The Snowbooks Alternative Booker Longlist • 8 August 2007 • The SnowBlog
The Snowbooks Alternative Booker Longlist
In a mashup of Vintage's Twins initiative, the concept of 'if you liked this you'll love that', and my inevitable clamour for attention when it's not directed at Snowbooks, here is an Alternative Booker Longlist drawn exclusively from Snowbooks titles. Darkmans by Nicola Barker. Matt Thorne says its themes are "the impact of the past on the present, and how the modern novel or town cannot afford to ignore history." Well, since the self-same Matt Thorne so kindly reviewed our forthcoming The Red Men, saying "This vision of the near-future would be terrifying if it weren't so hilarious. Matthew De Abaitua makes Michel Houellebecq seem like Enid Blyton", I reckon we can pair those two.
Self Help by Edward Docx is "an ambitious, careering novel peopled by damaged characters" (Guardian). Memphis Underground for you, then.
The Gift Of Rain by Tan Twan Eng. First time novelist; a book "set in Penang in 1939 it recounts life in Malaya during the war but from the Malaysian point of view." (dgr). Hmm. Ah, but what's this? "half Chinese-half English main protagonist who is devoted to Endo-san his Japanese Sensei who trains him in the art of aikido." Excellent - paired with Bob Breen's Fighting. Forget the fiction - learn to fight properly!
The Gathering - by Anne Enright "brilliantly delineates the wonder and horror of love," says AL Kennedy in the Guardian. Does it now. Well JD Landis' Longing- does the best, most intricate job I've ever read of telling of an all-consuming love between two people. Plus it has music.
The Reluctant Fundamentalist - by Mohsin Hamid is "a quietly told, cleverly constructed fable of infatuation and disenchantment with America," says James Lasdun in the Guardian. Bet it's not a patch on Noah Cicero's The Human War.
The Welsh Girl by Peter Ho Davies. Another debut novelist. Its perfect partner is Deep Hanging Out - by Richard Gwyn - a fellow Welshman.
Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones. Set on a South Pacific island, DJ Taylor in the Independent says that "rarely... can any novel have combined charm, horror and uplift in quite such superabundance." Hee! Paired with Monster Island!
Gifted by Nikita Lalwani. Debut author. Coming of age across two different cultures: Paradise Jazz by Kat Pomfret.
On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan. A relationship story. Hell, let's pair it with Lisa Crystal Carver's Drugs Are Nice, simply for the shocking juxtaposition.
What Was Lost by Catherine O'Flynn. First timer, and published by the lovely Tindal Street. I loved this book for its simplicity and heartbreaking sense of a lost life. We don't have anything like it so let's go with zombies again - Monster Nation, when the human race ate itself. Big sense of loss there.
Consolation by Michael Redhill. Something about lost photos. I don't know; sounds dull. Pass.
Animal's People by Indra Sinha. From the agent's blurb: "Bawdy, irreverent and smart, Animal's compelling vernacular, with its mangled, Yoda-like syntax, conjures up the colour, cruelty and camaraderie of life in the Indian city of Khaufpur." Sheesh. Let's pair it with Lint,- which uses language in places that messes with your mind.
And finally, Winnie & Wolf by A.N.Wilson "presents the story of the extraordinary relationship between Winifred Wagner and Adolf Hitler that took place during the years 1925-40, as seen through the eyes of the secretary at the Wagner house in Bayreuth. It reveals the remarkable capacity of human beings to deceive themselves." Okay, let's go with Going Postal - a look at workplace and high school massacres in the US, where parents deceive themselves into thinking it's all because of Marilyn Manson.
There you have it. A not at all tortured list of perfectly excellent alternatives to the boring old Booker.