Six finalists for the 2023 Booker Prize, including one Indian


The Booker Prize has announced the six novels on its 2023 shortlist. It features two Americans – Jonathan Escoffery and Paul Harding – and also happens to include three writers named Paul. None of the finalists had previously been shortlisted for the prize.

“This year’s novels offer a full range of lived experience,” novelist Esi Edugyan, chair of the judging panel, said at a news conference Thursday. “The books refuse easy categorization. No one voice, no one vision dominates.”

The annual award, among the most prestigious in the world, started as the British counterpart to France’s Prix Goncourt, with only authors from the Commonwealth eligible. As of 2014, it became open to any longform work of fiction written in English and published in Britain or, as of 2018, Ireland.

The longlist of 13 novels was released in August. The winner will be announced in late November.

Here are this year’s finalists:

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‘The Bee Sting,’ by Paul Murray

Murray’s new novel is a 650-page epic about the unraveling of a once-prosperous family. The Washington Post’s Ron Charles wrote: “Although Murray is a fantastically witty writer, his empathy with these characters is so deep that he can convey the comedy of their foibles without the condescending bitterness of satire. His command of their lives is so detailed that he can strip away every pretense and lie without spoiling a surprise.”

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‘This Other Eden,’ by Paul Harding

Also longlisted for the National Book Award, Harding’s novel, based on a true story, is about a mixed-race island community just off the coast of Maine in the early years of the 20th century. “Long, cascading sentences sometimes loop back on themselves to add salient details; others rush forward to encapsulate as much complexity as they can,” Wendy Smith wrote in her review for The Post.

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‘If I Survive You,’ by Jonathan Escoffery

Escoffery’s debut is also the only collection of short fiction that made the shortlist – linked stories about a Jamaican-American family living in Miami. He said in an interview with Bomb Magazine last year that “one thing the book does is trouble the idea of a unified identity that remains consistent throughout a lifetime. Identity fluctuates.”

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Chetna Maroo PHOTO: INSTAGRAM @chetnamaroo11

‘Western Lane,’ by Chetna Maroo

Maroo’s debut novel is about an 11-year-old, Gopi, who copes with the death of her mother by playing squash. Whenever Maroo lost her sense of her protagonist’s voice, she told an interviewer, she would return to the first page, which acted as “a tuning fork.”

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‘Prophet Song,’ by Paul Lynch

Lynch’s dystopia – written without paragraph breaks, and imagining an Ireland that has descended into illiberalism – has drawn comparisons to writers including Cormac McCarthy and Anna Burns.

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‘Study for Obedience,’ by Sarah Bernstein

Bernstein, who was born in Canada, was named to Granta’s list of Best Young British Novelists in 2023. In her new novel, her second, a woman moves to a remote country to run her brother’s house after his marriage dissolves. The inhabitants of the nearby town, though, treat the protagonist with suspicion, even hostility – especially as strange things start happening to the local animals and crops soon after she arrives.




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