I haven't read the other books on the Booker shortlist, but being a big fan of Colm Tóibín's books I have read his The Testament of Mary, and I would be happy to see it win the prize. It's a moving account of the crucifixion story through the eyes of the grieving mother and, as I read it (possible spoilers follow), it puts into her words an anti-redemptive outlook which has more in common with Primo Levi than with Christianity. Nothing redeems the commission of great evil; nothing the terrible cruelty of the crucifixion, or the suffering of Jesus or his mother's pain. At the same time, Tóibín imparts to his Mary a consciousness that the pain of another, while it can in some sort be shared, remains irreducibly theirs and not anyone else's, not even a mother's, so deepening the human predicament and its competing pressures of self-interest and compassion.
Mary, in this telling, is no stereotype but an individual sketched with matter-of-factness and imaginative skill - a woman resistant to the narratives of others, including Jesus's disciples. Her own unique suffering as his mother defies conventional efforts at consolatory myth-making. Alone, she affirms the rights of the human individual against every initiative, however positive, of co-optation.