London: Indian American author Jhumpa Lahiri’s ‘The Lowland’ has emerged a frontrunner among 13 novels longlisted for the Man Booker Prize this year.
London-born Lahiri’s moving tale of family ties will vie for the prestigious literary prize worth 50,000 pounds alongside novels by several lesser-known authors.
Lahiri`s stories capture dislocation and ambivalence with a unique play of words.
‘The Lowland’, set in India and America, will be published in September and is one of the highly anticipated books of the fall. It is being pitched as an easy frontrunner in London`s literary circles.
Lahiri, born in 1967 in London and based in New York, is the daughter of Indian immigrants from West Bengal.
She won the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction with her debut short story collection ‘Interpreter of Maladies’ (1999), and her first novel ‘The Namesake’ (2003) was adapted into a popular film of the same name by director Mira Nair.
“There was no policy of giant-killing or sacred cow slaughter,” said Robert Macfarlane, the chair of judges, in reference to the lack of big names like Margaret Atwood or J M Coetzee in the list.
“The list ranges from the traditional to the experimental, from the first century AD to the present day, from 100 pages to 1,000 and from Shanghai to Hendon.”
Also not out until September is Eleanor Catton`s ‘The Luminaries’, a highly wrought astrological extravaganza about a woman on trial for murder during the 19th-century New Zealand gold rush.
The judges took nine months to sift through 151 works, the most in recent times by a Booker jury, before coming up with 13 titles for the 2013 longlist for the Man Booker Prize for Fiction.
Jonny Geller, joint chief executive of literary and talent agency Curtis Brown, said: “It is one of the few longlists in recent years where I want to read more than a handful.”
"Full of life, vibrancy and different worlds. The absence of some big names is not the point; the inclusion of new ones is what is exciting.”
There are just three first novels on this year’s list - Eve Harris’s ‘The Marrying of Chani Kaufman’, ‘We Need New Names’ by NoViolet Bulawayo and Donal Ryan’s ‘The Spinning Heart’.
The shortest work, at a little over 100 pages, is Colm Toibin’s ‘The Testament of Mary’, and questions have been raised over whether it should be in the running given its length.
‘The Kills’, a 900-page political thriller by Richard House, was originally published in four digital parts, with the first section being given away free on Twitter and Facebook.
It was published with additional film and audio content and is now available in a hardback edition as well.