SO, I have read 11 of the 12 longlisted novels before the announcement of the shortlist tomorrow - PHEW. It's been a wonderful mind journey and I've found it to be a significant reliever of stress and source of enjoyment. I really wish I could've got The Garden of Evening Mists done as well, but ce sera sera. My predictions below don't factor in Tan Twan Eng's book, so that's important to bear in mind.
I completely loved 5 of these books (Philida, Communion Town, Bring Up the Bodies, The Lighthouse, and The Yips), and will read them again and again. I enjoyed another 3 (Skios, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and The Teleportation Accident), while not finding them stunning. Only 3 of the 11 were not my cup of tea, and, in fact, one of them I still see as a skilfull, mostly worthwhile book (Narcopolis ). There was only one I really disliked (Umbrella) and one I thought was significantly overdone (Swimming Home).
I have two sets of predictions here - one is my personal shortlist (the books I'd pick, if I was picking!) and one's the shortlist I think most likely to be announced tomorrow. I could be hilariously wrong, it wouldn't be the first time :-)
Bring Up the Bodies
The Teleportation Accident
PREDICTED ACTUAL SHORTLIST
Bring Up the Bodies
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry
And ... the winner?
I'm torn here, between my three favourites, but if I were awarding the prize, I'd have to give it to Hilary Mantel's Bring Up the Bodies, by a nose from my other two favourites,Philida and The Yips. It is such an achievement, that book, even more for the second in a trilogy.
In terms of what will actually win - one of Bring Up the Bodies, The Lighthouse, or, if the judges are determined to be contrary, maybe the incomprehensible Umbrella. The smart money would have to be on Mantel's book, I reckon.
Well, I got 4 out of 6 right on my predicted actual list :-) The shortlist is:
The Garden of Evening Mists
Bring up the Bodies
They left off The Yips and Harold Fry in favour of The Garden of Evening Mists and (ugh) Swimming Home. Of course I haven't yet read Evening Mists, so that might be totally fair cop, I'll see soon!
For my personal choices, it's a lower hit rate - only Mantel and Moore's books. With the other four, well. Did not like Umbrella, thought Swimming Home was average, and admired Narcopolis but found it a bit depressing. Barring great revelations in reading Evening Mists, I'm still backing Bring Up the Bodies to win, but I wouldn't be unhappy if The Lighthouse took it either.
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