Actually that's a daft headline, Sebastian Barry wouldn't gatecrash anything. I imagine he has a soft Irish lilt to his voice and would just whisper his way in past the bouncers on the door, perhaps add in a little Michael Flatley jump and a squiggle.
I have anguished so extensively over The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry I think I need a holiday, so it's a good thing I've got one coming up. I thought I couldn't forgive the ending now that the book was in Booker territory but I've decided I just have to. I mean I wrote this about it after all,
'Some books are just a blessing.
To read them is to be elevated to some higher literary plain and it would seem that any topic happening to stray into Sebastian Barry's poetic writing firmament can expect to get the treatment. It's difficult not to sink into descriptive cliche but the book is hauntingly elegiac and here it is the life of Roseanne McNulty which is so beautifully crafted in such exquisitely carved prose. Quite breathtaking to read line after line of it to be honest and this is most certainly not a book to rush. I just savoured every single word and couldn't bear to turn the final page.'
Yes, I know I got completely carried away but you know me, and then this about the worrisome ending,
'If I have the vaguest hint of a shadow of the merest sliver of a doubt it concerns the ending.
Far be it from me to unplait Sebastian's carefully woven and intricately wrought, nay masterly, storytelling, but in my very humble opinion the book could have easily coped with uncertainty in its final pages, in fact much within suggested that would be the case. Had Sebastian gently left me wandering in that melancholy but deeply poetic place to which he seems to transport a reader I would have thrived. But let nothing mar the accolades, the writing is far far too memorable for anything so minor to stand in its way.'
Forgiveness is mine to bestow so I'm cutting a deal, because if Sebastian Barry were to get past the second hurdle, and with the prize in his sights, it might mean more people would check out his backlist and read A Long Long Way the best book that never won the Booker and that would be a result. I just love Sebastian Barry's writing too much to leave him off my shortlist and if he wins the Booker with The Secret Scripture, well that's a result too.This should all tell you that I've allowed seven books onto my shortlist, for the hell of it because it's my party and I can cheat if I want to.
So that means seven lucky winners for this year's Bookerthon because there is a prize-draw copy of The Secret Scripture too and my thanks to Faber for that. Names in comments and Rocky and Mrs Glosser will finish up all the prize draws this evening.