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Posts tagged ‘Parrot and Olivier in America’

Man Booker Prize shortlist announced

The shortlist for this years Man Booker Prize was announced this morning in London. Since the judges seem to have got the notable omissions out of the way when they assembled the longlist (Ian McEwan, Martin Amis) they’re not the big news this time round, though the two books many will note the absence of are Christos Tsiolkas’ The Slap and David Mitchell’s The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet. Not having read the whole list I’m not really in a position to guess at the likely winner, but I would say that Emma Donoghue’s fictional reworking of the Natasha Kampusch story, Room, has been attracting a lot of attention, and while Tom McCarthy’s C has probably slipped under many people’s radar, if it’s made it to the shortlist I think it’d have to be the dark horse candidate. It’s also pleasing (not least because I’m an admirer of the book) to see Peter Carey shortlisted for Parrot and Olivier in America.

The six books on the shortlist are:

Peter Carey, Parrot and Olivier in America
Emma Donoghue, Room
Damon Galgut, In a Strange Room
Howard Jacobson, The Finkler Question
Andrea Levy, The Long Song
Tom McCarthy, C

In other award-related news, Sunday saw the announcement of this year’s Hugo Award for Best Novel, which was split between China Mieville’s The City and the City and Paolo Bacigalupi’s The Windup Girl, a result which seems about right to me.

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Parrot and Olivier in America

parrot-olivier-ausJust a quick note to say my review of Peter Carey’s new novel, Parrot and Olivier in America, is available on The Australian’s website.

It’s been interesting speaking to people who’ve read the piece, not least because it’s difficult to escape the feeling Carey’s burned through some of his goodwill in recent years. The reasons for that seem to be complex – certainly there’s a view the last few books have been a bit patchy – but I also suspect changing literary fashion has left his brand of big, rough-hewn post-modernity looking a little awkward in the contemporary landscape (I’d say something similar about Doctorow and Rushdie, though I have to say I think Carey’s streets ahead of either of them). Of course that’s always a problem for writers as distinctive as Carey, but I do hope it won’t stop readers seeking out this new one, not least because it’s his best book in years, and definitely up there with early masterpieces like Illywhacker. Nor am I alone in this judgement: in Saturday’s Sydney Morning Herald Andrew Reimer calls it a tour de force (not online), and Jennifer Byrne says something similar in Saturday’s Age.

And if you’re interested in reading more about Carey you might like to check out this piece I wrote for Meanjin a while back. It’s a bit long in the tooth these days but it’s got some good moments.

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