The newly announced Man Booker longlist has had an enthusiastic reception from booksellers, who say the contest for the prize looks wide open this year.
Waterstones fiction buyer Chris White said of the longlist: "I love it! The standard of fiction publishing has been so high this year that it was always going to be fascinating to see what made the final 13. What's emerged is something even more exciting than I'd imagined. A list which feels fresh and full of gems waiting to be discovered."
White added: "I couldn't argue with the inclusion of any of the books I've read and that makes me all the more eager to read the others. I can't wait to see what appears on the shortlist. There's a special place in my heart for My Name is Lucy Barton [Elizabeth Strout's novel about a mother/daughter relationship, published by Viking] but the field seems more open than ever and I wouldn't be surprised to see any of these novels make the final cut."
London Review Bookshop manager Natalia de la Ossa also picked out the inclusion of My Name is Lucy Barton for praise, as well as that of Deborah Levy's Hot Milk (Hamish Hamilton) and Ottessa Moshfegh's Eileen (Jonathan Cape). De la Ossa called it a "surprising and exciting" longlist. "We were also pleased to see six women writers on the list. But where is The Essex Serpent?" she added.
At Foyles, web editor Frances Gertler commented: "This year feels more wide open than usual, with perhaps fewer really big names, and the usual omissions to be grieved over, notably Chris Cleave [Everyone Brave is Forgiven] and Eimear McBride [The Lesser Bohemians]. It’s good to see smaller publishers like Salt and Contraband represented [with Wyl Menmuir's The Many and Graeme Macrae Burnet's His Bloody Project respectively], but any uplift in sales would be more likely if either book progresses to the shortlist. Ian Maguire's The North Water was one of our featured debuts in February, so we’re pleased to see that make the cut."
Gertler added: "A L Kennedy [Serious Sweet] is usually published to critical acclaim but there’s definitely room for growth in her sales. She’s been a judge for the prize, but it would be nice to now see her progress as a contender."