The Man Booker Prize long list 2018 was published a couple days ago and there were a couple I’d read and 2 of the 13 listed (Warlight by Michael Ondaatje and The Overstory by Richard Powers -links to my reviews). It looks like a good list with a variety of authors from a bunch of countries and includes a graphic novel for the first time – Sabrina by Nick Drnaso.
But Snap is a thriller – it’s a definitely a thriller. There seem to have been one or two on each Booker Long List for several years now, but this one is more intense. I first remember Snowdrops (by A.J. Miller) specifically.
by Belinda Bauer
2018 / 352 pages
read by Andrew Wincott – 9h 50m
rating: rating: 8/ A+++ – literary(ish) crime
The story concerns a woman who gets stranded with her three young children on a country road. She can’t manage to get to a phone booth (1998) with the children, so she leaves the kids at the car – and never returns. Later, they live alone with their bereaved father who is obsessed with finding the culprit, and no mother. Jack is angry but does his best to take care of his sisters, Joy and Mary, and after dad disappears he homeschools them and keeps them from the authorities. “Jack is in charge.” The plot line then develops in a surprising way – plenty of unforeseen twists.
But the Booker Prize? – There is scant evidence of what used to be known as “themes” in the way Booker Prize nominations usually have themes. There’s no exploration of philosophical or psychological ideas, no particular insights in terms of- love, family, memory, loss, identity, aging, etc.
So … does Snap stand out in some way from the usual run-of-the-mill thriller? Yes, specifically, the plot is very clever and the characters are unique and well drawn with as much fleshing out as appropriate, especially the young Jack Bright. The writing is nice and it flows, but it never overwhelms the ongoing increase in tension although there is the occasional humorous line. The suspense is excellent. This novel does not pretend to be anything it’s not.
The dreams Jack has once in awhile through the book are an interesting device. I had no dreams as I read this book – it kept me up until I finished. (YAY!)