Newcomers, familiar faces and books that haven’t yet debuted in America have all made the 2013 Man Booker Prize shortlist. Ruth Ozeki and Jhumpa Lahiri are both finalists for the $58,000 prize.
Ozeki’s novel “A Tale for the Time Being” was well reviewed when it came out in the U.S. in March. L.A. Times Book Critic David L. Ulin called it “an exquisite novel: funny, tragic, hard-edged and ethereal at once.” Pulitzer Prize-winner Lahiri’s novel “The Lowland” will make its American debut in December.
But it may be two men who are the front-runners. Irish writer Colm Tóibín, shortlisted for his novel “The Testament of Mary,” has been shortlisted for the award twice before. Jim Crace, whose new novel is “Harvest,” has made the shortlist once before.
Unless the judges are looking for something new: “We Need New Names” is the debut novel by Zimbabwean writer NoViolet Bulawayo, who has studied writing in the U.S. So did 27-year-old New Zealander Eleanor Catton, whose 848-page novel “The Luminaries” (it’s her second) will be published here in October.
To be eligible, a book must be published originally in English by a living author who is a citizen of the Commonwealth, the Republic of Ireland, or Zimbabwe. Ozeki is a Connecticut-born Japanese American Canadian; Lahiri, who grew up in the U.S., was born in London.