In a pretty big upset, Joseph O'Neill's Neverland gets bounced by a minor Louis DeBernieres novel, and Mark Sarvas's Harry Revised outhits a Booker winner.
Says the judges,
"So Partisan’s Daughter is going to the next round. Its characters are believable as real people: When Chris thinks he’s caught Roza in a falsehood, when he’s confused about something she’s said, or when she can’t decide how to answer a question he’s posed, they tell the reader of their suspicions. The simpler plot and characters let the lovely writing and story shine through. And that makes all the difference."
and as for the next round,
"Both of these novels are pleasurable reads, but I found myself (much to my surprise) more interested in Harry Rent’s sandwich habits—he doesn’t like the Monte Cristo, even though he orders it every time—than in the perpetual “Darkness” of the Indian street described by Balram. The reason is that Harry’s inner monologue feels sincere, the endearingly authentic output of a confused mind, whereas Balram’s letters are so (over)loaded with cutting social observations that he eventually turns himself into a symbol."
Posted by David