Tim Lott argues that the Booker selections traditionally have been humorless, dull offerings consisting of “second-rate magic realism, polemic about sexual politics or intellectual puzzles.” Lott may overstate his case. Still, leaving aside the fact that he believes Captain Corelliâ€™s Mandolin should have won the prize (to be fair, he also mentions Trainspotting and High Fidelity), I agree with the main thrust of his argument, namely “that a truly great book reaches out beyond the groves of academe and the literary demi-mondes of the London establishment and talks to the people.” (Via Bookslut.)
Last week I linked to some articles about Clare Morrall’s Booker nomination and the many years she spent struggling to get published. A friend sends email about Morrall’s success and the benefits of publication by a small house:
Astonishing Splashes of Colour has been rejected by 33 agents at various points in [Morrall’s] career and this book is her first published but fourth written…. It really got me thinking that being published by a tiny publisher is a disadvantage for everything except getting on the Booker list. If publishers are allowed to submit, I think, two titles per imprint, then most big publishers have already committed (often contractually) to submit their big names, and someone like Morrall would never get in the running. Likewise for 2002 winner Yann Martel, published by the independent Canongate.
Here’s another link to that Morrall interview that ran in the Guardian last Wednesday.