Friday 11 July 2008

Best Booker?

Well, this was kind of inevitable, wasn't it? Midnight's Children is simply the perfect Booker novel - a very different thing from the perfect, or even the especially good, novel. Looking at the list of past winners, it's clear that the Booker started out quietly, rewarding decent English novelists (P.H. Newby anyone?) for solid work, then soon grew into a big beast ranging in a a far wider field of fiction (G? The Bone Peple?) and developing a global reach. Of recent winners, Disgrace is the only one I've been tempted to read, and very good it is, in its icy, blood-curdling way - but I'm pretty sure I'd never reread it. The Siege of Krishnapur, on the other hand, I'd happily return to any time - and for my money this was the best Booker winner ever. But it's no surprise it didn't win.


  1. Actualy I was tempted by The Sea too - Banville's good - but never got round to it.

  2. Walking across the pedestrian bridge outside Manchester's Piccadilly station at approximately 7.30 this morning (in the pouring rain, I should add, and plagued my a gammy left knee), I actually thought to myself: I wish I were Nige.

    And I have waited all day to tell you this so that you can pat yourself on the back and congratulate yourself on being the real thing.

    As for Booker novels: never bother with them. Only ever tempted by a Colm Toibin but never took the plunge.

  3. Well Dick, I'm patting myself vigorously on the back, tho I must confess I've often wished I was Richard Madeley - who, if he's honest, has not? If my life - internal and external - were really as it seems to be from my blog, I'd probably be a happy man. Or something. And you'd be married to Judy. Chin up!

  4. And hope the leg heals soon.

  5. Another JG Farrell fan. Good. I too love that novel and would happily re-read it. I once went round the Residency in Lucknow. Having already read the novel, I probably saw it through JG Farrell's eyes, or at least his fiction. But that turned something of a tourist site, even if a rather grim and mournful one, into something far more and something that will stay with me, unlike 99 per cent of other tourist sites. Good fiction works on us in so many ways.

    Most Booker winners I've tried are too self-consciously literary, mannered perhaps. Farrell absolutely is not.

    Hope Dick's knee improves. I've read some of Colm Toibin's other writing and liked it.

  6. I'm very bloody annoyed that Midnight's Children won. I was rooting for Disgrace for the most literary of reasons: I have two first editions of it, one signed (Clay) one not (Biddle). Also have firsts of Farrell, and Gordimer, and Carey (signed), but oh no, they had to go and pick Rushdie, the one First I don't have.

    It's an outrage.