Lovely ladies. Lovely reading partners. Our (Wo)man Booker Shadow Panel has arrived at a short list together with some of our members not even voting for six books because they could not name six that they found particularly prize-worthy. An underwhelming year in publishing? An unusual panel of judges? Things gone wonky since they expanded the field of eligibility? Well, let us reserve judgement until we see how this thing plays out. I found my six titles without too much trouble, but that does not mean that I understood the selection of all on the longlist. Two were so soporific that I dared not try and read them around bedtime. One that has made our shortlist paid tribute to Melville and Conrad, and did not delight me, but did make me want to read those sources of inspiration.
So what made our mutually agreed upon shortlist?
- The Sellout by Paul Beatty
- Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh
- The Many by Wyl Menmuir
- All That Men Is by David Szalay
- My Name Is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout
- The North Water by Ian McGuire
Tomorrow morning this time we will all be having a new conversation about the six chosen and why. If we believe the bookies on this one, The North Water stands ahead of the pack, and at least two from our list stand a good chance of not even appearing. But I think this is one of those anything goes years, and I am counting on surprises tomorrow.