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2008 Man Booker Prize shortlist announced

The Booker Prize 2008 shortlisted novels have been announced:

  • The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga
  • The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry
  • Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh
  • The Clothes on Their Backs by Linda Grant
  • The Northern Clemency by Philip Hensher
  • A Fraction of the Whole by Steve Toltz

John Sutherland of the Guardian writes that this year’s shortlist is “the least metropolitan, least up-to-the-minute, shortlist I can recall.”

Two first-time novelists, Aravind Adiga and Steve Toltz, survived the cut, while three-time Booker winner Salmaan Rushdie is absent from the list. Having heard the whispers that “‘Rushdie’s out'”, Sutherland comments:

But it does point to another black hole in the list. How many of these six names was the averagely literate novel reader aware of, before the longlist publication? This, one deduces, is a panel not afraid to throw big names overboard.

Other key words used to describe this list — “historical” and “page-turning” (not necessarily an oxymoron).