It’s Man Booker Prize time again, and this year it’s been won by Howard Jacobson for his black comedy The Finkler Question. I won’t be reading it just yet as (typically) I’ve only just started on last year’s winner – Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall, and I’ve got about 600 pages to go. So more on that later. Jacobson’s victory seems to have come as a surprise to everyone – except the judges, of course. Some critics are calling it a ‘marmite’ book – you either love it or hate it. Others have even suggested the judging panel may have been split, with the result that the book that won was nobody’s first preference. Perhaps who ever it was that said that winning the Man Booker is more like winning a lottery than a prize was right.
I’ve written a brief introduction to the Man Booker Prize, and made some observations about what it means to say the prize is given to the ‘best’ novel published each year. You can look at these here. And reviews of all the shortlisted books, including of course the winner, can be found at here.