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Booker Prize Longlist 2022
CONGRATULATIONS TO 2022 WINNER SHEHAN KARUNATILAKA FOR THE SEVEN MOONS OF MAALI ALMEIDA!
The Booker Prize is the leading literary award in the English speaking world, and has brought recognition, reward and readership to outstanding fiction for over five decades. Each year, the prize is awarded to what is, in the opinion of the judges, the best sustained work of fiction written in English and published in the UK and Ireland. It is a prize that transforms the winner’s career. The 2022 longlist was announced on July 26th, the shortlist on September 6th and the winner was announced on October 17th.
This year's nominees includes the youngest and oldest authors ever to be nominated, as well as the shortest book, three debuts and two new publishers receiving their first ever nominations. One of the nominees, Treacle Walker, by Alan Garner, does not yet have a US publication date. Three others are scheduled to be published and are available for preorder: The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida, by Shehan Karunatilaka (November 1st), Case Study, by Graeme MacRae Burnet (November 1st), and After Sappho, by Selby Wynn Schwartz (January 24th, 2023).
In the list below, the winner is at the top of the list, the other shortlist finalists are the next four books, followed by those books that were on the longlist but didn't make it to the next level.
AND THE WINNER IS! Coming out November 1st, 2022, and available for preorder. Colombo, 1990. Maali Almeida—war photographer, gambler, and closet queen—has woken up dead in what seems like a celestial visa office. His dismembered body is sinking in the serene Beira Lake and he has no idea who killed him. In a country where scores are settled by death squads, suicide bombers, and hired goons, the list of suspects is depressingly long, as the ghouls and ghosts with grudges who cluster round can attest. But even in the afterlife, time is running out for Maali. He has seven moons to contact the man and woman he loves most and lead them to the photos that will rock Sri Lanka.
SHORTLIST FINALIST. Inspired by the unexpected fall by coup in November 2017 of Zimbabwe president Robert G. Mugabe, as well as by George Orwell's Animal Farm, this bold novel follows the fall of the Old Horse, the long-serving leader of a fictional country, and the drama that follows for a rumbustious nation of animals on the path to true liberation.
At the center of this tumult is Destiny, a young goat who returns to Jidada to bear witness to revolution—and to recount the unofficial history and the potential legacy of the females who have quietly pulled the strings here. The animal kingdom—its connection to our primal responses and its resonance in the mythology, folktales, and fairy tales that define cultures the world over—unmasks the surreality of contemporary global politics to help us understand our world more clearly, even as Bulawayo plucks us right out of it.
SHORTLIST FINALIST. In this short novel, it is 1985 in a small Irish town. During the weeks leading up to Christmas, Bill Furlong, a coal merchant and family man faces into his busiest season. Early one morning, while delivering an order to the local convent, Bill makes a discovery which forces him to confront both his past and the complicit silences of a town controlled by the church.
"Keegan’s languid and crystalline prose is surprisingly powerful, poetically describing a Thatcher-era Dickensian village of financially struggling citizens preparing for the holiday while hinting at grim secrets just below the surface." - Bill Kelly, BOOKLIST
SHORTLIST FINALIST. Percival Everett’s The Trees is a page-turner that opens with a series of brutal murders in the rural town of Money, Mississippi. When a pair of detectives from the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation arrive, they meet expected resistance from the local sheriff, his deputy, the coroner, and a string of racist White townsfolk. The murders present a puzzle, for at each crime scene there is a second dead body: that of a man who resembles Emmett Till.
“Uproarious and grisly. . . . Everett forces readers to confront atrocities endured by Black Americans in this briskly paced hybrid of whodunit, madcap comedy, and horror story. . . . It’s a testament to Everett’s immense skill as a writer that he is able to take such grim material and make it hilarious, poignant, and infuriating.”—Michael Magras, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
SHORTLIST FINALIST. Lucy Barton is a writer, but her ex-husband, William, remains a hard man to read. William, she confesses, has always been a mystery to me. Another mystery is why the two have remained connected after all these years. They just are.
So Lucy is both surprised and not surprised when William asks her to join him on a trip to investigate a recently uncovered family secret—one of those secrets that rearrange everything we think we know about the people closest to us. What happens next is nothing less than another example of what Hilary Mantel has called Elizabeth Strout’s “perfect attunement to the human condition.” There are fears and insecurities, simple joys and acts of tenderness, and revelations about affairs and other spouses, parents and their children. On every page of this exquisite novel we learn more about the quiet forces that hold us together—even after we’ve grown apart.
At the heart of this story is the indomitable voice of Lucy Barton, who offers a profound, lasting reflection on the very nature of existence. “This is the way of life,” Lucy says: “the many things we do not know until it is too late.”
This is the third book in Strout's Amgash series featuring the character Lucy Barton. The first was My Name is Lucy Barton, the second Anything is Possible, and a fourth, Lucy by the Sea, is coming out September 20th, available for preorder now.
LONGLIST NOMINEE. An epic and intimate novel about the family behind one of the most infamous figures in American history: John Wilkes Booth.
In 1822, a secret family moves into a secret cabin some thirty miles northeast of Baltimore, to farm, to hide, and to bear ten children over the course of the next sixteen years. Junius Booth—breadwinner, celebrated Shakespearean actor, and master of the house in more ways than one—is at once a mesmerizing talent and a man of terrifying instability. One by one the children arrive, as year by year, the country draws frighteningly closer to the boiling point of secession and civil war.
As the tenor of the world shifts, the Booths emerge from their hidden lives to cement their place as one of the country’s leading theatrical families. But behind the curtains of the many stages they have graced, multiple scandals, family triumphs, and criminal disasters begin to take their toll, and the solemn siblings of John Wilkes Booth are left to reckon with the truth behind the destructively specious promise of an early prophecy.
