Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Short Black List

Well, the Booker short list was out last week - an event noted rather belatedly on this site due to a quick disconnected flip to Brisbane for the writers festival of which perhaps more later.

Kiran Desai. The Inheritance of Loss - Hamish Hamilton
Kate Grenville. The Secret River - Canongate
MJ Hyland. Carry Me Down - Canongate
Hisham Matar. In the Country of Men - Viking
Edward St Aubyn. Mother’s Milk - Picador
Sarah Waters. The Night Watch - Virago

Hmm. Nice to see Carey omitted, but rather a surprise that Gordimer was overlooked. Aussie firm Text Publishing - one of the very few Australian companies to take literary fiction seriously - can celebrate contributing two authors (Grenville and Hyland) to the list. So two Aussies, two coffee colonials, a Lebanese, the usual liquorice allsorts. Only one member of the traditional British literary aristocracy, St Aubyn (Westminster, Oxford) and even he has had the odd encounter with the dark side.

Suppose there's no escaping finishing the Grenville now, abandoned after the first 60 pages due to its intensely irritating authorial perspective. To be struggled through somehow. But Booker completism will be something of a challenge with the Matar and the St Aubyn not due for publication in Australia until well after the winner is announced

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