The Man Booker Prize 2013 longlist in full

Robert MacFarlane and his team of judges have revealed the 13 books longlisted for the 2013 Man Booker Prize - how many have you read?

Robert MacFarlane and his team of judges have announced the thirteen books which have been longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2013. Here is the list in full:

Tash Aw - Five Star Billionaire (Fourth Estate)

NoViolet Bulawayo - We Need New Names (Chatto & Windus)

Eleanor Catton - The Luminaries (Granta)

Jim Crace - Harvest (Picador)

Eve Harris - The Marrying of Chani Kaufman (Sandstone Press)

Richard House - The Kills (Picador)

Jhumpa Lahiri - The Lowland (Bloomsbury)

Alison MacLeod - Unexploded (Hamish Hamilton)

Colum McCann - TransAtlantic (Bloomsbury)

Charlotte Mendelson - Almost English (Mantle)

Ruth Ozeki - A Tale for the Time Being (Canongate)

Donal Ryan - The Spinning Heart (Doubleday Ireland)

Colm Tóibín - The Testament of Mary (Viking)

MacFarlane said the selection “range[s] from the traditional to the experimental, from the first century AD to the present day, from 100 pages to 1,000 and from Shanghai to Hendon”. 

Irish writer Colum McCann who has been longlisted for his novel "TransAtlantic". Photograph: KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images.

Philip Maughan is a freelance writer in Berlin and a former Assistant Editor at the New Statesman.

Getty
Show Hide image

Why do the words “soup, swoop, loop de loop” come to mind every time I lift a spoon to my lips?

It’s all thanks to Barry and Anita.

A while ago I was lending a friend the keys to our house. We keep spare keys in a ceramic pot I was given years ago by someone who made it while on an art-school pottery course. “That’s er . . . quite challenging,” the friend said of the pot.

“Is it?” I replied. “I’d stopped noticing how ugly it is.”

“Then it’s a grunty,” she said.

“A what?” I asked.

“A grunty. It’s something you have in your house that’s hideous and useless but you’ve stopped noticing it completely, so it’s effectively invisible.”

I was much taken with this idea and realised that as well as “grunties” there are also “gruntyisms”: things you say or do, though the reason why you say or do them has long since been forgotten. For example, every time we drink soup my wife and I say the same thing, uttered in a strange monotone: we say, “Soup, swoop, loop de loop.” How we came to say “soup, swoop, loop de loop” came about like this.

For a married couple, the years between your mid-thirties and your late forties might be seen as the decade of the bad dinner party. You’re no longer looking for a partner, so the hormonal urge to visit crowded bars has receded, but you are still full of energy so you don’t want to stay in at night, either. Instead, you go to dinner parties attended by other couples you don’t necessarily like that much.

One such couple were called Barry and Anita. Every time we ate at their house Barry would make soup, and when serving it he would invariably say, “There we are: soup, swoop, loop de loop.” After the dinner party, as soon as we were in the minicab going home, me and Linda would start drunkenly talking about what an arse Barry was, saying to each other, in a high-pitched, mocking imitation of his voice: “Please do have some more of this delicious soup, swoop, loop de loop.” Then we’d collapse against each other laughing, convincing the Algerian or Bengali taxi driver once again of the impenetrability and corruption of Western society.

Pretty soon whenever we had soup at home, Linda and I would say to each other, “Soup, swoop, loop de loop,” at first still ridiculing Barry, but eventually we forgot why we were saying it and it became part of the private language every couple develop, employed long after we’d gratefully ceased having soupy dinners with Barry and Anita.

In the early Nineties we had an exchange student staying with us for a year, a Maori girl from the Cook Islands in the southern Pacific. When she returned home she took the expression “soup, swoop, loop de loop” with her and spread it among her extended family, until finally the phrase appeared in an anthropological dissertation: “ ‘Soup swoop, loop de loop.’ Shamanistic Incantations in Rarotongan Food Preparation Rituals” – University of Topeka, 2001. 

This article first appeared in the 21 July 2016 issue of the New Statesman, The English Revolt