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Presenting the Booker Prize Shortlist 2021
 
Here are the six phenomenal titles shortlisted for this year’s Booker Prize, an enduring landmark in the publishing year. Discover what this year’s judges had to say about each of their painstakingly chosen selections, and thank you for supporting independent bookshops!
 
 
The shortlist

A Passage North,
Anuk Arudpragasam

“Arudpragasam turns his poetic sensibility and profound, meticulous attentiveness to the business of living in the aftermath of trauma. The story unfurls like smoke as our narrator sifts through memories. In hypnotic, incantatory style, Arudpragasam considers how we can find our way in the present while also reckoning with the past.”

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Great Circle,
Maggie Shipstead

“A book of tremendous narrative ambition and scale, Great Circle pulled us into its vividly-created worlds—from prohibition-era Montana to wartime Britain to present-day Hollywood—and made us want to dwell in them indefinitely.  Absorbing in the manner of the immersive realist novels of the 19th century, the book speaks to ever-present questions about freedom and constraint in womens’ lives.”

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The Promise,
Damon Galgut

“A testament to the flourishing of the novel in the 21st century. In The Promise, Damon Galgut makes a strong, unambiguous commentary on the history of South Africa and of humanity itself that can best be summed up in the question: does true justice exist in this world? The novel’s way of tackling this question is what makes it an accomplishment and truly deserving of its place on the shortlist.”

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No One is Talking About This, Patricia Lockwood

“This is a first novel from a writer already outstanding as a poet and memoirist, and her gifts in both roles are much in evidence in this extremely funny, poignant and challenging book. Patricia Lockwood manages to tell her story in the glancing, mayfly-attention-span idiom of contemporary social media. The drastic shift of gear in the middle of the story, the introduction of real suffering, love and loss, doesn’t break the seamless flow of wit.”

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The Fortune Men,
Nadifa Mohamed

“Grippingly-paced and full of complex, richly-drawn characters, the novel combines pointed social observation with a deeply empathetic sensibility. The Fortune Men demonstrates what historical fiction can achieve at its best—to get inside the head of the past—while implicitly yet urgently underscoring the present-day persistence of racism and injustice.”

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Bewilderment,
Richard Powers

“Theo is a widowed microbiologist raising a troubled nine-year-old son tagged with a ‘special needs’ label. Theo’s determination to protect Robin becoming a prisoner of bureaucracy, something of a high wire act of it’s own, is beautiful and truly inspiring. That, and his willingness to venture beyond the known world into the cosmos make this book a clarion call for us to wake up and realize what our minds might be truly capable of.”

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