LONGLIST NOMINEE. Coming out November 1st, available for preorder.
London, 1965. An unworldly young woman believes that a charismatic psychotherapist, Collins Braithwaite, has driven her sister to suicide. Intent on confirming her suspicions, she assumes a false identity and presents herself to him as a client, recording her experiences in a series of notebooks. But she soon finds herself drawn into a world in which she can no longer be certain of anything. Even her own character.
In Case Study, Graeme Macrae Burnet presents these notebooks interspersed with his own biographical research into Collins Braithwaite. The result is a dazzling--and often wickedly humorous--meditation on the nature of sanity, identity and truth itself, by one of the most inventive novelists writing today.
LONGLIST NOMINEE. An unparalleled novel about money, power, intimacy, and perception.
Even through the roar and effervescence of the 1920s, everyone in New York has heard of Benjamin and Helen Rask. He is a legendary Wall Street tycoon; she is the daughter of eccentric aristocrats. Together, they have risen to the very top of a world of seemingly endless wealth—all as a decade of excess and speculation draws to an end. But at what cost have they acquired their immense fortune? This is the mystery at the center of Bonds, a successful 1937 novel that all of New York seems to have read. Yet there are other versions of this tale of privilege and deceit.
At once an immersive story and a brilliant literary puzzle, TRUST engages the reader in a quest for the truth while confronting the deceptions that often live at the heart of personal relationships, the reality-warping force of capital, and the ease with which power can manipulate facts.
“For all its elegant complexity and brilliant construction, Diaz's novel is compulsively readable, and despite taking place in the early 1900s, the plot reads like an indictment of the start of the twenty-first century with its obsession with obscure financial instruments and unhinged capital accumulation. A captivating tour de force that will astound readers with its formal invention and contemporary relevance."—Booklist, STARRED review
LONGLIST NOMINEE. In 1979, as violence erupts all over Ireland, two outsiders travel to a small island off the west coast in search of their own answers, despite what it may cost the islanders.
An expertly woven portrait of character and place, a stirring investigation into yearning to find one’s way, and an unflinchingly political critique of the long, seething cost of imperialism, Audrey Magee’s The Colony is a novel that transports, that celebrates beauty and connection, and that reckons with the inevitable ruptures of independence.
“What a relief it is to find a novel that treats the reader as a grown-up, that is fresh without chasing literary fashion, provocative but not shouty, and idiosyncratic but fully satisfying from the strange comedy of its opening pages to its decisive conclusion.”—John Self, The Times
LONGLIST NOMINEE. This lyrical debut novel is at once a passionate coming-of-age story, a meditation on illness and death, and a kaleidoscopic journey through one woman’s life—told in part by the malevolent voice of her disease.
Lia, her husband Harry, and their beloved daughter, Iris, are a precisely balanced family of three. With Iris struggling to navigate the social tightrope of early adolescence, their tender home is a much-needed refuge. But when a sudden diagnosis threatens to derail each of their lives, the secrets of Lia’s past come rushing into the present, and the world around them begins to transform.
Pivoting between the domestic and the epic, the comic and the heart-breaking, this astonishing novel unearths the darkness and levity of one woman’s life to symphonic effect.
"English novelist Mortimer's debut novel is a poetic story of a woman and the cancer that consumes her body... Using word placement, font, and shape to create images on the page, Mortimer deepens the reader’s engagement with the story and characters ... Through breathtaking attention to detail, Mortimer crafts a stunning novel that touches on the expanses one life can contain."—Booklist
LONGLIST NOMINEE. Kiara and her brother, Marcus, are scraping by in an East Oakland apartment complex optimistically called the Regal-Hi. Both have dropped out of high school, their family fractured by death and prison
But while Marcus clings to his dream of rap stardom, Kiara hunts for work to pay their rent—which has more than doubled—and to keep the nine-year-old boy next door, abandoned by his mother, safe and fed. One night, what begins as a drunken misunderstanding with a stranger turns into the job Kiara never imagined wanting but now desperately needs: nightcrawling. Her world breaks open even further when her name surfaces in an investigation that exposes her as a key witness in a massive scandal within the Oakland Police Department.
“Mottley accesses the feelings one sometimes has while reading Dickens, the breathless sense that some massive unfairness is being inflicted on a good and innocent person . . . Kiara’s true outlet for hope is in the makeshift family of friends and relatives she manages to hold together. From such connections Mottley’s seemingly fatalistic book finds its buoyant humanity.” —Sam Sacks, Wall Street Journal
LONGLIST NOMINEE. Coming out in the US January 24th, 2023, but available for preorder. “The first thing we did was change our names. We were going to be Sappho,” so begins this intrepid debut novel, centuries after the Greek poet penned her lyric verse. Ignited by the same muse, a myriad of women break from their small, predetermined lives for seemingly disparate paths: in 1892, Rina Faccio trades her needlepoint for a pen; in 1902, Romaine Brooks sails for Capri with nothing but her clotted paintbrushes; and in 1923, Virginia Woolf writes: “I want to make life fuller and fuller.” Writing in cascading vignettes, Selby Wynn Schwartz spins an invigorating tale of women whose narratives converge and splinter as they forge queer identities and claim the right to their own lives. A luminous meditation on creativity, education, and identity, After Sappho announces a writer as ingenious as the trailblazers of our past.
"A highly original, practically uncategorisable novel... Sarah Bernhardt, Virginia Woolf, the Italian writer and lesbian Lina Poletti, plus a host of other lesser-known women who pushed against the conventions of the time — all are given fresh life in this entrancing choric collage of a novel which seems to speak both in one voice and in multitudes all at the same time... I loved it."
— Claire Allfree - Daily Mail