The Calm After The Storm: Richard Flanagan Wins The 2014 Booker

on Thursday, October 16, 2014
A collective sigh of relief was heard across Bookeringham Palace yesterday as the invading hordes were chased away by a new Commonwealth literary legend. Ok, so he's not that new and, well, he's from that place what the convicts got shipped to but all hail Sir Richard of Tasmania, Lord of Literature.

It's a bit of a sad indictment on my reading habits this year but I've yet to read The Narrow Road To The Deep North. Indeed, I only managed two on the shortlist - Jacobson and Smith - neither of which I felt deserved to win. Granted it's a subjective game of relativity; I might have liked the other four even less. And, as much as it pains me to admit, it's not like I have any say in the outcome. But I'm glad Flanagan won not only because he's an Aussie (which hopefully means we can stop claiming DBC Pierre) or because giving it to a writer from the Commonwealth preserves the parochial charm of the Booker Prize but because, by all accounts, The Narrow Road To The Deep North is a deeply literary novel, a story of love, hardship and survival on the Thai Burma Railway dying WW2. In other words, Flanagan's win represents a return (albeit perhaps only briefly) to the essence of what has always made the Booker a great prize to follow. It also adds a slightly humorous dimension to his being passed over for this year's Miles Franklin. The Narrow Road To The Deep North is sitting on my bookshelf waiting for the next quiet patch in my life... which means I can look forward to reading it sometime in 2017.


Post a Comment