Kiran Desai's The Inheritance of Loss
This had been on my to-read list for a while, and when it was put on the Booker longlist I was especially pleased at the timing, since it was in my stack of library books! It takes place during political uprisings in the Himalayas, focusing primarily on a young girl whose first love affair is interrupted by fighting, and on her cook's son, who is trying to make his way in America. Most of the characters are outsiders in some way or another, and there's a lot of rumination on that sort of theme. The first half was kind of slow, but things picked up toward the end (the more I think about it, the less I like the ending); still, I'm not sure this book is going to make it onto the shortlist. I mean, I wouldn't shortlist it. It's a good story and all, but I didn't think it was anything amazing. Of course, I've disagreed with the Booker judges on more than one occasion--I sometimes think they must have a majority of old white men who like to reflect on their lives, because those are the sorts of books that tend to be rewarded. David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas was totally robbed! (Not that I think Black Swan Green should win it this time.)
So far I am not totally impressed by either of the Booker nominees I've read--they were good novels, but nothing that blew me away.