Thursday 4 June 2009

Home Again

I've remarked before, I think, on the woeful inadequacy of the word 'cold' as denominator of a condition that so thoroughly knocks the stuffing out of a person as to leave them barely capable of functioning. Such an affliction - contracted on the last day of the great May-June heatwave ('cold' indeed!) - flattened me yesterday. Hence my blog silence (I didn't think you'd appreciate posts along the lines of 'Groan... Cough... Atishoo... Aargh... Groan...'). Feeling a little better today, I wake to learn the glad, if wildly unlikely, tidings about the great Marilynne - see Bryan here for a fittingly warm and magisterial tribute. So strange that she should have won a prize with such a track record, and so strange that it should be for Home, a novel that cannot be properly understood without reading its companion piece Gilead, and one that is challenging and difficult even for a Robinson devotee like me. Still, she has won, she sounded very pleased, and it is cause for rejoicing.
The Orange Prize itself seems more and more anomalous - an award restricted to women suggests an embattled minority in need of a leg-up, whereas the reality is that fiction is increasingly written by women and for women. And looking back over my recent reading and discoveries, I find the list of names is overwhelmingly female - Marilynne of course, Shirley Hazzard, Elizabeth Bishop, Penelope Fitzgerald, Anne Tyler, Cynthia Ozick, now Flannery O'Connor (and Christina Stead waiting in the wings)... That is more than enough literary talent - greatness indeed - to be going on with. It is arguably the men who need a prize of their own now - maybe the, er, Man Booker?


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  2. Well, women may write the best fiction, but can they do the walking piss?

    Glad you're better, Nige. There's an art question for you over at TofE.

  3. Glad she won. Should have been for "Housekeeping," though. Just like the Academy Awards -- they give 'em to someone who should have won earlier and everyone knows it.

    BTW, did you hear David Carradine hanged himself? Sad.

  4. Sad indeed Susan - seems to be the Michael Hutchence MO again...