Thursday 20 May 2010

Winning Troubles

It's good to see that J.G. Farrell has won (posthumously) the Lost Man Booker Prize for his 1970 novel Troubles. This makes him one of only three double winners, and he'd have deserved it if he'd won a third Booker with The Singapore Grip (Iris Murdoch's The Sea, The Sea won that year, and Farrell wasn't even shortlisted). This piece includes a poignant account of poor Farrell's death... The other works shortlisted for the Lost Booker were by Muriel Spark, Nina Bawden, Mary Renault, Patrick White and Shirley Hazzard (The Bay of Noon, which I must read). Put those names from 40 years ago up against any recent Man Booker shortlist and it would be hard not to conclude that the literary novel has hit hard times.

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