British Indian author Neel Mukherjee has been named in this year’s long-list for the prestigious Man Booker Prize for his acclaimed novel ‘The Lives of Others’.
The Oxford and Cambridge-educated author is among a list of 13 authors – including one former winner and two previously shortlisted authors – nominated for the best original novel written in the English language.
The Booker Prize is no longer restricted to authors from the Commonwealth, the Republic of Ireland or Zimbabwe but open to writers from across the globe writing in English.
‘The Lives of Others’ is London-based Mukherjee’s third novel, after ‘Past Continuous’ (2008) and ‘A Life Apart’ (2010).
The story is set in Mukherjee’s birthplace of Calcutta of the late 1960’s. A young man, Supratik, has become involved in extremist politics unbeknownst to his family, the Ghoshes. Supratik’s new-found political activism however, is merely one of a plethora of problems shifting the foundations upon which rest the sprawling Ghosh family.
The Ghoshe’s turmoil mirror the intense political and industrial unrest that gripped Bengal in the 1960’s and 1970’s and which transformed the entire sub-continent.
The book received widespread acclaim when it was published in May.
Author Amitav Ghosh described ‘The Lives of Others’ as “searing, savage and deeply moving: an unforgettably vivid picture of a time of turmoil”.
The Sunday Times called it “Rich and Engrossing” whilst Anita Sethi, writing in the Observer, said it an “ambitious” novel that “excellently exposes the gulf between rich and poor, young and old, tradition and modernity” that continue to divide India whilst also showing how empathy can “bridge those divides”.
Mukherjee is joined on the Booker longlist by Howard Jacobson (‘J’), Paul Kingsnorth (‘The Wake’), David Mitchell (‘The Bone Clocks’), David Nicholls (‘Us’), Ali Smith (‘How to be Both’), Joseph O’Neill (‘The Dog’), Richard Powers (‘Orfeo’), Richard Flanagan (‘The Narrow Road to the Deep North’), Karen Joy Fowler (‘We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves’), Joshua Ferris (‘To Rise Again at a Decent Hour’), Niall Williams (‘History of the Rain’) and Siri Hustvedt (‘The Blazing World’).
The 2014 shortlist will be announced 9 September while the £50,000 prize will be awarded the winner on 14 October.