The Booker’s dozen – 13 long-listed books for that lit award that every writer aspires to – was announced in July. At the heart of this year’s list is the diverse international spectrum the jury has managed to cover – from Jamaican and Moroccan born authors listed for the very first time to Irish, Nigerian, Indian and of course, British. The shortlist is due on 15th September but we’ve ploughed through the lot to come up with our own selection. Mirroring the Booker longlist in all its diversity, it covers tales set in different geographical regions, one debut author, one former Booker winner, and two Indian authors.

Pathos, angst, turbulence, trauma… there’s a heaviness in the selection. They will push your mental faculties to function in full throttle. So before you begin, may we suggest that you stock up on some Oolong tea? Oolongs possess a superbly calming quality with their floral-woody flavors. With a muskiness that soothes even the most overworked nerves, a cup of oolong will be a fitting reminder to the pleasanter side of life.

A Brief History of Seven Killing by Marlon James

The first Jamaican author to be longlisted for the Man Booker takes on the attempted killing of Bob Marley. Part fictional and part historical account of Marley’s life, this is one busy book you can’t put down! Chapters are narrated by different characters and it might take serious effort to get a hold on all of them.

The Moor’s Account by Laila Lalami

The first Moroccan born author to be longlisted for the Man Booker, Lalami follows a slave, one of four survivors of the 16th century Narváez expedition. The vibrant historical narrative also takes you on the personal journey of Mustafa the slave as the first black explorer and the lives of the survivors of this fateful expedition.

Sleeping on Jupiter by Anuradha Roy

One of two entries from India, Roy’s chilling book looks at violence against women in India in fresh light. Both barbaric and poignant in its narrative, Sleeping on Jupiter is the story of a girl, Nomita, who spent the early years of her life in an ashram where the guru physically and sexually assaulted children.

The Fishermen by Chigozie Obioma

A debut novel, Obioma’s tale set in a native Nigerian background tells the story of nine-year-old Benjamin and his three brothers who go out fishing in forbidden waters. A local madman gives them a prophecy that endangers family ties and unleashes a series of events that is set to irreversibly change their lives.

The Year of the Runaways by Sunjeev Sahota

A Granta Best of British novelist, Sunjeev Sahota returns with a story of three Indian men living in Sheffield. All three – Tarlochan, Randeep and Avtar are on the run from their native country for different reasons and desperately in search of a new life. Sahota takes you through both the countries, India and England, with refreshing new insight.

The Green Road by Anne Enright

This is the tale of an Irish family by former Booker winner Anne Enright. Rosaleen Madigan has seen each of her children leave Ireland in search of a brighter future. Some moved West while others to third world countries. Things change when Madigan decided to sell the house they grew up in. They return to the home to spend one last Christmas together.

 

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