Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Erica Wagner's bad Booker beat

Erica Wagner, the literary editor of the Times (London), recently listed her Booker Prize top six.

The only one on the list that was not a winner:

Master Georgie by Beryl Bainbridge (1998)

Ian McEwan won this year for the slight Amsterdam. A real shame.

See the 1998 shortlist here.

As I wrote here, "the interesting angle for me in 1998 was that McEwan published another novel, Enduring Love, and I had a slight preference for it over Amsterdam."

Bainbridge's Every Man For Himself is one of my favorite books by a living author, and The Birthday Boys is also very good.

The Guardian summed up the critical verdict on her work:
She has experimented in many genres - drawing on a Liverpool childhood for her early work, writing a travel book (English Journey) and recently excelling at historical fiction (Every Man For Himself was a brilliant retelling of the Titanic story, The Birthday Boys charted the Scott expedition, Master Georgie follows Liverpudlians in the Crimean War). Overlooked at the beginning of her career, her no-word-wasted style and tight plotting have now won her critical acclaim and a committed following.
Click here to read chapter one from Master Georgie, and click here to read news and reviews of Bainbridge's books in the New York Times.

Previous "bad Booker beats":
In praise of David Mitchell
Martyn Goff's bad Booker beat
The Booker Prize's "Henry Fonda" year
On the Booker and other literary prizes

--Marshal Zeringue