The Golden Man Booker Prize

To celebrate 50 years of Man Booker Prize, this year, a special Golden Man Booker Prize has been selected by a shortlist of five titles not only judged by a panel of judges but voted for by the public. The English patient by Michael Ondaatje is the winner.

According to the judges, Set in 1945, The English Patient explores the lives of four very disparate war torn people, a young woman and three men, who take refuge in a damaged villa north of Florence as the war retreats around them. In an upstairs room lies the badly burned English patient, alive but unable to move. His extraordinary adventures and turbulent love affair in the North African desert before the war provide the focus around which the vivid tales of his companions revolve. His very presence will forever change the destiny of those around him.

There is also a Oscar-winning film adaptation of the novel. You can borrow both book and film from our library.

Other shortlist titles are:

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders – On 22 February 1862, two days after his death, Willie Lincoln is laid to rest in a marble crypt in a Georgetown cemetery. That very night, shattered by grief, his father Abraham arrives at the cemetery, alone, under cover of darkness.

Over the course of that evening, Abraham Lincoln paces the graveyard unsettled by the death of his beloved boy, and by the grim shadow of a war that feels as though it is without end. Meanwhile Willie is trapped in a state of limbo between the dead and the living – drawn to his father with whom he can no longer communicate, existing in a ghostly world populated by the recently passed and the long dead.

Unfolding in the graveyard over a single night, narrated by a dazzling chorus of voices, Lincoln in the Bardo is a thrilling exploration of death, grief and the deeper meaning and possibilities of life.

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders, the most recent winner of the Man Booker Prize, was selected by poet Hollie McNish for the 2010s.

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel – England in the 1520s is a heartbeat from disaster. If the king dies without a male heir, the country could be destroyed by civil war. Henry VIII wants to annul his marriage of twenty years, and marry Anne Boleyn.

The pope and most of Europe oppose him. The quest for the petulant king’s freedom destroys his advisor, the brilliant Cardinal Wolsey, and leaves a power vacuum and a deadlock.

From one of our finest living writers, Wolf Hall is that very rare thing: a truly great English novel, one that explores the intersection of individual psychology and wider politics. With a vast array of characters, and richly overflowing with incident, it peels back history to show us Tudor England as a half-made society, moulding itself with great passion and suffering and courage.

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel was chosen as the best winner from the noughties by broadcaster and novelist Simon Mayo. Mantel is the only woman to have won the Man Booker Prize twice and Wolf Hall has since been adapted for TV and stage.

Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively – Claudia Hampton, a beautiful, famous writer, lies dying in hospital. But, as the nurses tend to her with quiet condescension, she is plotting her greatest work: ‘a history of the world … and in the process, my own’. Gradually she re-creates the rich mosaic of her life and times, conjuring up those she has known. There is Gordon, her adored brother; Jasper, the charming, untrustworthy lover and father of Lisa, her cool, conventional daughter; and Tom, her one great love, both found and lost in wartime Egypt.

Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively was picked by poet Lemn Sissay MBE to represent the best winner of 1980s. Sissay said: ‘Lively’s ability to bring her character and the world she inhabits into full technicolour is beautiful. This is a unique book about a fascinating unpredictable woman way ahead of her time and yet absolutely of her time’. Lively who was twice shortlisted for the Booker Prize before her win with Moon Tiger.

In a Free State by V.S. Naipaul – In the beginning it is just a car trip through Africa. Two English people – Bobby, a civil servant with a guilty appetite for African boys, and Linda, a supercilious ‘compound wife’ – are driving back to their enclave after a stay in the capital.

But in between lies the landscape of an unnamed country whose squalor and ethnic bloodletting suggest Idi Amin’s Uganda. And the farther Naipaul’s protagonists travel into it, the more they find themselves crossing the line that separates privileged outsiders from horrified victims.

In a Free State by V.S. Naipaul represents the first decade of the prize, and was chosen by writer and editor Robert McCrum, who described it as ‘outstandingly the best novel to win the Booker Prize in the 1970s, a disturbing book about displaced people at the dangerous edge of a disrupted world that could have been written yesterday, a classic for all seasons.’ Naipaul, who also received the Nobel Prize for Literature, is the oldest living winner of the Booker Prize.

(Synopose are from https://themanbookerprize.com/goldenmanbooker/2018 )

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