So I have completed the Man Bookers’ prize list shortlisted books. By completing , I mean I have read 5 books & the final book “Do not say we have nothing” was not available in India till last month, so I have moved to other books, & now it’s too late to read it before the finale which is on 25th Oct. So, I am going to present a short review of “All That Man Is” by David Szalay followed by my prediction of the winner.
This is the collection of 9 short stories, all centered at men who are away from their home. You can see the gradual progression in the age of the central characters of each story. The first story is of the teen age backpacker & the last story is of someone towards the end of the life. Each story contributes a characteristics which may be either common or uncommon among the men universally, but not unheard of.
Before reading this book, I had read Eileen & Hot Milk which were both centered around young women characters. Both characters were the narrators of their stories & were very candid & honest about their shortcomings & insecurities. But men in this book are different- they are indecisive, delusional, pitiable & dishonest. You can feel how uneasy they are with realities & how they try to shield the world they see. I enjoyed most of the stories in book- they were well paced & had a good blend of the humor & despise.
I rated “All that Men Is” is solid 4 out of 5 stars- Nine men from nine stories trying to portray the man of this era.
So, here is my final standing of all the shortlisted books:
- The Winner- “His Bloody Project” by Graeme Macrae Burnet (My goodreads rating- 5/5 stars)
- “Hot Milk” by Deborah Levy ( My goodreads rating- 4/5 stars)
- “All that Man Is” by David Szalay (My goodreads rating- 4/5 stars)
- Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh (My goodreads rating- 3.5/5 stars)
- The Sellout by Paul Beatty (My goodreads rating- 3/5 stars)
Did Not Read- “Do Not Say We Have Nothing ” by Madeleine Thien
Overall On The Man Bookers’ Prize Shortlist
First time in many years, I have enjoyed the most of the shortlisted book. Maybe I have matured more as an reader or maybe jury has changed it’s parameters. I can see the variety of voices in these books & they are all telling the tales that are relevant to this generation. I am very confident that my prediction will be wrong ( It always go that way) but in “His Bloody Project” we have a great material & the new art of storytelling that will influence many stories in the future ( Did anyone buy the movie rights yet for this book ? )
I hope you enjoyed this series. Will love to read your comments.