The Man Booker International Prize 2011 finalists were announced yesterday. It’s more of a “lifetime” achievement award, so no real dark horses to send us all scurrying to Wikipedia for bios and bibliographies. The general consensus is that it’s a good list, – one likely to give the three judges some sleepless nights between now and May 18th.
Wang Anvi (China)
Juan Goytisolo (Spain)
James Kelman (Scotland)
John le Carré (Great Britain)
Amin Maalouf (Lebanon)
David Malouf (Australia)
Dacia Maraini (Italy)
Rohinton Mistry (India/currently living in Canada)
Philip Pullman (Great Britain)
Marilynne Summers Robinson (U.S.A.)
Philip Roth (U.S.A.)
Su Tong (China)
Anne Tyler (U.S.A.)
It looks a bit like the World Cup, except that the U.S. might actually have a shot this year of taking it home. Especially since John le Carré has informed the judges that he doesn’t “compete”. It didn’t do him much good, the powers that be refused to accept his non-acceptance. Still, it’s made his name the most buzz-worthy on the list for now.
But it’s still anybody’s game, folks. At the time I am typing up this post, William Morris (that noble British institution) has yet to post the odds. So…quickly… who would you be willing to put money on? I’ll even allow for write-ins.
Pauline Melville had an article in the Guardian UK this week – Pauline Melville’s Top 10 Revolutionary Tales. Since I’m almost finished with Eating Air and should have the review posted soon, I recommend checking it out. Particularly as this latest novel is so preoccupied with “terrorism or freedom-fighting”. Here is an excerpt from the article:
As a child I wanted to be a trapeze artist. Under the bed I kept a tiny suitcase which contained a red sweater. I was always ready to leave if things didn’t suit me. In books too I was definitely looking for danger and adventure. Without moralising over the rights and wrongs of what, depending on your point of view, is called either terrorism or freedom-fighting, I wanted to write a book that explores the attraction of risk over security, whether for reasons of love, politics or religion. One of the themes of Eating Air is the excitement of revolutionary or terrorist action.
I know some reviewers avoid other reviews, author interviews, etc. on the books they are currently reading. They do this in order to provide un-biased opinion and I can see their point. Personally though, I hold to the John Donne school – no man is an island and all that. I prefer to contextualize my reading. Even, as cheesy as it sounds, accentuate it.
So – going into the weekend I thought I’d put up a poll. What are your preferences?
And if you have more to say, I’d love to hear it. Leave a comment after you vote.