This year, the Booker’s Shortlist for fiction saw a good variation of books. Fantasy, local legends, historical fiction, diaspora and science fiction.
Every year, I try to read the shortlisted books but I fail to go beyond 3 books. This year also, I have read 3 books, and I am involving a short review of each of these books in this post.
Bonus Read: Man Booker’s 2015 Shortlist
A Brief History of Seven Killings
It was not an easy book to read. There are several narrators who are changing the point of view in every few pages. It is difficult to picture each character clearly but it is not only the changing narrators and point of view which is the biggest problem for this book. To protect the authenticity of the characters, Marlon James incorporated the ghetto language of Jamaica of 1970s. It might have worked well for him because he was the Booker’s 2015 winner for the Fiction category and is also highly rated elsewhere . His voice is unique but this book becomes a painful read for me. Reading A brief History of Seven Killings was nowhere a pleasurable experience and I rated it only 2 out of 5 stars on the goodreads.
The Year of the Runaways
The year of the runaways by British author Sunjeev Sahota was not available on Kindle and hence ordered a hardbound book. The book came with the recommendation of Salman Rusdie on the cover, that is already good selling for likes of me who admire Mr Rusdie’s works. In one of the interviews, Sunjeev admitted that the first novel he ever read was Midnight’s Children when Sunjeev was 18 and since then “It was like I was making up for lost time”.He did catch up well to get his hero’s endorsement for this book.
This book captures the story of 3 Sikhs and 1 low-caste boy from Bihar who against all odds meet in UK. Their stories are not heroic. There are hardship and sorrows in their life back home and they decide to take an illegal route to immigrate in UK in the expectation of making faster money and returning to their homeland. It is ironic that this book is released during the major immigration crisis and it will be interesting to know how the western readers have received it. It is fast paced but it is one dimensional-sad narration. There is not multitude of emotions and you know each time how the story is going to end. However, it is good effort by the author and rightly deserves the shortlist. I rated it 3 out of 5 stars on the goodreads.
Originally, it was my first choice from the Shortlisted books to begin with but at that time, it was neither released in India, nor the kindle edition was available. Written by Nigerian author Chigozie Obioma, who is now resident of New York City, the fisherman is the story of 4 brothers in an Nigerian town whose life change after they go to fishing in the town river. Narrated from the point of view of 9 year old Benjamin, youngest of the pack. Obioma in few pages sound like Africa’s answer to Khalid Hosseini, that is obviously a compliment to the young author. He managed to mix the mythical and traditional elements in the book, circling around one family but that can also be expanded to commentary to modern African problems- be it social, economical or political.
I rated The Fisherman 3 out of 5 stars on the goodreads.
Have you read any of the above books ? What are your views ? Please share 🙂