Man Booker Prize 2015

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WINNER

A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James

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On December 3rd 1976 a group of armed men go to Bob Marley's Jamaican home in Hope Road on a mission to kill 'The Singer'. No one will be arrested for it but that doesn't mean their lives afterwards will be normal. This is a total fictionalisation of their story and therefore the story of the people of the Jamaican ghettoes: the politics, the unrest, the gang warfare and the death. Full review...

OTHER SHORTLISTED BOOKS

Satin Island by Tom McCarthy

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According to an interview I read with Tom McCarthy, more than half of anthropology graduates now find work with big corporations. Eh? You might say. Don't they all go on to academia and make documentaries for BBC4? Or rush about solving crimes with the FBI? (Bones reference, dears.) What are they doing in commerce? Full review...

The Fishermen by Chigozie Obioma

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This book is essentially a cautionary family tale of four brothers and the way they react to a prophecy about them by the local madman. It is also, in a sense, a coming-of-age story where Ben, the young narrator, is plunged into premature adulthood under the most brutal of circumstances. And it is about brotherly love. None of these descriptions, however, convey the fact that this book is written by an exciting new voice in African literary fiction. Full review...

The Year of the Runaways by Sunjeev Sahota

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Sunjeev Sahota made the Granta list of Best Young British Novelists in 2013, after releasing his debut novel, Ours Are the Streets, in 2011. His second novel, which revisits the first book's theme of South Asian immigrants seeking a new life in Yorkshire, has earned Sahota a place on the 2015 Man Booker Prize shortlist. It is structured in four parts according to the seasons, starting in the winter of 2003, and also has four main characters, all of whom have faced major challenges in moving to Sheffield. Tarlochan Kumar (known as Tochi), the new guy, moves in to the crummy shared house where friends Avtar Nijjar and Randeep Sanghera live. The fourth protagonist is Randeep's visa-wife, Narinder Kaur, a devout Sikh. Full review...

A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler

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Every family has its tales which are told and retold and in the Whitshank family it was the story of how Abby and Red had fallen in love one beautiful, breezy, yellow-and-green afternoon in July 1959. It would usually be told on the porch of the Baltimore house which Red's father had built, but on this final time of its telling the circumstances are different. Abby and Red are aging - even the glorious house is beginning to show its age - and decisions have to be made about how to look after them. All the family are there, even Denny, who can generally be relied on to do only what pleases him. Full review...

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

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Willem, JB, Malcolm and Jude don't have a lot in common apart from their friendship. They gravitated together at college and remain close as they become successful in careers as different as the theatre and architecture. However even hopes for successful future can't erase the blight of the past for one of them. Jude is physically disabled from a cause that isn't genetic or congenital. In fact the cause isn't even something he's shared with the other three. The events around it stem back to his childhood and haunt each thought and action he takes as well as his ability to take them. Full review...

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