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Likely Stories

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Keir Graff and editors from Booklist's adult and youth departments write candidly about books, book reviewing, and the publishing industry

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007 8:36 am
Anne Enright Wins the Man Booker
Posted by: Keir Graff

Well, well, well. I knew it. Well, I didn’t know it, but in getting excited about the horse race between Lloyd Jones and Ian McEwan, I forgot to insert a line reading, “…but, of course, I’m sure it will be Anne Enright, a real long-shot, who comes from behind to pip them both at the post.”

And wouldn’t you know it? (Read our starred review of The Gathering.)

Far from climbing the podium and shouting, “I’m queen of the world!”, Enright promptly issued a disclaimer (“Anne Enright Wins Booker Prize,” by Jill Lawless, AP):

Enright said people looking for a cheery read should not pick up her book. “It is the intellectual equivalent of a Hollywood weepy,” she said.

Even the judges weren’t exactly pumping their fists:

Howard Davies, the chairman of the judging panel, acknowledged the book was “a little bleak” in places, but praised it as “a very readable novel.” 

“Readable”? “Readable”?! You may know prestigious-book-award-judging, pal, but stay away from book reviewing. A couple of weeks ago I heard Booklist Adult Books Editor Brad Hooper tell a roomful of librarians that “readable,” being essentially meaningless, was likely to make him return a review to sender for rewriting. One hopes that an unreadable novel wouldn’t be shortlisted by the Booker, much less take home the prize.



One Response to “Anne Enright Wins the Man Booker”
  1. Book Blog - Likely Stories, by Keir Graff - Booklist Online » Blog Archive » Jiang Rong Wins the Man Asian Says:

    [...] You thought the Man Booker Prize was yesterday’s news? Think again! Chinese writer Jiang Rong has won the first-ever Man Asian Literary Prize for his novel Wolf Totem. From Reuters (”Chinese writer wins first Man Asian literary prize,” by James Pomfret): “He was completely unknown, this book came completely left field,” said Jo Lusby, general manager for Penguin China. [...]

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