12 July 2007

Bottom 5 Booker winners

Although it is always rewarding to create a top 10 list, I think it is much more fun to ridicule others by creating a bottom 5 list. These novels are putrid. They are so fallacious in their success as Booker "winners" that I must do my literary duty and point out how awful they truly are.

reading them may cause loss of brain cells and will certainly
result in wasted straining of your cornea

#5 - Hotel du Lac, Anita Brookner, 1984
Considered by many critics as the lamest "winner", this book is awful simply for its simplicity. A woman takes a retreat at a mountain spa. Lamo. Redeeming quality - it is only 192 pages.

#4 - The bone People - Keri Hulme, 1985
This novel has a Maori to English translation at the back. I admit, an interesting touch. However, not when every paragraph has a Maori word in it. I spent more time flipping to the back than reading the damn book. Hey Keri, recipe to piss off your readers, put 15% of the book in a different language and then purposefully instruct your publisher that you will not accept an editor review the book - I'm not kidding, Hulme leaves a note at the front of the book stating that it was not proofread or edited. Talk about pretentious.

#3 - Something to answer for - P.H. Newby, 1969
The booker almost didn't get off the ground thanks to this pathetic entry as the inaugural winner. Newby has something to answer for alright, a crappy book.

#2 - Holiday, Stanley Middleton, 1974
Quite frankly, I know that I read it, but I don't remember this book. It is awful for different reasons than the previous 3 entries. It was a co-winner with Nadine Gordimer, which leads me to believe that Middleton's grandmother, mom and sister were on the jury, and all couldn't stomach telling Stanley how bad his novel was, so decided on co-winners instead - this way, at least one good book from 1974 would be a winner.

#1 - Ghost Road, Pat Barker, 1995
This is the 3rd book in a trilogy. Tell me, how good was Rocky III? How about The Godfather 3? Jaws 3? There is something to be said about awarding a prize to a volume in a trilogy. That something is this "are you retarded booker judges?" This is the story of a bi-sexual officer in WWI, and how he got dirty in the trenches. Seriously, the protagonist is recovering from shell shock in a veteran hospital. I wish there was a place I could go to recover from this book. The novel itself is not badly written. On the contracry, Barker is quite an astute novelist. But the story is just awful. Perhaps there were worse winners, but for me, this one takes the cake.

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