Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Final Thoughts on the 2023 Booker Prize


As of last week's reading of Prophet Song, I'm finally ready to give a final ranking of the 2023 Booker Prize nominees as I experienced them for myself over the past few months. Obviously, my final ranking reflects only my personal experience with the nominated books. I took one final look at the list of nominees, and ended up doing a bit of last-minute juggling that I hadn't expected to be doing at all. 

I read and reviewed eleven of the thirteen nominated novels, and decided to DNF two others at about the 100-page mark of each. The DNF books are to be found, as you would expect, at the bottom of the list:

  1. Prophet Song - Paul Lynch (Reviewed on 4-14-24)
  2. The Bee Sting - Paul Murray (Reviewed on 11-18-23)
  3. The House of Doors - Tan Twan Eng (Reviewed 12-26-23)
  4. If I Survive You - Jonathan Escoffery (Reviewed 11-24-23
  5. How to Build a Boat - Elaine Feeney (Reviewed 3-18-24)
  6. Western Lane - Chetna Maroo (Reviewed 11-10-23)
  7. All the Little Bird-Hearts - Viktoria Lloyd-Barlow ( 1-17-24)
  8. Pearl - Sîan Hughes (Reviewed on 12-1-23)
  9. Old God's Time - Sebastian Barry (Reviewed on 10-27-23)
  10. This Other Eden - Paul Harding (Reviewed on 12-8-23)
  11. Study for Obedience - Sarah Bernstein (Reviewed on 2-24-24)
  12. A Spell of Good Things
  13. The Ascension

Links refer to my thoughts on each of the completed novels immediately after finishing them. I did not review or comment on the two nominees that I did not finish reading. This is one reader's response to Booker Prize 2023; make of it what you will.


  1. Funny that the last book you read ended up being your favorite on the list. :D

    1. I never expected that to happen, but it was a nice surprise. Even gives me a little more confidence that committees can actually choose correctly sometimes.

  2. For a long time I thought House of Doors was going to be the winner on your list. But Lynch's book came out on top .... so it appears you think the judges picked the winner accurately ... even over the Bee Sting. I probably want to read House of Doors first ... whenever I get back to my home library. This was fun following your journey .... hope you do it next year.

  3. I really thought that House of Doors had it locked in, and never expected that Prophet Song would grab me like it did. Still can't believe that it was published so late in this country. I'm hoping to explore the Booker Nominees again next year because I really enjoyed comparing the books on this year's list for myself. I'm glad you found it all a little interesting.


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