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One of the Guardian Unlimited Books' top 10 literary blogs: "A home-grown treasure ... smart, serious analysis"

The Bookaholics' Guide to Book Blogs: "Mark Thwaite ... has a maverick, independent mind"

Wednesday 12 October 2005

Ellis on t'Booker

Boyd Tonkin is livid that the Booker judges, "made possibly the worst, certainly the most perverse, and perhaps the most indefensible choice" in choosing Jonn Banville's bloated The Sea as this year's winner. Ellis has a different take:

I didn’t bother watching the Booker, in part because I couldn’t care less who won. I have no idea whether or not The Sea is a great novel or not, but Boyd Tonkin’s anger certainly made it sound interesting ... What annoys Tonkins also annoyed the Sunday Times reviewer, who grumbled that “Banville has a talent for sensuous phrasing and pungent observation of human frailty, but in other areas important for fiction – plot, character, pacing, suspense – The Sea is a crashing disappointment.” But Banville evidently intends to disappoint those readers who think that serious fiction should aspire to the condition of genre fiction, where suspense and characterisation in primary colours is everything.

Ellis then helpfully reproduces the whole of Banville's excoriating review of Ian McEwan's Saturday (also scathingly - and superbly - reviewed by Ellis in his The Politics of Ian McEwan' Saturday.)

Posted by Mark Thwaite

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Omens, after Alexander Pushkin

I rode to meet you: dreams
like living beings swarmed around me
and the moon on my right side
followed me, burning.

I rode back: everything changed.
My soul in love was sad
and the moon on my left side
trailed me without hope.

To such endless impressions
we poets give ourselves absolutely,
making, in silence, omen of mere event,
until the world reflects the deepest needs of the soul.

-- Louise Gluck
Averno (Carcanet Press)

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Pre-order Anu Garg's new book: The Dord, the Diglot, and an Avocado or Two: The Hidden Lives and Strange Origins of Common and Not-So-Common Words (ISBN 9780452288614), published by Penguin more …

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