Dept. of Literary Oddsmaking: The Man Booker Shortlist

The panel of judges in charge of determining what was truly awesome in literature this year and then awarding it the 2012 Man Booker Prize have announced the six novels that are making the shortlist. They are:

  • The Garden of Evening Mists, by Tan Twan Eng
  • Swimming Home, by Deborah Levy
  • Bring up the Bodies, by Hilary Mantel
  • The Lighthouse, by Alison Moore
  • Umbrella, by Will Self
  • Narcopolis, by Jeet Thayil

Last year’s winner was Julian Barnes’s The Sense of an Ending, a particularly well-sculpted piece of fiction that was nevertheless several times too anemic in presentation for its own good.

The current bookies’ favorite—since people will, it seems, bet on absolutely anything—to take home the prize is Hilary Mantel’s bloody exciting and really close to perfect Bring Up the Bodies. That might not be entirely fair, since Mantel already took home the prize in 2009 for Wolf Hall, the precursor to Bodies. But nobody ever said literature was anything but a blood sport; albeit one waged in genteel, passive-aggressive fashion.

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