October 15, 2003 |
What inconvenient creatures living writers are. The best and most interesting of them willfully refuse to remain what they're presumed to be, and perversely subvert comfortable readers' attempts to fix them definitively within the firmament of admiration. If ever we needed to be reminded of that, this fall's annual shower of literary prizes has restated the proposition in nearly every imaginable fashion.
October 13, 2003 |
The Man Booker Prize for the best new novel of 2003, which will be awarded at a glittering dinner in London on Tuesday night, likes to claim that it is Britain's premier literary prize. A mixture of the Pulitzer and the National Book Award, it is also more than that: a great sporting fixture, a bettor's nightmare and the annual signal that Christmas is around the corner.
February 24, 2010 |
Though John Banville likes to say that he writes in "a literary patois" he calls "Hiberno-English," the Irish novelist and critic is, without question, one of the great living masters of English-language prose. "The Infinities" -- his 15th novel and first work of literary fiction since "The Sea," which won the 2005 Man Booker Prize -- is a dazzling example of that mastery, as well as of the formal daring and slyly erudite humor that make his novels among the most rewarding available to readers today.
October 15, 2013 |
This post has been updated. Please see note at bottom for details. Eleanor Catton took the 2013 Man Booker Prize for "The Luminaries" at an awards ceremony in London on Tuesday night. At age 28, Catton is the youngest novelist ever to win the prestigious prize -- and her novel, at more than 800 pages, is the longest book. When she accepted, Catton said, " 'The Luminaries' was, from the start, a publisher's nightmare.” She thanked her editors for “striking a balance between making art and making money,” the Washington Post reports.
October 17, 2013 |
Running on a mere 2½ hours of sleep and exactly 12 hours after winning the Man Booker Prize for her novel “The Luminaries,” Eleanor Catton sat down for an interview with the Guardian's Charlotte Higgins and brought her A game. The 28-year-old novelist from New Zealand, the youngest ever to win the prize, addressed the critics who have approached her complex novel with trite assumptions about gender. Catton said the "people whose negative reaction [to 'The Luminaries']
May 22, 2013 |
Lydia Davis, known for writing powerful, compact short stories, was announced as the winner of the Man Booker International Prize for fiction Wednesday. The prize, which was presented at a ceremony in London, comes with an award worth more than $90,000. "Lydia Davis' writings fling their lithe arms wide to embrace many a kind. Just how to categorize them?" Sir Christopher Ricks, the chair of the judging panel, said while giving the award. "Should we simply concur with the official title and dub them stories?
March 4, 2012 |
Not unlike its counterpart rock 'n' roll, memorable jazz novels occupy a pretty slim shelf at the local bookstore. Though the music has been gracefully spun into fiction by Roddy Doyle, Michael Ondaatje and - most distinctively - Rafi Zabor in the surreal, ursine-centric "The Bear Comes Home," it's a fringe topic for the most part. Maybe that's because when people want to read about jazz, the characters behind the real story are rich enough to transcend any fiction - or maybe it's just a reflection of how well-meaning writers can run into trouble once they start putting into words something as ephemeral and personal as a saxophone solo.
October 30, 2010 |
Julian Treslove is having an identity crisis. He's not sure where he stands on circumcision, on Israel and Palestine, on Holocaust memorials, on pretty much every aspect of Jewish culture in contemporary London. But the real problem with Julian's identity is that he's not at all Jewish ? not that the simple fact can stop him from obsessing about Jewishness for the duration of "The Finkler Question," which was just awarded England's Man Booker prize. As the novel opens, Julian, 49, has left a dinner with his old school friend Sam Finkler and their one-time teacher, Libor Sevick.
October 26, 2011 |
Anne Enright doesn't believe in leading readers gently into anything - certainly not an affair. In "The Forgotten Waltz," the Irish writer plunges us headlong into the world of Gina Moynihan, young IT consultant and adulteress at large. Gina is not so much an unreliable narrator as someone obsessed with her own unreliability. Dissecting her love affair with married man Sean Vallely, she constantly doubles back on her own thoughts and memories, gamely trying to pinpoint the moment when her conventional middle-class life - complete with husband and mortgage - dissolved into something darker and more complicated.