Author: Sherry Helms
The Man Booker Prize for Fiction aka the Booker Prize is a literary prize awarded each year for the best original full length novel, written in the English language, by a citizen of either the Commonwealth of Nations or Ireland.
Hilary Mantel’s Bring up the Bodies has recently won this year’s Booker Prize (2012). With this accomplishment, the author Hilary Mantel adds some remarkable points in Man Booker history. She becomes only the third author, after Peter Carey and J.M. Coetzee, to win the prize twice. This triumph also makes her the first to win with a sequel; that is, Bring up the Bodies is the sequence of Hilary’s first Booker Prize winner Wolf Hall (won in 2009). Also, she’s the first to win with such a brief interlude between books.
The award winning novels can easily make it to the reading list of a true bibliophile. If you’re a book lover, you must know how high the popularity level of a Booker Prize winning novel can go.
Dedicating to all the book lovers, we’ve presented below a chronological list of books that received Man Booker Prizes for the years 2001-2011. Take a look:
True History of the Kelly Gang (2001) by Peter Carey – In this book, the legendary Ned Kelly speaks for himself, scribbling his narrative on errant scraps of paper in semiliterate but magically descriptive prose as he flees from the police. To his pursuers, Kelly is nothing but a monstrous criminal, a thief and a murderer. To his own people, the lowly class of ordinary Australians, the bushranger is a hero, defying the authority of the English to direct their lives. Indentured by his bootlegger mother to a famous horse thief, who was also his mother’s lover, Ned saw his first prison cell at 15 and by the age of 26 had become the most wanted man in the wild colony of Victoria, taking over whole towns and defying the law until he was finally captured and hanged. Here is a classic outlaw tale, made alive by the skill of a great novelist.
Life of Pi (2002) by Yann Martel – The son of a zookeeper, Pi Patel has an encyclopedic knowledge of animal behaviour and a fervent love of stories. When Pi is sixteen, his family emigrates from India to North America aboard a Japanese cargo ship, along with their zoo animals bound for new homes. The ship sinks. Pi finds himself alone in a lifeboat, his only companions a hyena, an orangutan, a wounded zebra, and Richard Parker, a 450-pound Bengal tiger. Soon the tiger has dispatched all but Pi, whose fear, knowledge, and cunning allow him to coexist with Richard Parker for 227 days while lost at sea. When they finally reach the coast of Mexico, Richard Parker flees to the jungle, never to be seen again. The Japanese authorities who interrogate Pi refuse to believe his story and press him to tell them “the truth.” After hours of coercion, Pi tells a second story, a story much less fantastical, much more conventional–but is it more true?
Vernon God Little (2003) by D. B. C. Pierre - When sixteen kids are shot on high school grounds, everyone looks for someone to blame. Meet Vernon Little, under arrest at the sheriff’s office, a teenager wearing nothing but yesterday’s underwear and his prized logo sneakers. Moments after the shooter, his best buddy, turns the gun on himself, Vernon is pinned as an accomplice. Out for revenge are the townspeople, the cable news networks, and Deputy Vaine Gurie, a woman whose zeal for the Pritikin diet is eclipsed only by her appetite for barbecued ribs from the Bar-B-Chew Barn. So Vernon does what any red-blooded American teenager would do; he takes off for Mexico.
This is a provocatively satirical, riotously funny look at violence, materialism, and the American media.
The Line of Beauty (2004) by Alan Hollinghurst – From the author of “The Swimming-Pool Library” comes a perfectly realized evocation of a very particular world in a very particular time. It is the summer of 1983, and young Nick Guest, an innocent in the matters of politics and money, has moved into an attic room in the Notting Hill home of the Feddens: Gerald, an ambitious new Tory MP, his wealthy wife Rachel, and their children Toby and Catherine. Nick had idolized Toby at Oxford, but in his London life it will be the troubled Catherine who becomes his friend and his uneasy responsibility. At the boom years of the mid-80s unfold, Nick becomes caught up in the Feddens’ world. In an era of endless possibility, Nick finds himself able to pursue his own private obsession, with beauty – a prize as compelling to him as power and riches are to his friends.
The Sea (2005) by John Banville – When art historian Max Morden returns to the seaside village where he once spent a childhood holiday, he is both escaping from a recent loss and confronting a distant trauma. The Grace family had appeared that long-ago summer as if from another world. Mr and Mrs Grace, with their worldly ease and candour, were unlike any adults he had met before. But it was his contemporaries, the Grace twins Myles and Chloe, who most fascinated Max. He grew to know them intricately, even intimately, and what ensued would haunt him for the rest of his years and shape everything that was to follow.
