Second-guessing the panel of the Man Booker Prize for fiction is no easy task, although it doesn’t take a great novelist or detective to discern why Madeliene Thien’s “Do Not Say We Have Nothing” is the favourite in the wake of the six-book shortlist’s announcement.
Thien’s nominated work depicts the story of a Canadian mother and daughter who invite a young Chinese woman into their home, recently fled from the communist state in the aftermath of the Tiananmen Square protests.
The woman named Ai-Ming then begins to tell the story of her family in Revolutionary China and her tales of human struggle and relationships through severe oppression make up the meat of the book.
Considering the last four recipients of the Man Booker Prize fell directly into the historical novel genre, it’s no surprise to see Do Not Say We Have Nothing emerge as the frontrunner to claim the 2016 award at 2/1.
Following on from Hilary Mantel’s second Man Booker success “Bring Up The Bodies” in 2012 – the sequel to 2009 winner “Wolf Hall” portraying Thomas Cromwell’s influence on King Henry VIII’s Tudor court –New Zealand-based-prospecting mystery “The Luminaires” set in the late 1800s and latterly World War Two-focused “The Long Road To The Deep North” complete the rundown.
Chronologically speaking, the Chinese Revolution is the next logical port of call!
Behind the early favourite, “Hot Milk”, at 3/1, could be one to watch with interest as author Deborah Levy has been shortlisted as recently as 2012 for her novel “Swimming Home”.
Levy’s style clearly strikes a chord with the most scrutinised over literary award going, so that’s not to be baulked at.
An outsider which could surprise is Paul Beatty’s “The Sell Out” given its relevance to the current racial tensions plaguing America and the satirical line it takes in dealing with them.
The Sell Out has already picked up the highly prestigious National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction this year.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.