Man Booker Prize 2011

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The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes


This short book is almost perfectly formed. A retired, (and somewhat dull), man is forced to recall events soon after leaving school by an unexpected letter. Full of delicious observation and insight. Full review...

Other books on the The Shortlist

Jamrach's Menagerie by Carol Birch


Jaffy Brown lives a poor existence in the east end of London. But one day he literally comes across a tiger - and his life is changed forever. Full review...

The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt


A cowboy noir style novel, set against the California gold rush, full of dark humour and almost farcical events that also mines the emotions of sadness. Saddle up and enjoy. Full review...

Half-Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan


A story of jazz, jealousy and betrayal in Nazi Europe Full review...

Pigeon English by Stephen Kelman


A bittersweet look at the life of a boy from Ghana transplanted to a British sink estate. It's funny, sweet and sad and the boy's voice has a great truth about it. Bookbag wasn't sure the magic realism element really worked. Full review...

Snowdrops by A D Miller


The front cover, a snowy scene with majestic architecture in the background, is arresting and also suggests a thriller-type read. I was keen to find out why the book was called Snowdrops and hoped the author would enlighten me. He did - and it's nothing to do with flowers or gardening. It's rather chilling and altogether more interesting. Full review...

Longlisted books which didn't make it to the shortlist:

On Canaan's Side by Sebastian Barry


The publishers claim this book is ‘at once epic and intimate’ and for once, this cliche is appropriate. The story of an 89 year old Irish-American recalling her eventful life after the death of her grandson. Full of exquisite writing and compassion, this is a remarkable story from a believable narrator to whom unbelievable things have happened. Full review...

A Cupboard Full of Coats by Yvvette Edwards


A fierce book about love, regret, alienation and redemption. Utterly compelling and deserving of its Booker longlisting. We loved it. Full review...

The Stranger's Child by Alan Hollinghurst


Beautifully written and a delight to read, this broad episodic novel from 1913 to 2008 presents a nuanced and enthralling look at changes in social attitudes, particularly to homosexuality, amongst the more educated of society through the life of two families bound by a First World War poet. Full review...

The Last Hundred Days by Patrick McGuinness


Looking at the final days of Ceausescu's Romania, this first person narrative is one part Le Carré, one part Bill Bryson and one part an account of everyday life under Ceausescu's bizarre Stalinist world. It feels very realistic and at times you will forget that this is a work of fiction. There are also plenty of wry and satirical moments to lighten this account of a sinister regime where everyone is watching someone. Full review...

Far to Go by Alison Pick


A wealthy Jewish family in late 1930s Czechoslovakia is always going to be an emotional story, but this Booker-nominated story avoids crushing sentimentality by offering a complex and thrilling story of the family's efforts to secure safety, particularly for their six year old son. Full review...

The Testament of Jessie Lamb by Jane Rogers


A terrifying disease, known as Maternal Death Syndrome, kills all pregnant mothers threatening to wipe out humankind. Can 16-year-old Jessie Lamb do anything about it? Is she a hero of the human race or just a misguided, innocent young girl? This dystopian novel asks some difficult questions. Full review...

Derby Day by D J Taylor


A bunch of disparate individuals are linked to a rather enigmatic horse called Tiberius. There are those who are dead set on him winning the forthcoming prestigious Derby - and then there are others with their own, very secret agenda. Full review...


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