Many people will be pleased about the shortlist for the 2011 Man Booker Prize, which was announced on September 6th—and not just Julian Barnes, who has been shortlisted three times before, but never won, along with his five fellow authors.
The bookmakers will be secretly delighted that “The Stranger’s Child”, Alan Hollinghurst’s first novel since his 2004 winner, “The Line of Beauty”, did not make the cut. When the longlist was announced last month, “The Stranger’s Child” quickly became the betting favourite and it has been selling like hotcakes ever since, reinforcing the belief that “The Stranger’s Child” had a long Man Booker future.
Independent publishers also have reason to feel proud. Four of the six shortlisted books were published by independent houses, among them Carol Birch’s “Jamrach’s Menagerie” by Canongate, Patrick deWitt's “The Sisters Brothers” by Granta and Esi Edugyan's “Half Blood Blues” by Serpent’s Tail.
But A.D. Miller, The Economist’s Britain editor, should be especially chuffed. Not only was his Moscow-based thriller, “Snowdrops”, the fourth of the six novels to have been brought out by an independent house, it’s Miller’s debut—and a fine one it is too.
~ FIAMMETTA ROCCO
You can listen to A.D. Miller talk about "Snowdrops" in this Economist podcast.