Man Booker Prize 2009

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Winner

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

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A revisionist look at Henry VIII's minister, Thomas Cromwell. Rich, absorbing and intelligent, it's a beautiful, beautiful book. Full review...

The Shortlist

The Children's Book by A S Byatt

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This is a rich and vast novel that is both thought provoking but at the same time easy to read about childhood and children's stories. Set between the late Victorian age and World War One, it tells of an age obsessed by children's stories and follows the lives of a number of families and their own children at various ends of the social spectrum. Full review...

Summertime by J M Coetzee

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A postmodernist novel that presents research evidence gathered by a fictional biographer on the years when the deceased semi-fictional John Coetzee was finding his feet as a writer. Too clever by half, perhaps, but very readable and thought-provoking to boot. Full review...

The Quickening Maze by Adam Foulds

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Based on true events, this is a reworking of a time that the nature poet, John Clare, spent in a mental institution. The Tennyson brothers also figure largely in this short and descriptive novel. Full review...

The Glass Room by Simon Mawer

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A genteel examination of the nature of humanity set against the beauty of modernist architecture and the horrors of genocide. Understated emotion. Recommended. Full review...

The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters

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When was the last time you couldn't put a Booker nominated novel down? Sarah Waters, author of acclaimed novels Fingersmith and The Night Watch has written a chilling psychological ghost story that kept me guessing until the very last page. Full review...

Longlisted books which didn't make the shortlist

How to Paint a Dead Man by Sarah Hall

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A visceral exploration of art, love, loss and the human condition. Full review...

The Wilderness by Samantha Harvey

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This impressive debut novel by Samantha Harvey tracks the progress of a protagonist with Alzheimer's disease. It's a demanding and troubling read but reaps rewards for readers prepared to give it their attention. Full review...

Me Cheeta by James Lever

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A spoof biography of Cheeta the chimpanzee, that gives a great insight into the golden age of Hollywood. It's top quality trash (in the best possible way), and a great deal of fun. Full review...

Not Untrue and Not Unkind by Ed O'Loughlin

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A journalist in Africa, late 1990s, finds the problems inherent in reporting the unearthly horrors of ethnic warfare, and the benefits of grounding relationships with his damaged colleagues. It's a meaty premise, but closer perhaps to bushmeat than prime rump. Full review...

Heliopolis by James Scudamore

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An interesting, but not outstanding book about the identity crisis of a newly-rich, ex-favela young man. It takes itself too seriously at times and attempts to shock with a half-incest theme, but is still in essence another book about coping with uncertainty and lack of self-definition. The book might appeal to men in their late twenties - the level of indecisiveness and responsibility looks just about right, and it does broaden one's horizons. Full review...

Brooklyn by Colm Toibin

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A deceptively simple story of a young woman who leaves 1950s Ireland for New York, falls in love and then returns to her home town. But Brooklyn is about much more than that, and Tóibín's understated prose has a depth and resonance that is a real pleasure to read. Full review...

Love and Summer by William Trevor

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A young farmer's wife embarks on an affair in rural 1950s Ireland with unanticipated consequences. Exploring themes of love and escape, the novel develops into a climax that approaches the perfection of Trevor's short stories. Full review...

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