No, really. I’m thrilled that The Inheritance of Loss, Kiran Desai’s second novel, made it to this year’s Booker shortlist–but what a shortlist it is. M J Hyland and Hisham Matar weren’t available in India up until this week, and I’ve only just started Edward St Aubyn’s Mother’s Milk. Kate Grenville, Kiran Desai, Sarah Waters–all three have strong novels. I can understand dissing Peter Carey and Nadine Gordimer at a pinch, but David Mitchell didn’t make it? And what, no Claire Messud?? But then again, I’ve been looking forward to Hyland’s novel–and Matar can write. So perhaps this year’s Booker judges actually read their way through the slush pile for a change…


Booker Prize 2006: shortlist

Kiran Desai, The Inheritance of Loss (Hamish Hamilton)
Kate Grenville, The Secret River (Canongate)
M J Hyland, Carry Me Down (Canongate)
Hisham Matar, In the Country of Men (Viking)
Edward St Aubyn, Mother’s Milk (Picador)
Sarah Waters, The Night Watch (Virago)

Quick update:

The Guardian on Kiran Desai going from “virtual unknown” (really? The Inheritance of Loss got strongly positive reviews when it was released a few months ago) to “potential Booker winner”. “The first book took four years to write, the next eight, so I guess the third will take 16,” she says, with a wry smile. “Then it will soon be time to retire.”
–Peter Carey may not have made it, but the Aussies aren’t complaining.
Boyd Tonkins pulls out every blasted racing metaphor–heavily-backed steeds falling at the first fence, also-rans, the publisher’s gallop on a separate track–so that you don’t have to. Not that I blame him, something about The Booker sends every one of us hack writers off to the Racing Form for inspiration.
The Times wonders why David Mitchell didn’t make it.