Maggie shipstead

Another haphazard Booker shortlist lacks literary competence

The Booker used to be more enthusiastic about the historical novel than it now is. Maggie Shipstead’s Great Circle (Doubleday, £16.99) is about an imagined woman pilot who makes her way in the first years of aviation and is thought to have died in a daring feat of navigation from Pole to Pole in 1950. It’s an enjoy-able example of a genre that was popular in the 1990s: the historical novel interspersed with a present-day story — this one about a film star who has made a PR mess, loses her role in a series of teen movies and tries for redemption through a film about the aviator. The best