Word on the street is that this is the strongest crop of British novels in decades, with a mix of literary greats, first-time novelists, and long-time midlist authors deserving of accolades.
In the Guardian, D J Taylor says
This year's longlist, in fact, is about the most predictable in the 37-year history of the prize. Almost without exception the famous names of contemporary British fiction - McEwan, Rushdie, Barnes, Ishiguro, Coetzee, the Smiths (Ali and Zadie) - have brought out new novels in 2005, and almost without exception those novels can be found contending for mid-October's £25,000 garland.
Wenlock will probably read a couple of the books on the list - John Banville's The Sea, and Harry Thompson's This Thing of Darkness. The former because I really liked Banville's previous books; the latter because Harry Thompson was in the year above me at Skool so it will be fun to find out what he has been up to (apart from being a highly successful TV producer of things like HIGNFY and They Think It's All Over) in the years since he founded The Grand Order of Lemmings (motto: "You will diiieeee!!!!").