Earlier this week the long list for this year’s Man Booker Prize was announced and it was hard to miss the coincidence.
While the list of 13 authors was alphabetical, sitting atop it is also the writer who has quickly become the favorite to win his third Booker Prize — Peter Carey.
Carey, the Australian-born novelist who moved to New York some 20 years ago and now teaches at Hunter College, has already won twice — for Oscar and Lucinda and for True History of the Kelly Gang. He’s also been shortlisted for Illywhacker and longlisted for Theft: A Love Story.
The man can write.
“Next morning the Weasel slung his misbegotten bedroll across his narrow shoulders and headed off into the woods without, it seemed, a word to anyone. Concerning this departure, the printers — arguers and complainers to a man — made not a boo, although the absence of our best pressman would make more work for everyone.”
It’s from Carey’s new book, Parrot and Olivier in America, on the longlist and Carey’s first book set in America.
And it’s wonderful, certainly deserving to be on the list.
As do the others. There’s David Mitchell’s The Thousand Autumns of Jaob de Zoet and Andrew Levy’s The Love Song, a love for which I have already professed.
I have also professed a bit of disdain for prize competitions because I really believe as much as writers might enjoy recognition, they’re not necessarily writing to prove their better than someone.
So, look at the longlist not to wonder who’s better than others but maybe for the name of an author you haven’t heard of.
And pick up a book and enjoy it.
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