October 2007

The GatheringThe Gathering Wins the Man Booker Prize 2007:

Anne Enright was tonight (Tuesday 16 October) named the winner of the £50,000 Man Booker Prize for Fiction for her novel The Gathering, published by Jonathan Cape.

Enright, 45, is the second Irish woman to win the prize, joining compatriots Iris Murdoch, Roddy Doyle and John Banville who won the prize in 1978, 1993 and 2005 respectively.


Read review of The Gathering at Guardian Unlimited.


On Chesil BeachIan McEwan’s latest novella, On Chesil Beach, has been short-listed for the Man Booker Prize. Interesting to note because the rules of the Man Booker stipulate that it cannot consider the novella form for the award. Regardless of its word-length, On Chesil Beach is an impressive entanglement of unspoken thoughts and unrequited desires, what McEwan best describes as being “trapped in the moment by private anxieties”.

Set just before the sexual revolution (as poet Philip Larkin wrote, “Sexual intercourse began/ In nineteen sixty-three”) McEwan’s omniscient narrator details the wedding night of virginal couple, Edward and Florence. It is a telling wrought with a sharp awareness of time and place: our occupations and opinions at a certain time in life, and the personal responsibilities we have to accept for them in the future. Later on Edward replies to his future mother-in-laws probing about “our history and our guilty natures”, by saying, “The difference between then and now was more important than the similarity”.