Saturday, October 20, 2007

So How Come Enright Got It?

In today's Guardian Booker judge Giles Foden gives a fascinating insight into the discussion that went on about the shortlisted books behind closed doors and how the winner was chosen:
... Judges applauded The Gathering for its controlled prose, sentence by sentence. They were impressed by its figurative language. They wondered at how unflinching Enright was in the face of what was pretty grim, unappealing material. Would the subject matter deter readers? asked one judge. Was that a literary question? asked another. ... Enright's novel had the support in depth and range other titles were not able to muster. It is, perhaps, a book people admire rather than immediately warm to, and this admiration won the day for her. Admiration for the unflinching ferocity of her vision and her skill with figurative language, admiration for the way in which she conveys feeling in carefully modulated prose which, sentence for sentence, matches anything being written in English today. Together we were happy to award her the prize on that basis. It was a collegiate decision. That is how it should be for the Man Booker. I hope many other readers will join us in our admiration for the many fine books on the shortlist and longlist.
Would certainly agree it isn't a book one warms to immediately, and that it is in many ways admirable, and the judges made the sensible decision from the literary standpoint ... which is really the only criteria they should be employing if they are doing their job properly.

*Sigh*But still ...

The paper is also featuring an exclusive Enright short story The Caravan.

P.S. Don't miss Starmag tomorrow for the full set of Booker reviews.

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