One Inch Wonders: The 2011 Man Booker Shortlist

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September 6, 2011 by markstani

I love this year’s shortlist. It’s a million times better than last year’s lit-heavy dirge. It’s polarised opinions, but it’s got everyone talking. That has to be a good thing. For what it’s worth, I hope Snowdrops wins, pushed all the way by The Sisters Brothers.

Here are the opening paragraphs of the six remaining books in with a shout of the prize. Who’d win the One Inch Booker?

The Sense of an Ending, Julian Barnes (Jonathan Cape)
I remember, in no particular order:
– a shiny inner wrist;
– steam rising from a wet sink as a hot frying pan is laughingly tossed into it;
-gouts of sperm circling a plughole, before being sluiced down the full length of a tall house;

Jamrach’s Menagerie, Carol Birch (Canongate)
I was born twice. First in a wooden room that jutted out over the black water of the Thames, and then again eight years later in the Highway, when the tiger took me in his mouth and everything truly began.

The Sisters Brothers, Patrick DeWitt (Granta)
I was sitting inside the Commodore’s mansion, waiting for my brother Charlie to come out with news of the job. It was threatening to snow and I was cold and for want of something to do I studied Charlie’s new horse, Nimble.

Half Blood Blues, Esi Edugyan (Serpent’s Tail)
Chip told us not to go out. Said, don’t you boys tempt the devil. But it been one brawl of a night, I tell you, all of us still reeling from the rot – rot was cheap, see, the drink of French peasants, but it stayed like nails in you gut.

Pigeon English, Stephen Kelman (Bloomsbury)
You could see the blood. It was darker than you thought. It was all on the ground outside Chicken Joe’s. It just felt crazy.

Snowdrops, AD Miller (Atlantic)
I smelled it before I saw it. There was a crowd of people standing around on the pavement and in the road, most of them policemen, some talking on mobile phones, some smoking, some looking, some looking away.


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