Sunday, October 09, 2005

Muddy waters

Well meaning offers of 292 pages of ghastly Flanders and Ypres and Irish teenagers dying for England in 1918 are usually politely declined, even when they come as this one did from Barnes and Noble on Rittenhouse Square courtesy of a friendly concierge.

But self-imposed arbitrary Booker duty called and just as well, as this lovingly crafted brief text flows around the meaningless nastiness and the memorable voices and the rest of it. Soaring above the other candidates in terms of technical brilliance, depth of thought, beauty, austerity and compassion, this one wins round here…

…with Zadie Smith proxime accessit and most improved player.

Except of course that apparently The Accidental is not available in Sydney, or the States, not for love or money or other negotiable currencies. So exclude that, add in Coetzee’s Slow Man and McEwan’s Saturday if you like, and for this punter little Willie Dunne still dies winning.


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