It's here at last and how appropriate that the Endsleigh Salon reading group chose The Booker as their theme for last Tuesday evening.
The remit was vast, any book that has been nominated, long-listed or short-listed since the beginning.
So in the beginning there was The Booker and we had a good selection of books to talk around.
I took along Animal's People by Indra Sinha because in between dashing in from work, eating a roast dinner which Bookhound had lovingly prepared and dashing out again I opened my e mails.There was an invite to the Simon & Schuster Booker Prize party for Indra Sinha to be held at The Groucho Club this very evening.I suddenly felt exceedingly well disposed towards this book.
Please note that I am flogging myself to death at the front today so I am not dressed to the nines and en route to the Groucho for a knees up, but I do wish Indra Sinha and his publishers the very best of luck this evening.
There was good honest debate about Possession by A.S.Byatt and I could only talk to the first 100 pages of that because I had a complete Possession failure back along (as we says in Devon).Interestingly it had been read by several and with apologies to ASB it got the thumbs down from all of them.
Kazuo Ishiguro had a good airing, in particular When We Were Orphans and Kazuo got a general stamp of all-round good-egg approval as we debated several of his books and all promised to read more.We all as of one recalled that our town (Tavistock) and our famous shop ( Creber's) both get a mention in The Remains of the Day.
Life of Pi by Yann Martel received a mixed welcome, love or loath, dreamy eyed or narrow slits but it certainly drew plenty of debate...not from me beyond the recall of plagiarism allegations because I haven't read it and by this time I was beginning to think some Rennies might be handy because I really had bolted that dinner.
The Orchard on Fire by Sheena McKay had been read and enjoyed recently by one of our number and several of us remembered reading this one when it first came out, but yet again I wasn't much use because I couldn't conjure up a single thing about it, but it was 1997 and the first year of my OU degree so I claim exemption.
Paradise by Abdulrazak Gurnah caught several of us on the hop but not the other several who had studied it for a degree course. I had never heard of it but it was highly praised as a good and unusual read by the several.
Lastly I must apologize to anyone who was staying at Hotel Endsleigh last Tuesday night because we got completely carried away with our discussions of On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan and were probably all talking a bit loudly over each other about topics we perhaps don't usually discuss quite so animatedly in public.If we receive an eviction notice then I will hold Ian McEwan personally responsible and he will have to come down and sort things out and explain that we were discussing the subject matter and certain events in his book and it was nothing more suggestive than that.
It was only when a member of staff put their head round the door and asked pointedly if there was anything we needed that we suddenly realised which phrases may have perhaps isolated themselves from the main conversation and floated off into the lounge where the guests were quietly sipping their drinks.
Oh dear, and those who had read it didn't think On Chesil Beach was a Booker winner either.
And where's my virtual money for the Booker Prize 2007? Well I'll let you know later.