“Prose both scabrous and poetic.” – Publishers Weekly. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “A sheer pleasure.” – Tana French. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville. “The effortless cool of Elmore Leonard at his peak.” – Ray Banks. “A fine writer at the top of his game.” – Lee Child.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

On Putting The Boot Into The Booker Prize

I like to think that Dan Kavanagh got mouldy drunk on Guinness somewhere in London last night. It’s been many years since I’ve read Julian Barnes, who last night won the 2011 Man Booker prize for his latest novel - or novella - THE SENSE OF AN ENDING, and while I vaguely remember liking both FLAUBERT’S PARROT and A HISTORY OF THE WORLD IN 10½ CHAPTERS, I don’t remember an awful lot more about them. Which probably says a lot more about me than it does about Julian Barnes and his novels.
  On the other hand, I do remember hugely enjoying PUTTING THE BOOT IN, a crime novel Barnes published under the pseudonym Dan Kavanagh, not least because said Dan Kavanagh’s official biography made him out to be something of a rogue, and one who hailed from my home patch of County Sligo into the bargain. Anyway, I did a short write-up of PUTTING THE BOOT IN - which is only one of the Dan Kavanagh novels; there were four in total, as far as I know - back in 2008, which you can find roundabout here.
  So there you have it - a Booker Prize winner with a rather decent half-canon of crime novels under his belt, as announced by Dame Stella Rimington, the former head of MI5 and a thriller writer who chaired the judging panel. A cunning black ops sortie by the crime fraternity? Have we shuffled another step closer to the day when a fully-fledged crime writer scoops the establishment’s glittering prize? You’d hope not, or at least I’d hope not - but it is starting to look like an inevitability …

5 comments:

seana said...

That's cool. I'll have to try and find one of those Dan Kavanaughs.

adrian mckinty said...

Dec

I dont know. With real unemployment in England at 20%, with London erupting into riot, with the demonisation of "chavs" and the "lower orders" everywhere in the British media once again the Booker Prize goes to a boarding school educated member of the upper classes. I imagine it was Julian Barnes's turn but that's no excuse. 5% of the British population goes to private school yet they dominate things like the Booker Prize, the BBC, the British cinema etc. They claim to speak for England but they don't. They speak for a very very small section of England. The Booker Prize is a meaningless achievement award for nice, safe, Islington based authors who know nothing about contemporary life and could care less.

Bill Carlin said...

I gave up on the Booker after William Golding won in 1980 ahead of Anthony Burgess' "Earthly Powers" (still one of my favourite books of all time). I hadn't realised that Barnes wrote the excellent Dan Kavanagh novels but I did enjoy his novel "Arthur & George" based on Conan Doyle's involvement in the George Edalji case. (Again I would argue that Conan Doyle is an Irish crime writer, the grandaddy of them all, despite a Scottish birthplace.)

adrian mckinty said...

Bill

Earthly Powers got on my nerves after a while. English Catholics of that generation do rather go on about their religion.

Sally Spedding said...

I'll def.read Declan's 'Absolute Zero Cool' because it is 'cross-genre.'
This ridiculous, artificial genre categorising should go, then perhaps The Booker judges might enjoy a few surprises. The reading public, too.
Come on all you writers,jump out of your 'boxes.' Get real...