So, who is going to be announced the winner this year? I know who my preference is and I know which contenders would come as a real surprise to me, but what is being forecast by the betting?
A mystery man who successfully backed last year's winner is confidently predicting this year will be won by the sole British author - Sanjeev Sahota. Our mystery man admits that he doesn't read the books as "fiction is not his thing". His methodology is to read online reviews of the books and compare them with the Wiki entries (and other social media no doubt) of the judges, matching the judges with the type of book he intuits they would like. For example, although last year's winner - Richard Flanagan's "The Narrow Road to the Deep North" - was the gritty war tale of building the Burma Railway, he felt this was balanced by the fact that the story also contained a strong love interest and so would keep the female judges happy! The mystery man has placed a string of bets with Ladbrookes, causing "The Year of the Runaways" to be second in odds only to my favoured choice: "A Little Life". Ladbrokes have indicated that they've taken his selection seriously as "he has form".
Hanya Yanagihara's book has been the favourite since the long list was released, but as commentators have noted, recent results have indicated such long-term favouritism can prove somewhat of a poisoned chalice. It would be my choice for winner and I really loved it. I'd be surprised if Anne Tyler won as her writing is low key and subtle, which Booker winners rarely are! I'd be almost as surprised if Tom McCarthy won, as his work is nothing but a stream of consciousness - interesting though I found it. I could see a case made for any of the remaining four books ending up top of the pile, but I hope we have our first US winner in Hanya Yanagihara, purely because its one hell of a book.