Professor John Sutherland, Chair of Judges, Man Booker Prize 2005 quoted for this book as “A masterly study of grief, memory and love recollected”.
The Inheritance of Loss (2006) by Kiran Desai – In a crumbling, isolated house at the foot of Mount Kanchenjunga in the Himalayas lives an embittered judge who wants only to retire in peace, when his orphaned granddaughter, Sai, arrives on his doorstep. The judge’s cook watches over her distractedly, for his thoughts are often on his son, Biju, who is hopscotching from one gritty New York restaurant to another. Kiran Desai’s brilliant novel, published to huge acclaim, is a story of joy and despair. Her characters face numerous choices that majestically illuminate the consequences of colonialism as it collides with the modern world.
The Gathering (2007) by Anne Enright – This is a moving, evocative portrait of a large Irish family and a shot of fresh blood into the Irish literary tradition, combining the lyricism of the old with the shock of the new. The nine surviving children of the Hegarty clan are gathering in Dublin for the wake of their wayward brother, Liam, drowned in the sea. His sister, Veronica, collects the body and keeps the dead man company, guarding the secret she shares with him—something that happened in their grandmother’s house in the winter of 1968. As Enright traces the line of betrayal and redemption through three generations her distinctive intelligence twists the world a fraction and gives it back to us in a new and unforgettable light. It is a daring, witty, and insightful family epic, clarified through Anne Enright’s unblinking eye.
The White Tiger (2008) by Aravind Adiga – This is the story of Balram Halwai, a poor Indian villager whose great ambition leads him to the zenith of Indian business culture, the world of the Bangalore entrepreneur. On the occasion of the president of China’s impending trip to Bangalore, Balram writes a letter to him describing his transformation and his experience as driver and servant to a wealthy Indian family, which he thinks exemplifies the contradictions and complications of Indian society.
This book recalls The Death of Vishnu and Bangkok 8 in ambition, scope, and narrative genius, with a mischief and personality all its own. Amoral, irreverent, deeply endearing, and utterly contemporary, this novel is an international publishing sensation — and a startling, provocative debut.
Wolf Hall (2009) by Hilary Mantel – Hilary Mantel gone through centuries, past acres of novels, histories, biographies, and plays to come up with this novel. It’s not the King she needs to see, but one of the King’s most mysterious agents. Enter Thomas Cromwell, a self-made man and remarkable polymath who ascends to the King’s right hand. Rigorously pragmatic and forward-thinking, Cromwell has little interest in what motivates his Majesty, and although he makes way for Henry’s marriage to the infamous Anne Boleyn, it’s the future of a free England that he honors above all else and hopes to secure. Mantel plots with a sleight of hand, making full use of her masterful grasp on the facts without weighing down her prose.
The Finkler Question (2010) by Howard Jacobson – This is a funny, furious, unflinching novel of friendship and loss, exclusion and belonging, and the wisdom and humanity of maturity.
Julian Treslove, a professionally unspectacular former BBC radio producer, and Sam Finkler, a popular Jewish philosopher, writer, and television personality, are old school friends. Despite a prickly relationship and very different lives, they’ve never lost touch with each other, or with their former teacher, Libor Sevcik. Dining together one night at Sevcik’s apartment –the two Jewish widowers and the unmarried Gentile, Treslove– the men share a sweetly painful evening, reminiscing on a time before they had loved and lost, before they had prized anything greatly enough to fear the loss of it. But as Treslove makes his way home, he is attacked and mugged outside a violin dealer’s window. Treslove is convinced the crime was a misdirected act of anti-Semitism, and in its aftermath, his whole sense of self will ineluctably change.
The Sense of an Ending (2011) by Julian Barnes – Winner of the Man Booker Prize for Fiction in 2011, this is the story of Tony Webster and his clique, and Adrian Finn. They all first met at school. Sex-hungry and book-hungry, they would navigate the girl-less sixth form together, trading in affectations, in-jokes, rumor and wit. Maybe Adrian was a little more serious than the others, certainly more intelligent, but they all swore to stay friends for life. Now Tony is in middle age. He’s had a career and a single marriage, a calm divorce. He’s certainly never tried to hurt anybody. Memory, though, is imperfect. It can always throw up surprises, as a lawyer’s letter is about to prove. Laced with trademark precision, dexterity and insight, it is the story of one man coming to terms with the mutable past.