Reading list

Vintage’s Man Booker Prize-winning dozen

The Man Booker Prize has a tradition of announcing 13 books on its 'Man Booker Dozen' longlist so in anticipation of the announcement of this year's winner we thought we'd share our proud heritage: 13 Vintage books that have all won the prize

Saville by David Storey

"Factory fodder. I don’t see what hope they have in their lives. I mean," he added, "what prospect do they have before them? A dance hall and a bottle of beer." He blew out a cloud of smoke. Something about the gesture reminded Colin of Dr Dorman. It was on this same bus, and at the same time on a Saturday evening, that he would ride back to the village after seeing Margaret. He gazed out of the window for a while. "I mean, it’s an animal existence when you come down to it. What do you think?"'

1976 winner

The Sea, The Sea by Iris Murdoch

'Then I felt too that I might take this opportunity to tie up a few loose ends, only of course loose ends can never be properly tied, one is always producing new ones. Time, like the sea, unties all knots. Judgements on people are never final, they emerge from summings up which at once suggest the need of a reconsideration. Human arrangements are nothing but loose ends and hazy reckoning, whatever art may otherwise pretend in order to console us.'

1978 winner

Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie

'Memory's truth, because memory has its own special kind. It selects, eliminates, alters, exaggerates, minimizes, glorifies, and vilifies also; but in the end it creates its own reality, its heterogeneous but usually coherent version of events; and no sane human being ever trusts someone else's version more than his own.'

1980 winner 
1993 Booker of Booker winner
2008 The Best of Booker winner

Life & Times of Michael K by J. M. Coetzee

'He thought of himself not as something heavy that left tracks behind it, but if anything, as a speck upon the surface of an earth too deeply asleep to notice the scratch of ant feet, the rasp of butterfly teeth, the tumbling of dust.'

1983 winner

Possession by A. S. Byatt

'They took to silence. They touched each other without comment and without progression. A hand on a hand, a clothed arm, resting on an arm. An ankle overlapping an ankle, as they sat on a beach, and not removed. One night they fell asleep, side by side... He slept curled against her back, a dark comma against her pale elegant phrase.'

1990 winner

The Famished Road by Ben Okri

'One human life is deeper than the ocean. Strange fishes and sea-monsters and mighty plants live in the rock-bed of our spirits. The whole of human history is an undiscovered continent deep in our souls. There are dolphins, plants that dream, magic birds inside us. The sky is inside us. The earth is in us.'

1991 winner

Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha by Roddy Doyle

'Fuck was the best word. The most dangerous word. You couldn't whisper it. Fuck was always too loud, too late to stop it, it burst in the air above you and fell slowly right over your head. There was total silence, nothing but Fuck floating down. For a few seconds you were dead, waiting for Henno to look up and see Fuck landing on top of you. They were thrilling seconds-when he didn't look up.'

1993 winner

How Late It Was, How Late by James Kelman

'Edging back into awareness, of where ye are: here, slumped in this corner, with these thoughts filling ye. And oh christ his back was sore; stiff, and the head pounding. He shivered and hunched up his shoulders, shut his eyes, rubbed into the corners with his fingertips; seeing all kinds of spots and lights. Where in the name of fuck...'

1994 winner

Amsterdam by Ian McEwan

'We know so little about each other. We lay mostly submerged, like ice floes with our visible social selves projecting only cool and white. Here was a rare sight below the waves, of a man's privacy and turmoil, of his dignity upended by the overpowering necessity of pure fantasy, pure thought, by the irreducible human element - Mind.'

1998 winner

Disgrace by J. M. Coetzee

'He continues to teach because it provides him with a livelihood; also because it teaches him humility, brings it home to him who he is in the world. The irony does not escape him: that the one who comes to teach learns the keenest of lessons, while those who come to learn learn nothing.'

1999 winner

The Gathering by Anne Enright

'There are so few people given us to love. I want to tell my daughters this, that each time you fall in love it is important, even at nineteen. Especially at nineteen. And if you can, at nineteen, count the people you love on one hand, you will not, at forty, have run out of fingers on the other. There are so few people given us to love and they all stick.'

2007 winner

The Sense of An Ending by Julian Barnes

'How often do we tell our own life story? How often do we adjust, embellish, make sly cuts? And the longer life goes on, the fewer are those around to challenge our account, to remind us that our life is not our life, merely the story we have told about our life. Told to others, but—mainly—to ourselves.'

2011 winner

The Narrow Road To The Deep North by Richard Flanagan

'A good book, he had concluded, leaves you wanting to reread the book. A great book compels you to reread your own soul. Such books were for him rare and, as he aged, rarer. Still he searched, one more Ithaca for which he was forever bound.'

2014 winner

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