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2005 Booker prize longlist


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Tedium at work prompts review of annual anglo middlebrow fiction fest:

 

The Harmony Silk Factory by Tash Aw

The Sea by John Banville

Arthur & George by Julian Barnes

A Long Long Way by Sebastian Barry

Slow Man by JM Coetzee

In the Fold by Rachel Cusk

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

All For Love by Dan Jacobson

A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian by Marina Lewycka

Beyond Black by Hilary Mantel

Saturday by Ian McEwan

The People’s Act of Love by James Meek

Shalimar The Clown by Salman Rushdie

The Accidental by Ali Smith

On Beauty by Zadie Smith

This Thing Of Darkness by Harry Thompson

This Is The Country by William Wall

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I have read none of those, but I do recognize some names, so...score! And, I am in my annual struggle to try and read "Midnight's Children", so I guess I could co-opt Rushdie.

 

Now, if only Terry Pratchett could get on it, then I could seem all artsy.

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Past highlights. Selina "air-head" Scott asking Angela Carter "So, what brings you here this evening?"

I once walked past Selena Scott, loudly proclaiming "I only talk the the National media", when she was doing a piece on our lab for Grampian TV.

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Saturday by Ian McEwan

I'm a long time fan of McEwan, read pretty much everything he's ever penned, but I simply COULD NOT get into Saturday.

 

I first came across the excerpt that was in the New Yorker, and only a few pages there took me a loooong while to get through. I dutifully got the book the first week it came out, and still haven't finished it! I labored through a good bit, put it down to do something, and still haven't been quite inspired enough to pick it back up yet.

 

Have I gone mad or was it that tedious to some of you too?

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How is Julian Barnes' stuff these days? I read something of his a long time ago that I remember liking. I think it was Before She Met Me. Oh, I also read Flaubert's Parrot, though I'll be damned if I remember any of it.

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How is Julian Barnes' stuff these days? I read something of his a long time ago that I remember liking. I think it was Before She Met Me. Oh, I also read Flaubert's Parrot, though I'll be damned if I remember any of it.

I think Barnes is a better short story writer and essayist than novelist. I did like Metroland and F's P but the others leave me cold (I didn't like Before She Met Me at all so we may have divergent tastes). But I like his short stories very much -- the recent Lemon Table, particularly.

 

And Pedant in the Kitchen is well worth a couple of hours of anyone's time.

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Just as the poets of the Thirties were chidingly referred to as Macspaunday, we might call the Booker crew Mcamiscareydie or something.

 

No reason to read most of this stuff.

Aside from age, do you really see any similarities between McEwan (a humorless and straightforward naturalist), Amis (a grandiloquent tragicomedian) and Carey (a sometime magic realist reborn as an historical novelist)?

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Yes, they are all middlebrow talents posing as highbrow to the general satisfaction of their agents and publishers, and the reading public.

 

(Oh well, it beats arguing about where the mac 'n' cheese recipes get posted.)

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I liked Time's Arrow by Martin Amis. But then again I read it over ten years ago, so who knows if my tastes are the same. But that last one, Yellow Dog... I bought it in the airport, couldn't get through it. Haven't read anything else of his.

 

I'm not the biggest Salman Rushdie fan but there was a great article in Granta a long time ago where he and Günter Grass critiqued each other's work. Good reading.

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