Booker Prize 2012: Hilary Mantel

How fitting that a writer best known (now) for historical fiction made history? My piece on Mantel’s double Booker in today’s DNA (I’m happy to report that the headline is, ahem, incorrect only in the website. The newspaper carried the sensible version). There’s nothing disappointing about Bring Up The Bodies winning because it is a brilliant book. Structure, pace, language, characterisation, tension, research — it has everything. The one twinge of disappointment for me came from the Booker judges choosing to pick an already famous and bestselling author, rather than someone lesser-known. I probably wouldn’t have felt this twinge if I didn’t love … Continue reading Booker Prize 2012: Hilary Mantel

Booker Special – Part 2

Now for the weird ones. Will Self’s Umbrella Most likely to drive you insane The politically-correct word for three of the novels in this year’s Man Booker Prize shortlist is “literary”, which translates in plain English to “weird”. Not that weird can’t mean wonderful. This year, the judges clearly wanted readers to remember that literature is not simply timepass, to use a bit of Bombay-speak. If the reader perseveres with a well-crafted experimental novel, they’re rewarded with a story that’s told with all the flourish of a brilliant magic trick. Because hey presto! along with a top hat worth of … Continue reading Booker Special – Part 2

Booker Special – Part 1

Since we’re two days away from the announcement of this year’s Man Booker Prize, The Mag has two pages of books, which have the following: A review of Orhan Pamuk’s Silent House by Omair Ahmed Mitali Saran’s review of The Liberals by Hindol Sengupta Reviews of the six novels in this year’s Booker shortlist. Each novel carries a little badge, which I’d originally thought I’d make earnest and thoughtful (like “Most lyrical use of language”), but they ended up, erm, more cheerful. Like, “Most likely to drive you insane.” Here are the reviews of The Garden of Evening Mists (which is the … Continue reading Booker Special – Part 1