Deccan Chronicle

PIO author Chetna on Booker Prize longlist


London, Aug. 1: Londonbase­d Indian-origin author Chetna Maroo’s debut novel Western Lane is among 13 books to make the cut for the 2023 Booker Prize longlist revealed on Tuesday.

Kenya-born Maroo’s novel, set within the context of the British Gujarati milieu, has been praised by the Booker judges for its use of the sport of squash as a metaphor for complex human emotions.

It revolves around the story of an 11-year-old girl named Gopi and her bonds with her family.

Skilfully deploying the sport of squash as both context and metaphor, Western Lane’ is a deeply evocative debut about a family grappling with grief, conveyed through crystallin­e language which reverberat­es like the sound ‘of a ball hit clean and hard with a close echo’,” said the Booker Prize judging panel, chaired by twice

Booker-shortliste­d Canadian novelist Esi Edugyan.

The 2023 Booker Prize winner will be announced on November 26 at an award ceremony in London. The winner receives GBP 50,000 and a trophy named Iris in honour of the 1978 Booker Prize-winning Irishbriti­sh author Iris Murdoch.

‘Western Lane’ is one of four debut novels that make up this year’s socalled Booker Dozen of 13 longlisted books, alongside If I Survive You by Jonathan Escoffery, Pearl by Sin Hughes and All the Little Bird-hearts by Viktoria Lloyd-barlow.

Sebastian Barry’s Old God’s Time, Paul Harding’s The Other Eden, Ayobami Adebayo’s A Spell of Good Things, Paul Lynch’s Prophet Song, Martin Macinnes’ In Ascension, Tan Twan Eng’s The House of Doors, Paul Murray’s The Bee Sting, Sarah Bernstein’s Study for Obedience, and Elaine Feeney’s How to Build a Boat make up the rest of the longlist.

The 13 books, with authors spanning Malaysia, Nigeria, Ireland, Canada, the US and the UK, explore universal and topical themes from deeply moving personal dramas to tragicomic family sagas, from the effects of climate change to the oppression of minorities, and from scientific breakthrou­ghs to competitiv­e sport.

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Chetna Maroo

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