There were no real wild cards in this longlist – unlike last year, when Me Cheeta, a spoof biography of Tarzan's chimpanzee, was listed. Perhaps the most controversial novel is Emma Donoghue's Room, inspired by the case of Josef Fritzl who kept his daughter prisoner for 24 years. The novel, which was one of 14 called in by judges – rather than being submitted by the publisher – was installed as second favourite for the prize by Ladbrokes.
Three other previously shortlisted novelists made it on to the longlist. Rose Tremain for Trespass; Damon Galgut for In a Strange Room and a novel that will be many people's favourite for the prize: David Mitchell's The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet. Mitchell's fifth novel is set in 1799 on the peculiar artificial island of Dejima created for Dutch traders making contact with a closed Japan.
The list was completed by Helen Dunmore for Betrayal; Howard Jacobson for The Finkler Question; Andrea Levy for The Long Song; Tom McCarthy for C; Lisa Moore for February; Paul Murray for Skippy Dies (the main character looks like the TV kangaroo); Alan Warner for The Star in the Bright Sky; and a book which has featured on many summer reading lists – The Slap by Greek-Australian writer Christos Tsiolkas which tells of the consequences of a child being hit at a suburban barbecue.
- Mark Brown, Guardian.co.uk