Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The Booker 2006

The Booker

So, Kiran Desai won the Booker. She is the daughter, the Times reports, of Anita Desai, who has herself been shortlisted for the prize on three occasions.

The Times also tells us that Kiran is currently a student on the Columbia University creative-writing course. That course is not without its critics, as we noted here in April.

If you want to read a digest version of the winning novel, plus all the other shortlisted books, you can find one in yesterday's Guardian (link from But don't make the mistake of thinking that you're reading the real thing -- it's all a bit on the ho ho ho side. That said, the Night Watch precis gives quite a good flavour of the book, and it's a lot quicker to read. It's also just about as rewarding.

Nic Bottomley, elsewhere in the Guardian, says that a Booker prize is a badge of readability. This would be the joke of the week but for the fact that he obviously means it. However, since dear old Nic recently opened yet another bookshop in Bath, he is clearly an eccentric. Not to mention an optimist.

As for me, I think I said all I want to say about the Booker in January 2005, in my post entitled 'The Booker Prize and absolute nonsense'.


jta said...

For a long time now, and increasingly of late, I've had a growing feeling that I understand nothing, that I have no idea how the world actually works. Living in the US no doubt has something to do with this, but I'd thought at least the British could be relied upon to be rational, to retain some of the comprehensibility of ordinary existence. Reading these digests, I find I was wrong.

I understand prussic acid is quick and virtually painless...

Andrew O'Hara said...

Yes, your 2005 post said it well. I do like the standard of "readability," though. No more than two syllables and large print?

Elizabeth Baines said...

Your 2005 post said it VERY well.

Clive Keeble said...

IMVHO it is interesting to compare the reams of Booker press blurb with that afforded to Linda Grant when her "The People on the Street, a Writer's View of Israel" won the prestigious Lettre Ulysses international book prize.

If anybody has not read the above book, I would recommend obtaining a copy.

JodyTresidder said...

I enjoyed enormously your 2005 Booker post and entirely disagree with its spirit.

I think if you feel strongly about the Booker one way or the other, there is nothing very much wrong with the rest of your life - if only for that moment of Booker contemplation!

"Pi" was indeed a Booker I purchased and read - first wrapping a wet towel around my head which someone once suggested in another context. I adored it, to my surprise because yes, the Booker is a lucky dip.

Much like life.

(Jeepers - word verification ended in "pi"!)

Maxine said...

Yes, indeed, and what are you going to say about the Nobel?

They'll never give it to JKR, even after book 7, will they?
And whether or not you love or hate Harry P, what that author has done for readers, new and old, and the publishing industry, is unprecendented in our lifetimes.

But snobbery rules.