Golden Man Booker Prize 2018 Winner:
The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje

The Golden Man Booker Winner: The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje

It’s our pleasure to confirm Michael Ondaatje’s sensual tale of love, loss and nationality, The English Patient as the winner of the Golden Man Booker Prize. After five decades of literary delight (and occasional controversy) were boiled down to just five titles, Ondaatje’s masterwork won out, sealing the public vote and triumphing over some equally illustrious company.

 

‘Few novels really deserve the praise: transformative. This one does. It moves seamlessly between the epic and the intimate… It’s intricately and rewardingly structured, beautifully written, with great humanity written into every page.’

Kamila Shamsie, Golden Man Booker Judge

 

Set in an Italian villa in the dying hours of the Second World War, The English Patient is a tapestry of memory, grief and passionate desire; a novel that takes ideas of identity, war, race and gender and makes them personal. It’s a book that unveils new meaning with re-reading and stands as an undisputed classic of twentieth-century literature.

 


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Only the second book in the award’s history to share the winning spot, The English Patient was awarded the Booker Prize in 1992 alongside Barry Unsworth’s Sacred Hunger. Set against the backdrop of the dying hours of the Second World War in an abandoned Italian villa, it’s a story of one man’s fragmentary past framed against the present lives of those swept up and left damaged by war. Told in exquisite prose, The English Patient is a story both of illicit passion and coming to terms with one’s history. ‘This is the best piece of fiction in English I've read in several years’, commented the Independent, ‘throbbing with emotion and humanity.’

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The Shortlist

1970s

1980s

1990s

2000s

2010s

 


Representing the 1970s

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The winner of the 1971 Booker Prize, In a Free State is a masterpiece of Post-Colonial fiction. Dennis Potter in the Times described V. S. Naipaul's novel as 'a book of such lucid complexity and such genuine insight, so deft and deep, that it somehow manages to agitate, charm, amuse and excuse the reader all at the same pitch of experience.' A composite of stories, it was originally published as a main novella – telling the story of a couple’s disintegrating marriage set against an odyssey across the brutal backdrop of an imagined African country - framed against two complementary stories of expatriation and displacement. What emerges from the whole is a powerful, overarching picture of fractured identity and uncertain homecoming that spans generations and continents.

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Winners from the 1970s

Offshore
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The Sea, The Sea
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Staying On
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£9.99
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Saville
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£9.99
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Heat And Dust
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Holiday
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£8.99
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The Conservationist
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The Siege Of Krishnapur
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G.
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G.
£10.99
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In a Free State
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The Elected Member
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Something to Answer For
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Representing the 1980s

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Penelope Lively’s seventh novel, Moon Tiger, surprised bookmakers by beating weighty competition from names including Iris Murdoch, Chinua Achebe and Peter Ackroyd to win the Booker Prize in 1987. The novel centres on the life of historian Claudia and, in particular, a brief, life-changing love affair conducted as the coil of Moon Tiger mosquito repellent turns slowly to ash. A wise and moving novel, laced with painful awareness of the all-too-swift passing of time, Moon Tiger is a masterpiece of loss and desire. ‘It's a fine, intelligent piece of work’, praises novelist Anne Tyler, ‘the kind that leaves its traces in the air long after you've put it away'.

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Winners from the 1980s

The Remains of the Day
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Oscar and Lucinda
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Moon Tiger
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The Old Devils
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The Bone People
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Hotel du Lac
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Life And Times Of Michael K
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Schindler's Ark
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Midnight's Children
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Rites of Passage
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Representing the 1990s

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Only the second book in the award’s history to share the winning spot, The English Patient was awarded the Booker Prize in 1992 alongside Barry Unsworth’s Sacred Hunger. Set against the backdrop of the dying hours of the Second World War in an abandoned Italian villa, it’s a story of one man’s fragmentary past framed against the present lives of those swept up and left damaged by war. Told in exquisite prose, The English Patient is a story both of illicit passion and coming to terms with one’s history. ‘This is the best piece of fiction in English I've read in several years’, commented the Independent, ‘throbbing with emotion and humanity.’

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Winners from the 1990s

Disgrace
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Amsterdam
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£8.99
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The God of Small Things
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Last Orders
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£8.99
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The Ghost Road
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£8.99
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How Late It Was How Late
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Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha
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Sacred Hunger
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£10.99
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The English Patient
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The Famished Road
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£9.99
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Possession
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£9.99
Paperback

Representing the 2000s

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The bookies favourite from the moment of the Man Booker Prize 2009 longlist announcement, Wolf Hall’s reputation as a masterpiece has only solidified since – cemented by the sequence’s second novel Bring up The Bodies, also winning the prize in 2012. Following the meteoric rise of Thomas Cromwell through the devious machinations of the court of Henry VIII, it’s impossible to imagine a more gripping, moving, thoroughly immersive and wholly believable historical novel. A perfect study of political intrigue, vaulting ambition and real human lives swept up in the relentless turn of the wheel of power.

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Winners from the 2000s

Wolf Hall
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The White Tiger
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The Gathering
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The Inheritance of Loss
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The Sea
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£8.99
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The Line of Beauty
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Vernon God Little
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£8.99
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Life Of Pi
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True History of the Kelly Gang
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The Blind Assassin
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Representing the 2010s

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For at least a month in 2017, probably every one of our staffrooms in the country had a bookseller transfixed by George Saunders’ extraordinary odyssey into the underworld, Lincoln in the Bardo. Abraham Lincoln’s child Willie is dead, sending the President into a spiral of grief. Over the course of a night, Saunders presents a virtuoso battle of the souls as Willie finds himself trapped in a state of limbo between the dead and the living. ‘The novel beats with a present-day urgency,’ noted Vanity Fair‘a nation at war with itself, the unbearable grief of a father who has lost a child, and a howling congregation of ghosts, as divided in death as in life, unwilling to move on’.

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Winners from the 2010s

Lincoln in the Bardo
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A Brief History of Seven Killings
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The Narrow Road to the Deep North
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The Luminaries
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£9.99
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Bring up the Bodies
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The Sense of an Ending
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The Finkler Question
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