2 disappointments and 1 soaring success
Posted by BookerTalk
I’ve now read two of the 2015 Booker longlist titles; neither of which I think will be declared the winner. Andrew O’Hagan’s The Illuminations was a far better novel than Anne Enright’s The Green Road in the sense it actually had a message but both were rather straight-forward stories. No real experimentation with form such as we’ve seen from recent winners like Hilary Mantel and Eleanor Catton. Maybe the judges are not looking for that especially but I would expect them hone in on a novel that has a unique quality, one that stands out from the crowd in one respect or another. Neither O’Hagan or Enright did that for me. Maybe my next Booker longlist contender A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara will be more remarkable. It’s the early favourite for this year’s award but the judges have not always followed the popular vote so I wouldn’t put a lot of faith in the betting odds.
Fortunately the disappointing experience with those two titles is overshadowed by the book I’m currently reading: The Snow Kimono by the Australian author Mark Henshaw. It’s his first novel in 25 years and was apparently rejected 32 times before Text Publishing stepped forward. It was a smart move since Henshaw’s novel went on to win the Premier’s award.
From the first page I was enthralled. The novel begins in Paris in 1989 when a retired police inspector receives a letter from a woman in Algiers claiming to be his daughter. Two days later a stranger knocks on his apartment door. Tadashi Omura, former professor of law of the Imperial University of Japan, begins his story of his best friend, a brilliant but arrogant writer and the lives of three Japanese women. That summary doesn’t however do any justice to this wonderfully mesmerising tale that unfolds like a puzzle. What a shame the judges didn’t longlist this novel.
About BookerTalkWhat do you need to know about me? 1. I'm from Wales which is one of the countries in the UK and must never be confused with England. 2. My life has always revolved around the written and spoken word. I worked as a journalist for nine years then in international corporate communications 3. My tastes in books are eclectic. I love realism and hate science fiction and science fantasy. 4. I am trying to broaden my reading horizons geographically by reading more books in translation
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