Phew! The six final contenders for probably the most prestigious prize in the Brit lit calendar
C by Tom McCarthy
Tom McCarthy’s first product was published with a run of just 750 copies by an underground French imprint after the UK turned it down, it was later snapped up by independent British publisher after word of mouth began to grow, and McCarthy is now published by Random House. This third novel, C, opens early in the 20th century and follows the story of Serge Carrefax, whose father runs a school for deaf children while tinkering with wireless communication. After working as a radio operator during the First World War, Serge is later taken to a German prison camp, escapes, and eventually ends up in an Egyptian tomb.
Room by Emma Donoghue
Donoghue, an Irish writer who lives in Canada, tells the story of a five-year-old boy, Jack, who has been imprisoned along with his mother in a tiny room – 11 feet by 11 feet – for his whole life. Told in his voice as he learns of a world outside his small prison, the book has received some rave reviews by Audrey Niffenegger and Anita Shreve.
In a Strange Room by Damon Galgut
From the publisher Atlantic Books – which won the Booker with Aravind Adiga’s The White Tiger in 2008 – this is South African author Galgut’s story of a young man’s travels through Greece, India and Africa, telling of the people he meets as each trip ends in disaster. Galgut, who lives in Cape Town, has previously been shortlisted for the Booker for his novel The Good Doctor
The Finkler Question by Howard Jacobson
Jacobson’s novel tells of the friendship between a former radio producer, a Jewish philosopher and their former teacher, the evening they spend together reminiscing and the attack on one of them which follows. Jacobson was longlisted for the Booker for his novel Kalooki Nights.
Parrot and Oliver in America by Peter Carey
Two-time Booker winner Peter Carey is going for a hat trick for this story of the friendship between French aristocrat Olivier and his servant Parrot, who has always wanted to be a painter but ends up working for Olivier as “spy, protector, foe and foil” when he set out for the New World.
The Long Song by Andrea Levy
Previous Orange prize-winner Andrea Levy makes the cut for her story of the end of slavery, The Long Song, set in Jamaica “during the last turbulent years of slavery and the early years of freedom that followed”. It has already been longlisted for this year’s Orange.