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October 19, 2011 3:50 AM   Subscribe

Julian Barnes Wins the 2011 Man Booker Prize. [Guardian] Fourth time lucky for Julian Barnes, who wins the Man Booker prize 2011 for his novel The Sense of an Ending after missing out on three previous occasions.
posted by Fizz (20 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
I've read The History Of The World In 10 1/2 Chapters. It was excellent. I'm glad to see him getting honored.
posted by hippybear at 4:06 AM on October 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


He really is a fantastic writer, but the buzz seems to be this is a consalation prize, i haven't read The Sense of An Ending though
posted by PinkMoose at 4:20 AM on October 19, 2011


It does seem to have an Oscar kind of vibe, you know: "Reward the career...not the nomination."
posted by Fizz at 4:23 AM on October 19, 2011


There have to be some kind of stats out there that show how quickly various online booksellers start to promote their stock of the author of newly gotten awards. Right?

Its gotta be the closest book selling nerds come to their day at the races.

But for reals...I wait for the Booker prize to come out and then read the work. I never would have heard of it otherwise. And besides Roy...I've REALLY enjoyed all of them. So thanks, Man...Booker! I'm off to buy from the retailer that has this...and if there are multiple, then the cheapest (sigh...prolly amazon).
posted by hal_c_on at 4:40 AM on October 19, 2011


Salon has a really good take on 'What makes a book great?' and the various hoopla and kerfuffles that surround book awards and prizes.

My favourite part of this article:

"Furthermore, in response to what they regard as the creeping lowbrowism of the Booker, a group of malcontents, led by literary agent Andrew Kidd, is floating the idea of an alternative, to be called the Literature Prize, for novels that are “unsurpassed in their quality and ambition” without regard to popular appeal."
posted by Fizz at 4:49 AM on October 19, 2011


I've read and enjoyed several of Barnes' books (Flaubert's Parrot being a particular fave) and agree that he probably deserves this pat on the back. But I've gradually gone off him. Hard to pin it down precisely, but there's something rather controlled and prissy, hygienic and just a bit too smart-alec and smug that begins to grate after a while. Sometimes you really need the undisciplined wildness of someone like Lawrence.....
posted by gallus at 4:52 AM on October 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


Well deserved in general, but fairly typically for the Booker this isn't by any means his best book (Flaubert's Parrot imo). Arthur and George was better.

It's well worth a read but I thought it depended too much on the impact of the revelations towards the end. Some characters behave rather strangely in ways which seem purely designed to ramp up the tension and preserve the mystery in advance. Moreover, the gist of the revelations is not in fact that difficult to foresee.

All that said, I think it was definitely the right choice from among the finalists, and if you're thinking of reading it, do.
posted by Segundus at 4:59 AM on October 19, 2011


Arthur and George was better

The George part was a tremendous book, the Arthur part got a little tedious.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:11 AM on October 19, 2011


I was totally underwhelmed by this book - kind of a not-very-interesting short story strung out to book length. That said, of the four short-listed books I read, it was not the worst one. That says a lot for this year's list.
posted by Megami at 6:22 AM on October 19, 2011


I agree with Megami that this guy is seriously over-rated. Chris Priest got it right when he said: I felt I was trapped in a corner of a room by a well-spoken and endlessly polite English nonentity, who wanted to tell me of his many conventional insights into the human psyche.
posted by aeshnid at 6:30 AM on October 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


Fourth time **lucky**? It's not like he won a raffle...
posted by pjdoland at 7:06 AM on October 19, 2011


Haven't read it yet, but I loved History of the World and Flaubert's Parrot, so it's nice to see him getting recognized.
posted by brand-gnu at 7:07 AM on October 19, 2011


If you haven't read Julian Barnes, I beg you not to judge him based on this book.

I've read most of his stuff, and this is definitely one of his weakest. He should have gotten the Booker for Flaubert's parrot or Arthur & George. That said, I'm not sure this is the right way to correct previous oversights.
posted by vacapinta at 7:47 AM on October 19, 2011


I've read most of his stuff, and this is definitely one of his weakest.

So it is Amsterdam all over again?
posted by ninebelow at 7:58 AM on October 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


I haven't read him in a while, but have to say that I enjoyed Talking it Over so so much and reread it every few years. Flaubert's Parrot was good too, but Talking it Over is my favorite by far. Although Flaubert's Parrot has one of my English professors making an appearance, which was pretty cool.
posted by sweetkid at 8:14 AM on October 19, 2011



"Furthermore, in response to what they regard as the creeping lowbrowism of the Booker, a group of malcontents, led by literary agent Andrew Kidd, is floating the idea of an alternative, to be called the Literature Prize, for novels that are “unsurpassed in their quality and ambition” without regard to popular appeal."


They must have read our thread. Hopefully next year's Booker nomination involves James T Kirk saving the planet from zombie Jedi.
posted by Stagger Lee at 8:26 AM on October 19, 2011


I think that the PEN/Faulkner Award at least aspires to be a prize for works of fiction that are "unsurpassed in their quality and ambition, without regard to popular appeal."
posted by Uncle Chaos at 9:42 AM on October 19, 2011


pjdolan: Fourth time **lucky**? It's not like he won a raffle...

Julian Barnes famously described the Booker Prize as "posh bingo." So in a sense he did.
posted by Kattullus at 9:52 AM on October 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


hall_c_on:
There have to be some kind of stats out there that show how quickly various online booksellers start to promote their stock of the author of newly gotten awards. Right?

Its gotta be the closest book selling nerds come to their day at the races.


This year the prevalence of story based (rather than language/literary based) titles has made selling the nominated books ultra easy. This year's shortlist has sold better than any other in the prize's history.
posted by emilycardigan at 11:04 AM on October 19, 2011


I'm all for readability, but I am concerned that the rush for easy and accessible. could displace something. We need room for both the literary, and the accessible, and stomping on one to elevate the other isn't a particularly good idea. Personally, I'd leave the traditional havens of literature to the the literary, and if you want something a little bit more accessible... there are places for that as well.

‘I hope you choose something readable this year.’ is a pretty sad request. If you're consistently frustrated with the genre chosen by the judges, perhaps it's the wrong contest for you. Much as I wouldn't go to a fantasy convention and demand more ray guns and martians.
posted by Stagger Lee at 11:50 AM on October 19, 2011


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