There’s a lot of cyber-snorting going on at the inclusion in the Man Booker longlist of a graphic novel - Sabrina by Nick Drnaso. “What next, The Beano?” asked one commentator. By all accounts, though, Sabrina is a very serious story about a young woman who disappears in Chicago and has been described as “a chilling analysis of the nature of trust and truth and the erosion of both in the age of the internet – and, especially, in the age of Trump”. Zadie Smith called it “a masterpiece”.
I am thrilled at the nomination of a so-called crime novel, Snap by Belinda Bauer. I say “so-called” because Bauer’s superb books defy genre. They are psychological suspense novels that always explore other issues, like Alzheimer’s disease or autism. We can claim Bauer for our own, too, as she grew up in South Africa and still has strong links here. It’s likely one of the judges, the great crime writer Val McDermid, had a lot to do with its inclusion. The Scottish author has long been a fan of Bauer.
Altogether, it is a very fresh and varied - some say disruptive - list. The days of heavyweight novels being chosen seem to be long gone. There is no Julian Barnes, Peter Carey or Alan Hollinghurst in the lineup. Only Michael Ontdaatje has made the cut with his new offering Warlight. Just weeks ago, he won the Golden Man Booker with The English Patient.
For the full Man Booker 2018 longlist click here.