Monday, July 27, 2009
Tomorrow, July 28, the judges of this year's Man Booker Prize is set to announce their longlist for the award. The release of this list, the Booker's Dozen, is one of the most anticipated in the publishing industry. (The Booker's Dozen is made up of 13 books though.) Most of the time, a book included in the list immediately shoots to the top of bestseller lists.
Last year, after having read Aravind Adiga's novel, The White Tiger, I was inspired to read all the novels comprising the shortlist. Hey, if Michael Portillo, the chairman of the 2008 judging panel, says that all the shortlisted novels are "page turners," then they must be good reads, right?
Cut to several months later. Yes, I've managed to get all six books in the shortlist and, no, I haven't read all of them yet. I'm not sure if my idea of a page turner is the same as the judges'. Except for The White Tiger, the other 5 novels are anything but page turners. Three novels are so lengthy they have doorstop proportions -- Hensher's The Northern Clemency, Toltz's A Fraction of the Whole, and Ghosh's Sea of Poppies. Barry's The Secret Scripture is too serious and morose. I am, however, currently reading Grant's The Clothes on Their Backs and I'm finding it quite good. It's still not a page turner though.
Booker Prize winners are usually safe bets when you're looking for an enjoyable read. Most of my friends can't get over Martel's Life of Pi and Roy's The God of Small Things. My favorites are still Kelman's How Late It Was, How Late, a novel about an alcoholic on a downward spiral, and McEwan's Amsterdam, a short novel with a twisted ending.
How about you, dear reader? What's your favorite Booker novel?