Thursday, August 11, 2005

Parade & Booker

Day before yesterday I went to see Singapore's National Day Parade at Padang. It was an impressive show but after sitting in the sun for close to three hours, I returned home with a fever. I was gounded for a day. Was it the price exacted by my jealous Indian patriotism? I don't know.

Returned to the blogospehere today. Everyone is talking about the Booker Longlist. As expected all the bigwigs are there: Coetzee, Rushdie, Ishiguro, and Ian McEwan. Haven't read any of the selected books but Coetzee's Slow Man sounds most interesting, followed by McEwan's Saturday and Rushdie's Shalimar The Clown.

I wonder why Vikram Seth's novel (to be released at about the same time as Rushdie's Shalimar The Clown) did not make it to the longlist.

Any way, my Malaysia friends are especially happy for Tash Aw. His Harmony Silk Factory has been longlisted; and undoubtedly, it is an achievement in itself.

Two other firt-timers who have been longlisted include Marina Lewycka (A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian) and Harry Thompson (This Thing of Darkness). Marina's novel was a contender for this year's Orange also.

In all, I'd say, we have three Asian immigrant writers on the longlist: Rushdie, Ishiguro, and Aw. Three cheers!

The big question is: who is going to win the prize? Does it matter, actually? I find the prizes a little silly but my hunch is it will be McEwan. Otherwise, it can be one of the non-biggies. Let's keep our fingers crossed.

2 comments:

Susan Abraham said...

Zafar, Seth's work out in September is classified as purely non-fiction with no fictional influences at all. Hence, it does not qualify for the Booker which displays only work that is solidly labelled 'fiction' no matter what the author's orginal material sources are.

Zafar Anjum said...

Thanks Susan. I didn't know Seth's work would be categorised as non-fiction.