup of the longlist, reading something so subpar, always sets a prize list up on the bad foot.
And though I am trying to stay positive, is it really a year for positivity? Shall we just give Mantel the prize now and chalk yet another thing in 2020 up as something best left to the annals of memory? Like, memory deep down in the subconscious, never rising to the surface. But I suppose we will see, or whatever.

The Mirror & The Light by Hilary Mantel
Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid
Real Life by Brandon Taylor 
Redhead by The Side of The Road by Anne Tyler
How Much of These Hills is Gold by C Pam Zhang

AKA the ones I have actually heard of.

The New Wilderness by Diane Cook
This Mournable Body by Tsitsi Dangarembga
Burnt Sugar by Avni Doshi
Apeirogon by Colum McCann
Love and Other Thought Experiments by Sophie Ward

Apathy should be the Booker theme this year. Because, even though these books might be great, I am still so blind sighted by their presence on the longlist, that I can not muster up any excitement at the prospect of reading them. 

Dreading It
Who They Was by Gabriel Krauze
Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart

Apparently writing in dialect is big on the list this year. And, as someone who struggled through Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God only a few months ago, I am not looking forward to getting back on that bandwagon. 

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