Saturday, July 12, 2008

Booker 2008: Sucking and Blowing

Michael Portillo, Chair of this year's Booker Prize, has a blog. Make that "blog" - surely it doesn't count as a real blog if you've only posted to it twice in six months. Portillo's latest entry - posted on May 15 - documents the extraordinary diversity of this year's nominated titles:
At first it seemed that almost every book was going to be written from the point of view of a child.
And were those children disturbed and/or able to see things convention-bound adults can't and/or capable of revealing through their naivety the hypocrisies and cruelties of this crazy modern world in which we live? I'd wager real money that they were, if I had any.
Another big topic this year is Islam, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan feature quite a bit too. Novels set in the UK often have middle-class characters who reveal their disappointment with Tony Blair.
I expect next year there'll be a slew of novels "tackling" climate change.

Portillo also reports that auto-erotic asphyxiation is apparently the literary fetish du jour: "Three novels that I've read so far have featured it." There's a joke waiting to be made here but I'm too tired and anyway Rockwiz is about to start.

2 comments:

Beth said...

I wonder if Tim Winton's Breath is one of the three, or if in fact there will be four...

Those books sound AWFUL. I was just waiting for this:

"Many of this year's submissions look through the eyes of a middle-aged, middle-class 'artist' as he reflects on his life, sitting by the seaside, having an affair with a young Eastern European woman and musing on the vagaries of memory"

But I guess they couldn't give away the winner so early.

Imani said...

Ha! I'm just tickled someone mentioned Winton's "Breath" because I read an excerpt from his latest in "The Paris Review" but was not impressed. However a commenter told me that he may appeal more to male readers. So...