Thursday, September 19, 2013

Told You So

ISBN-10: 0307278972 ISBN-13: 9780307278975 Published: Vintage, 11/05/2013 Pages: 256 Language: English
Hey, remember when I said Jim Crace's newest book Harvest was really, really good? Well, it turns out some pretty influential people across the pond agree. Harvest has been shortlisted, along with five other impressively diverse novels, for the 2013 Man Booker Prize and Crace's masterpiece is the odds-on favorite. Here's the full list:

We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo  

The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton 

Harvest by Jim Crace 

The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri

A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki 

The Testament of Mary by Colm Tóibín 

Unfortunately, I've only had a chance to read Harvest, but I'm looking forward to working my way through the rest. For my money, the Booker is one of the best taste-makers out there in terms of literary awards, and the case has been made by at least one writer at the Guardian that this year's picks are a bumper crop. It's certainly true that the judges have taken great advantage of the fact that the Booker is a Commonwealth prize rather than an exclusively Irish and British award. Here, Sarah Churchwell details the diversity present in the Man Booker's selections this year:

"It registers not only a multicultural world, but its migratory visions: an Irish writer's meditation on an ancient Middle Eastern myth; a Japanese-Canadian writer's linking of kamikaze pilots and 9/11 suicide bombers; the mingling in 19th-century New Zealand of Maori, Scottish, American, Irish and Chinese, drawn by the hope and greed that drives all frontier tales; a Calcutta family wrestling with diasporic American life and ghosts of the old world; a dark tale apparently set in Merrie Olde England, yet concerning deracination and exile; and a girl who leaves a shantytown in Zimbabwe for the false hope of the American Dream in Detroit."

Sounds pretty darn appealing to me. Enjoy the good will while it lasts, the news that American authors will become eligible for the prize in 2014 has elicited a range of responses, from pessimism to apocalyptic pessimism. If it's all downhill from here-- and I am by no means convinced that will be the case-- then at least the Booker's going out with a bang (if you consider a novel about the enclosure movement in 17th Century England to be a "bang," which I most certainly do). Buy Harvest (the paperback is coming out in about a month) before it wins the Man Booker and lord your astounding foresight and lit-cred over your friends (if they're anything like mine, they won't care).

No comments:

Post a Comment