Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Martha & Ira

The winner of the Man Booker prize for 2005 will be announced in about 45 minutes time at a glittering ceremony at the Guildhall in London - it will be around 10pm local time. BBC2 is providing live national television coverage. Will Good Morning Australia be crossing over to cover it? Perhaps not.

At any rate, this green cloth-covered eccentricity by Julian Barnes is the bookies favorite to win. But while it is hard not to include Flaubert's Parrot (1985) in any list of all time greats, Barnes has been spiralling downwards ever since and this workmanlike, enjoyable tale doesn't really reverse the trend.

Actually it's rather reminiscent of David Lodge's recent retelling of the last years of Henry James' life, and his unfortunate foray into the theatre - Author! Author! (2004)- which had the same oddly disengaged authorial stance. As in, hmm, time to write another book, don't care about much anymore, how about a historical reconstruction?

Or is to say that to naively miss the allegorical dimension, the commentary on injustice and race in contemporary Britain? Don't think so, sorry, no.

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