Short of a bedroom imbroglio, what else can ever thrust an esteemed author of literary fiction onto the front pages?Aberrant behaviour at the bookies it seems! There has been a huge rush of Booker wagers on just one of the longlisted author, Hilary Mantel. 95% of the bets have been for her novel Wolf Hall. Bookies William Hill said that it had never seen a betting pattern like it and slashed the odds on a win for Mantel's longlisted Wolf Hall from 12-1 right down to 2-1.
But of course, a Booker win for Mantel is not a dead-cert, says Boyd Tonkin at The Independent. And any Booker winner will know that the front-runner often fall long before the finish line. But says Tonkin :
Anyone who frets at this vulgar intrusion of cash and chance into the august enclosures of literature should read Wolf Hall at once. Closer in style and mood to Tom Wolfe than Walter Scott, Mantel's racy and rocketing account of Thomas Cromwell and his rise to power at the court of Henry VIII stitches a canny materialism deep into the fabric of the new, rational and businesslike, England that Cromwell did so much to create. Indeed, she takes care to specify one trait among the other qualities that make her Putney blacksmith's son such a stellar arbitrator, plotter, trader, deal-closer and all-round fixer for the crown. "He will take a bet on anything." And so will we.It was the only Booker longlisted title I managed to find at Kinokuniya the other day (though I'm assured all the titles will be in soon) so I guess my Booker read starts here. Having enjoyed Beyond Black, I'm anticipating this read with great pleasure.