Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Anne Enright wins 2007 Man Booker Prize

The bookies were proved hopelessly wrong again tonight,
as a 12-1 outsider won the 2007 Man Booker Prize for Fiction.
Anne Enright won the £50,000 Prize for her novel The Gathering.

Top of the Pile: The Gathering by Anne Enright

It seems that, as with John Banville two years ago, literary style won out over other factors. Although beautifully written, the subject matter (a sister trying to make sense of her family history following the suicide of her abused younger brother) is, as Howard Davies (chair of the judges) admitted during his speech tonight, bleak and depressing.

Another judge, Giles Foden, perhaps gave a clue to the way the wind was blowing in his article in The Guardian last month, when he expressed surprise at "the degree of importance ascribed to subject matter [and] sympathy with main characters".

So tsk to anyone who thinks reading literary fiction should be enjoyable.

Even people who liked The Gathering found it horrible.
As some of the comments posted on the official Man Booker Prize website forum illustrate:

"It's been a long time since I've read such a well-written, mean-spirited book. The Gathering is a nasty book, and I'm glad the bitter taste didn't turn the judges away." (monochrome)

"What a hateful book...depressing, dark and utterly miserable. Thank goodness it was only short, but I still resent the 2 lost evenings spent trawling through this." (cassietthenovellovers)

And there is one review of The Gathering which was given the following list of tags: "suicide, sexual abuse, family saga, alcoholism, Ireland, female perspective, Enright, Anne, first person narrator."

You have been warned.

There was an altogether happier gathering earlier in the day when the six shortlisted authors met at Hatchards Bookshop in Piccadilly.
The six shortlisted authors: Nicola Barker, Mohsin Hamid, Indra Sinha, Anne Enright, Lloyd Jones and Ian McEwan

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