What’s On has details of the Man Booker prize longlist which features The Dog by Joseph O’Neill set in Dubai. Find out what the book about Dubai is about. 

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A book telling ‘a tale of alienation and heartbreak in Dubai’ has been longlisted for the prestigious Man Booker prize.

Joseph O’Neill’s ‘The Dog’, which has not yet hit the shelves, features alongside British heavyweights Howard Jacobson, David Mitchell, Ali Smith and nine others in what is the first time the coveted award has been open to a global audience.

Previously awarded to writers from the Commonwealth and Ireland, the move after 40 years was met with trepidation by literary fans, who feared a new era of dominance by American writers. However, just four (Joshua Ferris, Siri Hustvedt, Karen Joy Fowler and Richard Powers) of the long list are from the United States, with a fifth, O’Neill, having gained citizenship. The 50-year-old was born in Ireland but spent parts of his childhood and early life living in Turkey, Mozambique, Iran and Holland. For the post two decades he has resided in New York.

His latest book, a fourth following This Is The Life (1991), The Breezes (1996) and the critically-acclaimed Netherland (2008), trails a distraught man escaping the Big Apple following the break-up of his relationship and taking up the position of ‘family officer’ for a wealthy local family.

An brief online review by goodreads.com describes it as ‘a comic and philosophically profound exploration of what has become of humankind’s moral progress, told with Joseph O’Neill’s hallmark eloquence, empathy, and storytelling mastery. It is a brilliantly original, achingly funny fable for our globalized times.’

A release date has been slated for September.

Reflecting on the list, chair of chair of judges, the philosopher AC Grayling, said: “They are very ambitious books and some of them tackle big issues of the day. There’s a lot of perceptiveness and wisdom in these books, some of them are quite moving and all of them are very difficult to put down once you get into them – a feature of just how richly textured they are and what great stories they tell.”

Jacobson, who won in 2010 for The Finkler Question, is the only former winner.

The list will be cut to six in September, with the £50,000 winner named at a formal black-tie dinner.

The Man Booker Prize long-list 2014

Joshua Ferris (US) – To Rise Again at a Decent Hour
Richard Flanagan (Australia) – The Narrow Road to the Deep North
Karen Joy Fowler (US) – We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves
Siri Hustvedt (US) – The Blazing World
Howard Jacobson (Britain) – J
Paul Kingsnorth (Britain) – The Wake
David Mitchell (Britain) – The Bone Clocks
Neel Mukherjee (Britain) – The Lives of Others
David Nicholls (Britain) – Us
Joseph O’Neill (Ireland) – The Dog
Richard Powers (US) – Orfeo
Ali Smith (Britain) – How to Be Both
Niall Williams (Ireland) – History of the Rain