16 October 2013
Eleanor Catton The luminaries has just won the Man Booker Prize. This is news, this is big news and is PHENOMENAL!
I am watching her make a beautiful and graceful acceptance speech.
Here is the 2013 shortlist for the Man Booker Prize
14 October 2013
Not 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
19 October 2011
The 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.
7 October 2009
Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall has taken out the big one!
Her book revolves around Thomas Cromwell ‘the blacksmith boy who became Henry VIII’s right-hand man':
Wolf Hall stands on its own, as a complete story – it is the end of one vital chapter in Thomas Cromwell’s life, and perhaps when we meet him again he will be slightly different. Five years are before him, his rise and rise – the destruction of Anne Boleyn, the battle for the soul of Henry’s daughter Mary, a revolt which is almost a civil war, the shaking and remaking of England…
I love her quote on the enduring fascination of the Tudors: ‘Almost all the stories you might want to tell are lurking behind the arras’.
So congratulations to Hilary, and if you’ve read Wolf Hall do chime in and tell us what you thought. I’m still patiently waiting to get my hands on a copy …
29 July 2009
And what do you reckon? Here’s the longlist.
As yet I haven’t read ANY of these, but am intrigued especially by How to paint a dead man by Sarah Hall. I interviewed her at the Auckland Writers and Readers Festival in 2008 and she talked about the percolating process of this novel:
… very loosely based around the life of Giorgio Morandi, Italian still life artist, “a very weird character who painted the same series of objects over and over again his whole life. A recluse, very well respected in the field of art but lot of rumours flew around about him and also speculation about the work. He painted bottles over and over again on the table and he never answered anyone’s artistic theories about them. There is a character loosely based on him and four narratives. Art/Death/Existential matters. It’s going to be a hard sell!”
Others on my to-read list are The Children’s Book by A. S. Byatt (blogged about Sue earlier this month) and Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel. It’s set in one of the most interesting times in English history – the reign of Henry VIII – and told largely through the eyes of Thomas Cromwell.
Another novel with a historical bent that I want to read is The Quickening Maze by Adam Foulds. The description read to me like a Peter Ackroyd-esque blend of historical figures and intense lyricism – a good thing:
Man Booker longlist press release
Heavyweights clash on Booker longlist – The Guardian
After years struggling with alcohol, critical neglect and depression, great nature poet John Clare finds himself in High Beach Private Asylum. At the same time another poet, the young Alfred Tennyson, moves nearby and becomes entangled in the life and catastrophic schemes of the asylum’s owner, the peculiar, charismatic Dr Matthew Allen. This intensely lyrical novel describes his vertiginous fall, through hallucinatory episodes of insanity and dissolving identity, towards his final madness. Historically accurate, but brilliantly imagined, the closed world of High Beach and its various inmates – the doctor, his lonely daughter in love with Tennyson, the brutish staff and John Clare himself – are brought vividly to life. Rapturous yet precise, exquisitely written, rich in character and detail, this is a remarkable and deeply affecting book: a visionary novel which contains a world.
What have you read from the longlist? What might you want to? What glaring omissions are there?
15 October 2008
The White Tiger
Our intrepid blogger, ‘tewp’ who picked The White Tiger as a possible Booker winner certainly had his finger on the pulse of the Booker Judges, who have agreed with him and declared it to be this year’s winner.
If book sales were anything to go by then Linda Grant’s The Clothes on their backs would have been a sure winner with 3,074 copies sold in English bookshops compared to White Tigers that sold 2,588 copies, and Ladbrooks had Sebastian Barrys’ The Secret scripture as a 2/1 winner. Interestingly word on the ground was that the reason that Linda Grant’s book sold so well because it was considerably thinner than some of the heftier tomes that were nominated this year!
However White Tiger won in the end with the Judges saying that it “shocked and entertained” in equal measure. Perhaps Tewp should be on the judging panel next year, he obviously has a good take on what makes a great read!