Booker Shortlist 2013

As last year (and the year before, although I didn’t blog them then!) I have been reading my way through the Booker shortlist. My goal was to read all six before the winner was announced, but as that’s tonight and I’m less than 100 pages into the last of them (Eleanor Catton’s doorstop of a book The Luminaries), that isn’t going to happen! But, 5/6 isn’t bad I suppose…

I’ve been blogging them over at Leeds Book Club (links below for the reviews that are up already, I’ll update this post accordingly as more are posted), but thought I’d share my brief thoughts and predictions here, ahead of tonight’s winner announcement.

  • The Testament of Mary, Colm Toibin: LOVED this. A beautifully-written, elegantly crafted novella, I’ll be delighted if this wins.
  • Harvest, Jim Crace: Another very strong contender. Subtle but gripping.
  • A Tale for the Time Being, Ruth Ozeki: Ambitious, but ultimately left me cold, and not as well-written as I’d expect from a Booker nominee
  • The Lowland, Jhumpa Lahiri: My favourite so far. A beautiful, complex intertwining of the personal and political. I would really like to see this win.
  • We Need New Names, NoViolet Bulawayo: Good, but not as good as I expected it to be. More like a series of short stories than a novel.
  • The Luminaries, Eleanor Catton: Only just started this one, but very gripping and well-written so far!

I am always wrong when I try to guess the winner, but that’s not going to stop me trying it again! For me, it’s between The Testament of Mary and The Lowlands. I would love it if Lahiri scooped the prize tomorrow, I think it would be very well deserved, but Toibin’s feels slightly more like a Booker winner to me. I’ll be waiting for the results with bated breath!

Update: So, the results are in… and it’s the one I haven’t read yet. Typical. I’m disappointed that my favourite didn’t win, obviously, but very much looking forward to finishing The Luminaries now! Many congratulations to Eleanor Catton for becoming the youngest ever Booker winner (and no, I’m not at all feeling both old and inadequate on realising that she’s a year younger than me… OK maybe just a tad…)

Leave a comment


  1. I haven’t read any of the books yet on this list, but I’ve got We Need New Names and A Tale for the Time Being waiting on my TBR list. So looking forward to those.

    I have no idea about the winner either and I’m terrible at guessing too, but I am thinking Harvest could get it because it’s the author’s last novel?

    • I think Harvest would be a good winner, although it isn’t my favourite, but I really hope it doesn’t win for that reason! I think the winner should be picked on merit, not as a “reward” for a long career or recognition that it may be the author’s last book. I have my doubts that it’ll actually be his last, as well – I don’t really believe he’ll actually stop writing!


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