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A breakdown of the nominees for the Man Booker Prize 2017


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The Man Booker Prize has been selecting the best UK-published novels for 48 years. 2017's six shortlisted novels were announced in September, with the winner being crowned on October 17th.

Below we have the lowdown on each of the six nominees.

4 3 2 1 by Paul Auster

Paul Auster is an American writer and director. His New York Trilogy was recently adapted into the stage play City of Glass, which showed at the Lyric Hammersmith in London earlier this year. His latest novel 4 3 2 1 is billed as a coming-of-age book.

The novel centres around Archibald Isaac Ferguson. It diverges into four different narratives, all parallel versions of Ferguson's life. The novel explores how identity can change based on the different paths life can lead us down, and has been described as 'a sophisticated and ambitious exercise in structure and plot' by The Independent.

History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund

History of Wolves is Fridlund's debut novel. She completed a Ph.D. at the University of Southern California in Literature and Creative Writing, where History of Wolves actually started out as a standalone story for a writing workshop.

The novel's protagonist is 14-year-old Madeline, who lives in an isolated commune in Minnesota with her parents. The novel is part character study, part bildungsroman, as Madeline navigates her burgeoning attraction to the new history teacher - who is later arrested for possession of child pornography - and the new family who moves into her neighborhood.

Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

Pakistani novelist Mohsin Hamid is the author of the bestselling The Reluctant Fundamentalist, which was also shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2007. It was also adapted into a film for the 2012 Venice Film Festival.

Exit West revolves around Nadia and Saeed, who embark on a love affair during a time of political unrest in their country and are forced to flee. It examines the refugee experience as the young couple is thrust into unfamiliar environments and situations, with hints of fantastical realism. The Guardian has described it as a ‘magical vision of the refugee crisis’.

Elmet by Fiona Mozley

Mozley has been described as the Man Booker Prize’s ‘wildcard’ this year. She penned her novel Elmet whilst working full-time, and then whilst completing an M.A. and a Ph.D.

Taking place in the English countryside, Elmet centres around Daniel, who lived with Daddy and Cathy in a house Daddy built. Daddy is prone to fits of rage and disappears for long periods of time, leaving the children to fend for themselves. When local men start to close in on the house, Daddy’s violence reaches boiling point. The novel is described as a ‘lyrical commentary on contemporary society’.

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

Saunders has won a number of literary awards, including the National Magazine Award for Fiction and the World Fantasy Award. He has also been a finalist in several other prestigious competitions like the National Book Award.

Lincoln in the Bardo concentrates on the death of Abraham Lincoln’s son, Willie, in 1862. The novel explores themes of grief, death, and good vs. evil, as Lincoln visits his son’s crypt and encounters a horde of spirits. It examines the possibility of life after death in a new light.

Autumn by Ali Smith

Ali Smith attended the University of Aberdeen before completing a Ph.D. at Cambridge. She has written plays for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and Cambridge Footlights, and her novels have won and been shortlisted for numerous awards, such as the Goldsmiths Prize.

Autumn is the first book in Smith’s novel quartet, Seasonal. These novels stand alone but intersect to examine the technicalities of time and narrative. Autumn follows Elisabeth and Daniel, who meet in 1993. It goes through ‘memory-scapes and dreamworlds’ to engage in a finely tuned character study.

To find out more, visit the Man Booker Prize website

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