The Big Six
Julian Barnes The Sense of an Ending (Jonathan Cape – Random House)
Carol Birch Jamrach's Menagerie (Canongate Books)
Patrick deWitt The Sisters Brothers (Granta)
Esi Edugyan Half Blood Blues (Serpent's Tail)
Stephen Kelman Pigeon English (Bloomsbury)
A.D. Miller Snowdrops (Atlantic)
Alright. We didn't see eye to eye on Sebastian Barry. No worries. Well, worries, and more than a little sense of great injustice, but if that's the way they want to be, oh well. Far be it from me, etc.
At least I agree with the inclusion of Julian Barnes. His writing is concise, packed with repressed deep emotion (SEE: Stiff upper lip, British) and an absolute marvel. If I wind up having to choose between this and any of the others (which I expect it will come down to), I'll go with Julian Barnes. In other words, right now he's my leading contender.
Patrick deWitt? The Sisters Brothers is an uproariously funny western, a truly entertaining romp of a novel. But a Booker winner? Not sure about that.
To my mind it's lacking depth, the excavation into universal truths a prize-winner should represent. Not that funny isn't good. It's definitely good, but more so when it's used as a shield for a deeper, often darker emotion all readers can identify with. In The Sisters Brothers I just didn't feel that. Read it, though. It's so much fun. It's just stricken from my choice as the potential winner.
No offense, mate. I'm glad I read ye.
I have copies of Carol Birch's Jamrach's Menagerie, Kelman's Pigeon English and A.D. Miller's Snowdrops. The one I'm lacking is Esi Edugyan's Half Blood Blues, which I've just ordered from a bookseller in the U.S. I'll read these with close attention, using Barnes as my benchmark, the book to which the others must live up in order to knock the man from the top of the heap.
I have until the 18th of October, a bit over a week per book, minus the previously read Barnes and deWitt. No problem! To make sure my bid is legitimate I will try to post it by October 16, allowing plenty of time to account for the time difference betwixt there and here.
Until then, carry on! Best of luck to all.
One thought on “Man Booker Prize 2011: and then there were six…”
I just finished Snowdrops this weekend. It’s ok, but I read Far to Go by Alison Pick earlier in the week and in my opinion that one was far more worthy of Booker short-listing.