Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Man Booger

There is a "flavour", writes John Sutherland, to this year's Booker shortlist. Dead bird? Manure? (Not the latter - too fertile.) No, it's accessibility: "None (or at least, not too much) of that boring "literary" crap." So, mostly just crap crap then.

I like the look of Sea of Poppies (Stevenson-esque nautical yarns are all right by me) but the rest of the list is awful. I realise I used a fragment of The Lost Dog to make a point (yes, there was one, somewhere) about some irritating trends in contemporary literary fiction, but overall I was impressed with de Kretser's novel. (I've been dying to say that in public, because it's true and I felt bad about featuring de Kretser's work so prominently in my critique. If I could go back in time I would rewrite that post using an example from a different book; also I would remove the misleading and loaded word "unrealistically" from the first par. Because of course that's what I would do if I had a time machine, go back and edit blog posts.) That it didn't make the cut is testament to the (not entirely unexpected) conservatism of the judges and the (again hardly revelatory) bullshitness of the award itself. Also: no Netherland! Not that I liked the thing, but I'd bet on it to win in an informal sweep. Now I have no chance of winning back my four dollars.

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