Man Booker Prize 2018 shortlist announced: Robin Robertson, Daisy Johnson, Richard Powers make the cut

Three United Kingdom authors, two Americans and a Canadian are finalists for the Man Booker Prize for fiction for 2018.

The shortlist announced on Thursday, 20 September, includes two first novels: UK poet Robin Robertson’s verse novel The Long Take and Everything Under by British writer Daisy Johnson. At 27, Johnson is the youngest-ever Booker finalist. The American finalists are Rachel Kushner’s prison story The Mars Room and Richard Powers’ tree-inspired tale The Overstory.

Washington Black, the saga of an escaped slave by Canada’s Esi Edugyan, and Troubles-set story Milkman by Northern Ireland writer Anna Burns round out the list.

Favourites, including Canada’s Michael Ondaatje, didn’t make the cut from the 13-novel longlist, nor did Nick Dranaso's graphic novel Sabrina.

Here is a brief look at the finalists, one of whom will be the winner of the 50,000 pounds ($66,000) prize, which will be announced on 16 October 2018 during a black-tie dinner at London’s Guildhall.

The Long Take, by Robin Robertson

 Man Booker Prize 2018 shortlist announced: Robin Robertson, Daisy Johnson, Richard Powers make the cut

The Long Take, a noir narrative, follows Walker — a D-Day veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder — through a sequence of poems as he moves through post-war American cities of New York, Los Angles and San Francisco. Unable to face a return to his family home in rural Nova Scotia, he goes in search of freedom, change, anonymity, and repair.

Everything Under, by Daisy Johnson

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Everything Under, a reimagination of classical myths and tales, follows Gretel, a lexicographer, who grew up on a houseboat with her mother, inventing a language of their own. Not having seen her mother since the age of 16, her memories are fading. But everything changes when a phone call from the hospital interrupts her isolation and throws up questions from long ago.

The Mars Room, by Rachel Kushner

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Romy Hall is at the start of two consecutive life sentences at a women’s correctional facility, deep in California’s Central Valley. Inside, she faces a new reality — thousands of women hustling for the bare essentials needed to survive; the bluffing and pageantry and casual acts of violence by guards and prisoners alike; and the deadpan absurdities of institutional living.

The Overstory, by Richard Powers

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An Air Force loadmaster in the Vietnam War is shot out of the sky, then saved by falling into a banyan. An artist inherits a hundred years of photographic portraits, all of the same doomed American chestnut. A hard-partying undergraduate in the late 1980s electrocutes herself, dies, and is sent back into life by creatures of air and light. These three, and six other; in his twelfth novel, Powers tells the stories of nine Americans whose unique life experiences with trees bring them together to address the destruction of forests.

Washington Black, by Esi Edugyan

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Working in the sticky heat of the Barbados sugar plantation where he was born, 11-year-old field slave Washington Black is terrified when he's made manservant to his master's offbeat brother. But naturalist/explorer Wilde, or "Titch," eagerly introduces Wash to a brave new world and protects him when a bounty is placed on his head, as they flee north along America's Atlantic coast to the chilly Arctic.

Milkman, by Anna Burns

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In this unnamed city, to be interesting is dangerous. Middle sister, the book's protagonist, is busy attempting to keep her mother from discovering her maybe-boyfriend and to keep everyone in the dark about her encounter with Milkman. But when first brother-in-law sniffs out her struggle, and rumours start to swell, middle sister becomes 'interesting'. The last thing she ever wanted to be.

With inputs from The Associated Press

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Updated Date: Sep 20, 2018 17:56:57 IST