Booking a Room with a View

Join me as I shuttle and shoulder through the worlds of literature, cinema, and the awards seasons attending both.

Friday, October 17, 2008

My wife, who is in the midst of reading each Pulitzer Prize-winning work of fiction (and has crossed the midpoint in doing so), inspired me to this similar end in taking the Booker Prize as a challenge. I've followed it for a long time now and have just as long thought it the gold standard, the height to which novels should aspire in the English-speaking world. Granted, as a Commonwealth prize, it excludes American writers (unless, as was the case with Carol Shields, those writers have dual citizenships) -- meaning the National Book Critics Circle Award (open to all works of English-language fiction, American or Commonwealth) is closer to being an objective gold standard. But we all have our preferences, and I'm a Booker Prize man.

I'll make clear up front that while I've read a number of these titles before, all will be read, for this venture, anew. Despite having read Peter Carey's Oscar and Lucinda seven times in the past, for instance, I'll read it an eighth time for the purpose of commenting on it here. In addition, please note that I'll do my best to keep reviews free of spoilers and ask that readers of this blog do the same in their comments (and I hope there are comments -- I'm just as anxious to hear your thoughts on the Booker Prize-winners I read as I am to offer mine).

Let it begin -- as I begin with Graham Swift's Last Orders.

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