Cover of The LuminariesEleanor Catton The luminaries has just won the Man Booker Prize. This is news, this is big news and is PHENOMENAL!

Congratulations Eleanor!

I am watching her make a beautiful and graceful acceptance speech.

Here is the 2013 shortlist for the Man Booker Prize

Cover of We need new names Cover of Harvest Cover of The lowland Cover of A Tale for the time being Cover of The testament of Mary

Cover of The LuminariesNot long now until the winner of the Man Booker Prize is announced. Kia ora Eleanor Catton and best of luck. From me and all of us at Christchurch City Libraries – librarians and library users alike. I wonder what the Man Booker equivalent of Break a leg is –  Bust that Man Booker?

The Luminaries is a bloody BRILLIANT piece of fiction.

The Man Booker Prize will be announced at London’s Guildhall on Tuesday 15 October 2013 – 7 to 11pm (BST).  So we will be at our desks or having breakfast here in NZ – the event starts at Wednesday, 16 October 2013 at 7am.

NZ Listener will be there:

  • Check out the 2013 shortlist on our page listing previous nominees and winners of the Man Booker Prize

Here is the 2013 shortlist for the Man Booker Prize – announced last night (Tuesday 10 September):

Cover of We need new names Cover of The Luminaries Cover of Harvest Cover of The lowland Cover of A Tale for the time being Cover of The testament of Mary

Kiwis are abuzz with the news that our gal Eleanor Catton has made it through to the shortlist. Here’s some of the action on Twitter. Firstly, from Eleanor:

And then the commentary:

The winner is announced on 15 October 2013.
Congrats Eleanor, we are rooting for you to knock the bstard off!
#letsgonemanbooker

CoverThe winner of the Man Booker Prize is going to be announced today (update: The sense of an ending by Julian Barnes is the winner). Usually I try to read one of the books so that I sound vaguely knowledgable and literary, but this year I have only just graduated to reading books again after a diet of the New Zealand Woman’s Weekly, so I just couldn’t face dredging my way through some sort of elongated word fest that leaves me feeling depressed and rather sour.

However, this year the Man Booker’s judges chaired by Dame Stella Rimington, thriller writer and former head of MI5 declared that “We want people to buy these books and read them, not buy them and admire them.”  This is almost tantamount to treason in the Man Booker realm,  and things began to get rather nasty when one reviewer declared, “Dame Stella? We’d have been better off with Dame Edna.”   (Read more in the Guardian)

We need to spare a thought for the judges though who had read all 100 plus books in the long list and then read the short list three times.  I think the Man  Booker could be introduced as an endurance sport!

All this talk of ‘readability’ bodes well for the likes of me, what have you enjoyed from the list, which ones have ‘readability’ and which ones, just as interestingly, have left you cold?

P.S.  How remiss of me.  When I was adding the list of titles to this blog I realised that I have read one!  Snowdrops by A.D Millar.  I picked it up because it looked short.  I really enjoyed it.

CoverThe Finkler Question by Howard Jacobson has just been announced the winner. Hooray! I even did a wee cheer to see a victory for comedy over tragedy (but also because I picked it in a competition as the winner, he he).

2010 shortlist

In my blog about two weeks ago: My Pub Quiz Fantasy  – The Man Booker Prize, I hoped that In a Strange Room by Damon Galgut would be this year’s Man Booker winner. Well, I’ve just finished reading it and I no longer care if it is the Booker winner or not. I just want other people to read it. I want to share it. It’s that good.

Three stories make up the book: The Follower, The Lover, and The Guardian. Galgut is the central character throughout. In each story he fails either to follow, to love or to guard. But put that way off to one side because he excels as The Storyteller in prose that is clean, compelling, almost hypnotic.

Arguments against this novel as a work of fiction seem spurious. All memory is fiction. Try comparing your memory of an event with someone else’s. Greg and I can barely agree as to the exact sequence of events on The Night Of  The Earthquake and that was only a month ago. I rest my case. Galgut gets round this by writing mainly in the third person “he” and then unexpectedly switching to the first person “I”. He explains this early on in the novel on page 5:

“He sits on the edge of a raised stone floor and stares out unseeingly into the hills around him and now he is thinking of things that happened in the past. Looking back at him through time, I remember him remembering, and I am more present in the scene than he was. But memory has its own distances, in part he is me entirely, in part he is a stranger I am watching.”

Needless to say book clubs  around the world can expect me to foist this latest Galgut on them. As a tribute to his writing I will finish off in Galgut style:

She knew she would put this latest book into her book club. She could see her lovely friends skirt it warily, see people pick it up and put it down. She could feel that they would rather have had another Jodi Picoult. But I don’t care, I want to share this with them. I want us to remember this book together.

Someone out there, read this book. Share your comments. I am lonely here in my one woman Damon Galgut Fanclub!

This will be one of the favourites

I am quite spectacularly useless at pub quizzes.  How can it be that I know nothing at all about Paris Hilton and her ilk, dangerously little about the All Blacks and am so abysmally bad at the recognition of pop stars. I’ve lost count of the number of times I have been reduced to banging my glass of Pinot Gris onto the table and demanding: “When will they ask me something that I know?”  To which the Pub Quiz Wunderkind (PQW) from Customer Welcome countered – “What do you know, exactly?”

Well PQW, I know about The Man Booker Prize – the literary event that everybody loves to hate. Writing careers are made or broken on its back and it is about to wreak its annual havoc on the 9th October. I love the Booker prize for the massive interest in contemporary fiction that it inspires, so I took a vow to read every single Booker prizewinning novel from the beginning of time. Here’s what I have to look forward to this year:

You can’t look at this list of loveliness and not be moved to ask: Which book would you choose as the winner? And this being the Booker prize, the follow on question: Which book will actually win?

Fast forward to my fantasy. It’s Pub Quiz night and some poor suckers have been saddled with me as a team mate. A double point question comes up: “What was the third novel written by Booker Prize nominee Damon Galgut?”

This is my fantasy, so only I will know the answer. It is the unforgettable The Beautiful Screaming of Pigs. The crowd will go wild. The PQW will come over all respectful, I’ll be shouted another glass of plonk and my team will win.

Is this too much to ask?

What are your picks for this year’s Man Booker?

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