With its lack of big names and its potential contenders that have yet to be published, this year's lineup has elicited wildly divergent predictions
In reality, the Booker map is still missing continental Europe, most of Asia, the Middle East, non-anglophone Africa, all of Latin America. If the prize is serious about going global, a second opening-up will be needed, to admit translated fiction. And if the first longlist under the new rules is any guide, it may have paradoxically become less international, not more, as a result of introducing them.
Last July, the 2013 longlist included five writers from the Commonwealth beyond the UK, including the eventual winner, New Zealand's Eleanor Catton. This time, the equivalent number is just one, Australia's Richard Flanagan, with the difference corresponding neatly to the number of Americans selected.