Taking a few of the key prizes in consideration, this was indeed a year of surprises.
This is a good book, not shy of taking on the difficult themes that any Hebrew Bible/Old Testament-based story will inevitably involve.
A Brief History of Seven Killings is an ambitious, clever, stimulating book. Was it the best book from this year’s shortlist?
The book feels a bit like it might have come out of a 1990s cultural studies department – everything is valid, nothing is meaningless or just plainly what it appears to be.
Only one of these six writers seems to have any optimism at all about the human condition.
That said, as a book about the tragedy of lost promise (both of individuals and nations), this dark tale has a lot to say, and says it with a facility that grips tight and holds on to the final chapter.
The Chimes is a skilful, gripping, and very enjoyable book, and deserves to be read widely.
There’s no doubt about it – this is a quality novel.
Perhaps this is a chocolate-chip cookie version of American life, but if so, it’s a rough, home-made, gritty, grainy cookie.
Overall, this is a more diverse and interesting list than the safe ground of 2014’s longlist.