I am having a mid-Booker longlist crisis. Symptoms include: not wanting to read any more fucking Booker novels. Sure there are some good books on the list, Mother’s Milk for instance. Looking at the remaining novels, however, I am filled with a nameless despair. Is it really worth reading all that just so’s I’ve got something to dribble on about here? Probably not, no. Especially when I could be reading stuff I actually want to read. As Amazing Race host and inspiration guru Phil Keoghan says, “I like chocolate pudding”. He probably also says stuff about life being too short and that.
So I resign from Bookerblog 2006 effective from the end of this post. The two nominees I have read but not reviewed can be summarised as follows: Carry Me Down by M.J. Hyland is a well-written, slow-burning tale of incipient juvenile madness that I found convincing, bleak, and ultimately well worth reading. Not the kind of thing I’d normally pick up, but I don’t regret the time I spent with it. Beth has a more detailed review. Seven Lies by James Lasdun represents the dark side of the Booker. This Cold War thriller sans thrills is not as bad as Get a Life - little is – but it is nevertheless bland, unimaginative and completely in love with its own faux-profundity. Also, the narrative voice is poorly rendered. The narrator is supposed to be a German émigré living in New York but he sounds more like a middle-aged English-American creative writing teacher. What’s that, James Lasdun is a middle-aged English-American creative writing teacher? What a coincidence!
Enough. Let us never speak of the Booker again.