Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Booker Prize Short-list announced

The Man Booker Prize shortlist has been announced. The key contenders this year are:
  • Darkmans by Nicola Barker (Fourth Estate)
    • A depressing story about a dysfunctional family haunted by Edward IV's court jester.
  • The Gathering by Anne Enright (Jonathan Cape)
    • A depressing story about a dysfunctional family from the eyes of a woman whose brother just committed suicide.
  • The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid (Hamish Hamilton)
    • A depressing story about a "well adjusted" Muslim who is drawn to fundamentalist Islam after 9/11. Basically an anti-American diatribe.
  • Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones (John Murray)
    • A depressing story about a girl on a war-torn Island who escapes by reading Dicken's Great Expectations
  • On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan (Jonathan Cape)
    • A depressing story about a couple's first time after getting married.
  • Animal’s People by Indra Sinha (Simon & Schuster)
    • I haven't read this one. Don't plan to. But reading the plot synopsis, it also sounds like "A depressing story about...".
Aside from Animal's People of which I know little, the other books are bleak and, quite honestly, dull. I don't mind bleakness in a book but it seems that literary merit in today's fiction equates to bleakness at least as far as the Man Booker prize is concerned. Absent from all of these novels is a sense of the wonder that it is to be human.

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