Saturday, March 29, 2008

A Beginning, A Muddle and End

The Times has an unbelievably hard quiz on the history of the Booker Prize but trying to unravel the answers is fascinating.

In the course of searching for clues on my bookshelves and the internet, I came across this quotation from Philip Larkin when he was Booker judge. It really provides all the criteria you need to judge a work of fiction :
Personally, I found myself asking four questions about every book: Could I read it? If I could read it, did I believe it? If I believed it, did I care about it? And if I cared about it, what was the quality of my caring, and would it last? I came to think that quite a number of novelists – and for that matter poets too – might do well to imagine a reader asking himself such questions about their work, because, to be honest, very few novels I read survived as far as question four. Far too many relied on the classic formula of a beginning, a muddle, and an end.

2 comments:

Secret History said...

Wonder if they will ship all 41 books to Malaysia if I win.

bibliobibuli said...

doubt it. i intend to try and use my UK address (my sister's house).

it strikes me that the sort of person who is interested in entering has probably read the titles anyway ... (29 of 'em i wouldn't need straight off). it's more for the challenge ...