The Man Booker Prize for Fiction is a literary prize awarded each year for the best original novel, written in the English language and published in the UK. It assures international renown and success; therefore, the prize is of great significance for the book trade. From its inception, only Commonwealth, Irish, and South African (later Zimbabwean) citizens were eligible to receive the prize; in 2014, however, this eligibility was widened to any English-language novel.
Judgement Criteria- The selection process for the winner of the prize commences with the formation of an advisory committee, which includes a writer, two publishers, a literary agent, a bookseller, a librarian, and a chairperson appointed by the Booker Prize Foundation. The advisory committee then selects the judging panel, the membership of which changes each year, although on rare occasions a judge may be selected a second time. Judges are selected from amongst leading literary critics, writers, academics and leading public figures.
The winner is usually announced at a ceremony in London’s Guildhall, usually in early October.
The Ministry of Utmost Happiness
About the book: The Ministry of Utmost Happiness takes us on an intimate and beautiful journey of several years across the Indian subcontinent starting from the cramped neighborhoods of Old Delhi and the new roads of the new city, to the mountains and valleys of Kashmir and beyond, where war is peace and peace is war. As this ravishing, deeply humane novel braids these lives together, it reinvents the real purpose of what a novel can do and can be. On every page, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness demonstrates Arundhati Roy’s storytelling gifts.
Quote from the Book– “Who can know from the word goodbye what kind of parting is in store for us”.
“4 3 2 1”- Paul Auster
About the Book– Paul Auster’s “4 3 2 1” is an heartbreaking masterpiece and is the greatest satisfying novel with most vivid story; a sweeping and a surprising story of inheritance, family, love and life itself which imagines diverging paths for its hero’s life.
Quote from the Book– “The world wasn’t real anymore. Everything in it was a fraudulent copy of what it should have been, and everything that happened in it shouldn’t have been happening. For a long time afterward, Ferguson lived under the spell of this illusion, sleepwalking through his days and struggling to fall asleep at night, sick of a world he had stopped believing in, doubting everything that presented itself to his eyes.”
Lincoln in the Bardo- George Saunders
About the Book– The captivating and the best selling novel ‘Lincoln in the Bardo’ revolves around Abraham Lincoln and the death of his eleven year old son, Willie, at the dawn of the Civil War. Set in the course of the deadly night, the novel is a thrilling exploration of death, grief, the powers of good and evil, a novel – in its form and voice – completely unlike anything. Towards the end, it is an exploration of the deeper meaning and possibilities of life, written as only George Saunders can: with humor, pathos, and grace.
Quote from the Book– “Everything was real; inconceivably real, infinitely dear. These and all things started as nothing, latent within a vast energy-broth, but then we named them, and loved them, and, in this way, brought them forth. And now we must lose them”.
The Underground Railroad- Colson Whitehead
About the Book–The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead is a brilliantly recreation of the unique terrors for black people in the pre-Civil War era. It is a hallucinatory novel about the horrors of American slavery and the sinister permutations of racism. His narrative weaves the saga of America from the brutal importation of Africans to the unfulfilled promises of the present day. ‘The Underground Railroad’ is at once a kinetic adventure tale of one woman’s ferocious will to escape the horrors of bondage and a shattering, powerful meditation on the history.
Quote from the Book– “Slavery is a sin when whites were put to the yoke, but not the African. All men are created equal, unless we decide you are not a man.”
Swing Time- Zadie Smith
About the Book– ‘Swing Time’ features a shadow world with the black-and-white musicals. The book is a play of light and dark — at once an assertion of physicality and an illusion — in which the main character, a girl born to a black mother and a white father, tries to assemble, from the competing allegiances that claim her, an identity that allows her to join the dance. This narrator is unnamed, as is the African country where much of the action takes place. The novel cloaks existential dread beneath the brightest of intensities.
Quote from the Book– “I often wondered: is it some kind of a trade-off? Do others have to lose so we can win?”
Autumn- Ali Smith
About the Book– Ali Smith was born in Inverness in 1962 and lives in Cambridge. She possesses the perfect characteristics of the short story writer: rigorous self-discipline in the planning process, an eagle eye for condensing detail, a capacity for using the personal and individual to suggest universal truths and a skill for hinting at a wider world beyond the story, all of which can be seen in her three major collection. Her books have won and been shortlisted for many awards. Her latest books are ‘There But For The’ (2011), winner of the Hawthornden Prize, Artful (2012), winner of the Foyles / Bristol Festival of Ideas Best Book 2013, and, forthcoming, the novel How To Be Both (2014).
