The Man Booker Prize 2018 is one of the highest literary achievements of the year. It is hosted in the United Kingdom and is a literary prize awarded each year for the best original novel written in English and published by a UK publisher. Whoever wins the prize gets an almost guaranteed international recognition and the competition for it has always been very high.
Recent winners of the prize include last year’s laureate George Saunders, as well as renowned authors such as Paul Beatty, Marlon James, Richard Flanagan and Eleanor Catton.
What follows is a short preview of the potential winners of this year’s edition of the Man Booker Prize and the betting possibilities and odds which come with backing these six main favourites for the award.
The Overstory – Are Trees and Humans a Winning Combination?
Richard Powers has tackled the issue of environmental sustainability and man’s impact on nature before. However, this time he finds in himself strength to present the problem with new intensity in a novel which deals with the history of a family and the trees they planted.
The book centres on two strong female characters, one of which is Patricia Westerford, a botanist who finds out that trees can communicate between each other and Olivia Vandergriff, a college student, who after almost killing herself on a pot high, starts to hear voices and fights the destruction of California’s redwoods.
As the ‘fashion’ trends in Patricia Westerford’s scientific community change, her discovery makes her famous and her claim that even after billions of years of evolution the human genome and that of a tree still share a quarter of their genes is widely lauded.
Many experts predict that The Overstory is one of the strongest contenders for this year’s Man Booker Prize and if you feel the same, you can get odds of 5/2 at EnergyBet, Ladbrokes, LV BET, and odds of 11/4 at William Hill.
Or Do a Reunited Mother and Daughter Have Better Chances?
Daisy Johnson has made a name for herself by using a magic realist style and her first novel has definitely brought a much more polished version of her writing to her reading audience. In Everything Under, Johnson delves into the complex relationship of a dementia plagued mother and her daughter, the narrator of the story, Gretel.
Gretel works as a lexicographer which was abandoned by her mother and spent most of her teenage years in foster care. Now after 16 years, mother and daughter are reunited and Gretel tries to make her mother tell her life story.
Everything Under is a tale which feels obliged to convince the reader that mother-daughter relationships are much more perplexing and complicated than they initially seem and that there is a brooding sense that womanhood is a trap from which there is no escaping.
Johnson’s first novel is favoured by many bookmakers and they feel that this melodrama has the potential to be the winner. EnergyBet and LV BET assign odds of 7/2 for the novel, while William Hill goes with odds of 10/3 and Ladbrokes opt for 5/1.
Can The Long Take’s Lyricism Be the Deciding Factor?
Robert Robertson is widely regarded as one of the best lyric poets of our generation. His epic The Long Take follows Walker, a wounded D-Day soldier that survived his deployment on the Western shores of Europe in 1944 and returned home to find himself alienated from a world obsessed with money and wielding of power, a world that doesn’t have the time nor the patience for those who were close to losing their life for said world’s ideals.
The novel is masterfully woven by Robertson who combines verse and prose to a marvellous effect, adding the feeling of a black and white post-war Hollywood, but with a large dose of melancholy, to disappointment and disenchantment.
The novel is influenced by film noir, is fast paced and even though it presents a black and white world it is as colourful as a novel can get.
Bookmakers feel that The Long Take is one of the strongest contenders to take home the winner’s prize and bookmakers such as LV BET and EnergyBet give the novel odds of 5, while Ladbrokes and William Hill go for odds of 5/1 and 7/2 respectively.
Rumour Has It That Milkman Can Be the Winner
Anna Burns uses her mastery to produce a potentially worthy winner of the Man Booker Prize with her third novel. Milkman is a story of rumours, gossip, keeping silent, hearsay and intentional passivity that results in unimaginable, but completely logical consequences.
The story of Milkman takes place in a city which is not named and where the most dangerous thing that you can do is to suddenly become interesting. The main protagonist manages to do just that when she unintentionally becomes interesting and her relationship with Milkman starts to be the focus of gossip and rumours. Now that she is noticed by everyone it suddenly becomes dangerous to be in her skin.
The people in the betting industry rank Milkman as the third or fourth favourite to win the much vaunted prize and bookmakers such as EnergyBet and LV BET give it odds of 4, while Ladbrokes go for 6/1 and William Hill decide on giving Burns’ masterpiece odds of 11/2.
Can Washington Black Dazzle the Judges?
Esi Edugyan’s Washington Black has been received excellently by both critics and reader’s and it seem like the Canada based author can add the Man Booker Prize to his long list of literary acknowledgements and awards.
Washington Black is a story of an 11 year old slave which finds himself in a delicate situation to save his life after his owner, the eccentric Christopher ‘Titch’ Wilde has his dreams shattered and then mysteriously disappears when the two of them decide to leave the island together.
This leaves Washington alone to face the elements and the world around him in full force while trying to obtain his freedom. He is forced to make adjustments that he never thought he would have to do and as a result the reader is constantly kept on the edge of his seat.
Washington Black is another novel which is heavily favoured to be the winner of the Man Booker Prize 2018 and bookmakers give it odds which reflect this situation. EnergyBet givs it odds of 5, LV BET goes for the same odds, while Ladbrokes and William Hill opt for 3/1 and 9/2 respectively.
Can The Mars Room Spring a Surprise?
Rachel Kushner’s The Mars Room is the last strong candidate to take home the Man Booker Prize this year, but the novel about gender, class and corruption is considered as the least likely candidate out of the six shortlisted favourites.
The novel is about Romy Hall, sentenced to two consecutive life sentences and six years on top of that. Her reality is no longer the outside world where she worked as a stripper, but is the dark Stanville Women’s Correctional Facility where corruption, violence and liquor allegiances reign supreme.
Romy’s future seems destined to be dominated by doom and gloom, violence from inmates and guards, and desperate institutional survival, when suddenly she hears news from the outside world which gives meaning to her existence and a goal to fulfil.
Ladbrokes and William Hill give Kushner’s piece odds of 7/1, while EnergyBet and LV BET decide to price it at 13/2.