Don’t bet on me for the Booker

Clearly I am not much use at spotting prize winning books. Last year I was rooting for Jim Crace’s The Harvest to win the 2013 Man Booker Prize. I got it completely wrong since the prize went to the (in my view) much less impressive The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton.

This year I was 100% sure that Ali Smith would grab the prize. I was even flirting with the idea that I might put a flutter on her (except the last time I went into a book maker’s establishment I was seven years old so the routine might have changed a bit). Just as well I didn’t since those devilish judges turned their backs on Ms Smith in favour of Richard Flanagan’s The Narrow Road to the Deep North which is set during the construction of the Thailand-Burma Death Railway in World War Two. Darn it, I have read three of the six shortlisted novels this year but wouldn’t you know it, I hadn’t got as far as this one.

I’m not familiar with Flanagan’s work but this sounds like a fascinating read even though it’s likely to be harrowing at times given its subject matter.

So Scotland misses out but at least the title goes to an author from the Commonwealth thus confounding everyone who signalled the demise of the prize when they ‘let in the Americans’.

 

 

BookerTalk

What 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

14 thoughts on “Don’t bet on me for the Booker

  • October 15, 2014 at 8:08 pm
    Permalink

    I’m with you, I’m SO bad at predicting prize novels (mostly because I RARELY read them before they’re listed). But even when I do read them, I usually like the runners up better.

    Reply
    • October 18, 2014 at 9:06 am
      Permalink

      We can’t be brilliant at everything can we – need to let others have a turn now and again.

      Reply
  • October 15, 2014 at 4:16 pm
    Permalink

    I was originally rooting for The Bone Clocks. When it didn’t make the shortlist, I went for The Lives of Others because it felt like the most “convenient” choice. When I listened to a podcast about How to Be Both, I rooted for it instead because of the structure. And when I listened to yet another podcast, this time on The Narrow Road to the Deep North, I changed my mind for the last time because it feels like a very personal novel.

    Yes, I am very flimsy.

    Reply
    • October 22, 2014 at 10:33 pm
      Permalink

      I enjoyed Lives of Others but didn’t think it would win. I was so sure about Ali Smith but admittedly I hadn’t looked much at the Flanagan title

      Reply
  • October 15, 2014 at 3:59 pm
    Permalink

    For the first time in living memory (i.e. my memory) I forgot all about the award until I woke up this morning and saw the result. I’m also glad it’s stayed within the Commonwealth although because of the subject matter I won’t be reading it.

    Reply
    • October 22, 2014 at 10:34 pm
      Permalink

      I have a vague recollection that a family member of yours was a prisoner involved with the railway so it’s understandable the subject would be rather painful

      Reply
  • October 15, 2014 at 2:06 pm
    Permalink

    I was surprised by the winner too. I haven’t heard much buzz about the book in the States, but that doesn’t mean much. Will you be reading Flanagan’s book soon?

    Reply
    • October 22, 2014 at 10:35 pm
      Permalink

      I’m hoping I can get it via the library since I baulked at paying hard cover prices. But if not then I’ll have to wait until the paperback comes along. Unless pf course some kind person buys it as a Xmas gift …

      Reply
  • October 14, 2014 at 10:40 pm
    Permalink

    I was rooting for The Narrow Road, not only because it was the only one that seemed very interesting to me, but also because I felt that it’s the type of book that the Booker would choose.

    Reply
  • October 14, 2014 at 9:42 pm
    Permalink

    I knew The Narrow Road was going to win as soon as I saw the shortlist. I won’t be reading it though because I can’t stand reading war novels. This one I hear is particularly graphic. i still have the rest of the shortlist to read. I got sidetracked with other reading. What will you read next from the list. I knew the winner wouldn’t be American although I thought Siri Hustvedt and Karen Joy Fowler were excellent choices to join the shortlist.It seems as if many British are unhappy with Americans being allowed to integrate the prize so maybe next year things will go back to normal.

    Reply
    • October 22, 2014 at 10:36 pm
      Permalink

      I started reading the Joshua Ferris one but am not sure I will read it through to the end.

      Reply

Leave a Reply to Alex Cancel reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: