So as I round the corner into The Mall with Buck House ahead of me, the marathon reading project hobbles towards the finish line.It's been an excellent reading project and I've really enjoyed wandering around other blogs that have been doing likewise.
So my final Booker Prize thoughts must be shared today and here am I, a completely subjective jury of precisely one with only 4.5 out of the 6 books read. I'm disappointed that The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai was the final casualty in an inevitable bout of terminal Bookeritis and rather a large dose of Edward St Aubyn.Kiran, pop over to Edward's table and blame him.
Six lucky reading groups have been contributing to a blog on the Man Booker website so I've pretended to join in with them but it's been very frustrating and involved a lot of shouting at my laptop screen as I want to take up so many points they've made about the books.Bit like reading this blog probably.
One group threw out The Secret River by Kate Grenville immediately, hated it as of one and that has been almost one of my best reads of the year.I thought Kate Grenville's story was deeply engaging and her even-handed treatment of the issues masterly. Not once did she let it slip, no judgements, everything left to the reader.Does that make it good enough to win?
We all seem to be agreed on The Country of Men by Hisham Matar, that was the half read one here and then the library called it back so I haven't reviewed it, not a winner for anyone but a choice for more than one of the big Lit Eds apparently. (N.B. that could be significant)
Mother's Milk came in for a good deal of flak as it did here initially.Someone wanted to give our hero Patrick a good kick up the backside to which I wanted to say "oh no, please don't, you don't understand" now that I have entered the enlightened world of born-again St Aubyn-ness.However, and it's a big however, the book still doesn't really stand alone for me and it must if it is to win.Yes it's funny and sad, wry and often disturbing and reading it again after Some Hope with back story in mind I absolutely loved it, but nothing can detract from that rather confused and ambivalent first reading.The question is can I persuade myself to make allowances?
Carry Me Down by M.J.Hyland was another much maligned and seemingly (to me) misunderstood book with disturbing overtones of incest for some and that really did have me screaming at the screen.I thought it was a perfectly crafted book of immense depths but clearly one that could be misinterpreted.
Several groups have made The Nightwatch by Sarah Waters a clear winner and although it was a good read it isn't a clear winner here and some Lit Eds are saying it's far too populist to win,so confusion reigneth and now I must cast my vote...
I'll think about it all day while I minister to the health needs of the nation and put up the winner of
my Devon Booker later. I might spring a big surprise, who knows.