It's been a strange year for the Booker Prize: there was a betting scandal, but other than that nobody seemed especially excited. Dovegreyreader didn't review the longlist and what were we to do without a female point of view? It was a loss to the publishers not to have her reading along. I noticed less raucousness among Booker bloggers this year--nobody can seriously regard Kevin from Canada or Asylum as rowdies--and there were fewer big names on the shortlist. I enjoyed Peter Carey's novel, but neglected to read the others on the shortlist, having eliminated three of the longlisted novels with the usual strangled "De gustibus non est disputandum."
There's been much ado about Howard Jacobson's novel being the first comic novel to win the Booker Prize. Fortunately, Jacobson pointed out in an interview with The Guardian that this was not true. "Kingsley Amis's The Old Devils won in 1986. That was comic. Even Salman Rushdie [who won with Midnight's Children] knows he is writing in the comic tradition of Rabelais and Cervantes."
The National Book Award finalists have also been announced today. The fiction finalists are:
Nicole Krauss's Great House
Lionel Shriver's So Much for That
Peter Carey's Parrot and Olivier in America
Jaimy Gordon's Lord of Misrule
Karen Tei Yamashita's I Hotel
Perhaps I'll read one or two of these, but I've read so many contemporary books lately that I am longing for the classics.