Wednesday, August 30, 2006


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 √©migr√© 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.


TimT said...


Hey, did you know the Australian are producing a new monthly books supplement, like their old 'Australian Review of Books' or the 'New York Times Book Review'? First one's coming out next Wednesday.

You could send in one of your Booker Revie... oh.

TimT said...

I tell a lie, they seem to be out already - there are some free copies in Readings.

Ben.H said...

I was going to say "I told you so," until I remembered that I hadn't told you in the first place. Next time I'll stay true to my conviction that it is the Booker judges, not I, who are the Philistines.

Zoe said...


Beth said...

Tim, I feel your pain. But even with your dramatic resignation, you've still read more booker novels than me, so if I were you I'd frame this as "I've completed the challenge by reading all the books I consider worthy". Why don't you call a winner? And a shortlist? If you turn out to be right you'll feel pretty smug.

Enjoy reading all those non-middle-of-the-road-literary-novel types of publications that are allegedly out there.

Tim said...

Ok, here's my guess at a shortlist: Mitchell, Waters, O'Hagan, Messud, Matar, St. Aubyn

Wild card: Carey

Winner: Waters