Monday, September 14, 2009

Booker Commentary

Lorna Bradbury, the Telegraph’s fiction editor, thinks this year’s Booker shortlist “outstrips even 2005 in terms of literary merit” and “concentrates on quality and seriousness.” (The 2005 shortlist included novels by Kazuo Ishiguro, Zadie Smith, and John Banville.) Bradbury remarks on the number of female authors to make this year’s shortlist (3 out of 6), a fact which she finds “striking.” Also, it’s notable that, excepting J.M. Coetzee’s Summertime, this year’s list “contains barely a whiff of anything tricksy or post-modern. These novels are old-fashioned affairs concerned with the pleasures of plot and character.”

Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall, a historical novel about the life and times of Thomas Cromwell, is the current favorite to win the prize, but Bradbury’s money is on A.S. Byatt’s The Children’s Book. Like me, Bradbury is “saddened” that William Trevor’s Love and Summer—a novel she describes as “quite his best novel in years”—didn’t make the shortlist.

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