Quote from the Book– “Always be reading something, he said. Even when we’re not physically reading. How else will we read the world? Think of it as a constant.”
Exit West- Mohsin Hamid
About the Book– The book features magic and violence in migrants’ tale. It follows the characters as they emerge into an alien and uncertain future, struggling to hold on to each other, to their past, to the very sense of who they are. Profoundly intimate and powerfully inventive, it tells an unforgettable story of love, loyalty, and courage that is both completely of our time and for all time.
Quote from the Book– “When we migrate, we murder from our lives those we leave behind.”
Days Without End- Sebastian Barry
About the Book– Sebastian Barry’s latest work is a masterpiece of atmosphere and language, Moving from the plains of Wyoming to Tennessee. An intensely poignant story of two men and the makeshift family they create with a young Sioux girl, Winona, Days Without End is a fresh and haunting portrait of the most fateful years in American history and is a novel never to be forgotten.
Quote from the Book– “A man’s memory might have only a hundred clear days in it and he has lived thousands. Can’t do much about that. We have our store of days and we spend them like forgetful drunkards.”
Solar Bones- Mike McCoarmack
About the Book– Solar Bones is the story of a visit when once a year, on All Souls’ Day, the dead may return. Marcus Conway, a middle-aged engineer, turns up one afternoon at his kitchen table and considers the events that took him away and then brought him home again. A beautiful and haunting elegy, this story of order and chaos, love and loss captures how minor decisions ripple into waves and test our integrity every day.
Quote from the Book– “You have to have faith, Dad, that’s what we Mayo people do, we journey in hope, true believers.”
Reservoir 13- Jon McGregor
About the Book– Reservoir 13 isn’t simply an iteration of the usual story, however: it’s a fascinating exploration of it. McGregor is a writer with extraordinary control, and he uses the power of the archetype as well as our genre expectations for his own purposes. We’re pulled in from the first page, when the villagers “gathered at the car park before dawn and waited to be told what to do”. His sentences are abrupt and minimal, austerely denotative, building the tension: he hasn’t got narrative time to waste. It’s a contemporary story: the farm worker has a quad bike, the vicar is a woman, there’s a hippy shop selling crystals and the butcher’s is closing down for lack of trade. We begin to get to know the place, although at first it feels as if we’re filling in the background to our real story: the missing girl.
Quote from the Book– “She had been looked for in the caves, and in the quarries, and in the reservoirs and all across the hills. It was no good. Dreams were had about her, still”.
Elmet- Fiona Mozley
About the Book– Elmet is an unforgettable novel about family, as well as a beautiful meditation on landscape.It is a fresh and distinctive writing from an exciting new voice in fiction in which Sally Rooney meets Sarah Perry.Atmospheric and unsettling, Elmet is a lyrical commentary on contemporary society and one family’s precarious place in it, as well as an exploration of how deep the bond between father and child can go.
Quote from the Book– “Elmet was the last independent Celtic kingdom in England and originally stretched out over the vale of York … But even into the seventeenth century this narrow cleft and its side-gunnels, under the glaciated moors, were still a ‘badlands’, a sanctuary for refugees from the law’ Remains of Elmet Ted Hughes”
History of Wolves- Emily Fridlund
About the Book– A teenager struggles to come of age in a world of religious zealots and predatory teachers in this stark writing. The coming-of-age novel can be almost as painful as actually coming of age. It’s a genre that demands a tricky combination of narrative knowingness and character naivety, while recruiting the reader’s sympathies for one of God’s least sympathetic creations: the teenager.
Quote from the Book– “Maybe if I’d been someone else I’d see it differently. But isn’t that the crux of the problem? Wouldn’t we all act differently if we were someone else?”
Home Fire- Kamila Shamsie
About the Book– Absolutely breathtaking, Home Fire sketches the political and religious issues played out in the microcosm of two families. In one, the father is dead, implicated in terrorist activities, and the son is being radicalized. In the other, the father is a high-ranking UK politician. In less skilled hands, this plot could easily have become sappy, moralistic, or predictable, a modern take on the melodrama of a Romeo-and-Juliet-esque story. But Kamila Shamsie is an incredible author, and instead what we get a tender, gut-wrenching, timely book. The characters are so well-developed, the prose is gorgeous, and as in real life, there are no easy answers or tidy solutions
Quote from the Book– “Seeing her raise a hand in welcome, Isma understood how it might have felt in another age to step out on deck and see the outstretched arm of the Statue of Liberty and know you had made it, you were going to be all right.”
Covers of the books from- Goodreads
Inputs about authors, books and judgement criteria from: The Guardian, New York Times, Goodreads