Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Booker Bores

Aiyolah! The spillover. The venom. The agonising post-mortem ...

I'm truly sorry for all my regular readers who are scratching their heads and wondering what on earth is the big deal with this Booker business which may not seem very important to most folks - enthusiastic readers even - in this part of the world. (Don't think I don't see my counter numbers dropping ...)

But I'm gonna be a Booker bore and chuck more links at you just so you can see how things are being chewed up and down both here and there. I am throroughly enjoying the debate.

Start at the Independent where Boyd Tonkin has declared the decision of the Man Booker Prize committee:
the worst, certainly the most perverse, and perhaps the most indefensible choice in the 36-year history of the contest
He hurls plenty of invective Banville-ward:
icy and over-controlled exercise in coterie aestheticism ... chilly perfection of a waxwork model ... glacial evocation ... lifeless, pallid work ...
You didn't like it then, Mr. Tonkin? But I can't blame him for being more than a little pissed off that Banville shredded McEwan's novel in The New York Review of Books and probably jeopardized the novel's chances ...

Then Subtext Whore finds the whole 2005 shortlist sadly lacking compared to the books that made it through last year ... Most inspired line:
Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go, yet another dystopic vision of cloning, reads like a nested story from Cloud Atlas, and seems less worthy because of it.
And nearer home our own Hari Kingston chews over the issues arising ... with specific reference to our own peripheral literary status. Would Tash have got long-listed if he's chosen to publish here? Would he even have been published here?

Certainly not and probably not are my answers. Very very very sadly. We have to do something.

Hari proposes that dear old Raman, superhero of the literary universe should initiate our own literary award "The Silvers". What is this Hari trying to stir up, hey?

Anyway, I'm posting this just before bed and no doubt by the morning there will be a tidal wave of opinions to cope with.

And this really is the fun. More than the bloody books!


Hari said...

"What is this Hari trying to stir up, hey?" --- A hornet's nest!?

As for others being chosen for the prize - please, going to be pedantic here - but, what I meant was people from other countries are chosen, no doubt. But the criteria is that the novel in question must be published by a UK based publisher and be first published in the UK as well. This is why (I think) people rush to the UK to be published. All those you mentioned had their novels first published in the UK!

If we were to come up with the same - ie, a book must be published in Malaysia, by a Malaysian publisher, with a gigantic prize given, then maybe, just maybe, we will get the same response.

bibliobibuli said...

Yep, sorry I misread you. Yes, and *sigh* you're right ... 'tisn't fqair actually, is it?

May you suceed in stirring up your hornets nest.

I don't know though if a huge literary prize in Malaysia would necessarily motivate writers, you know. I don't know if it would do the local writing scene all that much good ... But we do need to debate it.

Yvonne Foong said...

Never know until you try.