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Lost Booker Winner Found

As a book-award nerd, I am always open to award stunts, though sometimes skeptical. One of my favorites is the 40th anniversary "Lost Man Booker Prize" this year. The Man Booker archivists realized that there was a lost year in the early Booker days, when they changed their eligibility requirements and skipped a full year's worth of books published in 1970. I love the idea of filling that gap, and I love the lost-classics feel of the list of nominees they put together, with no unanimous classic bigfooting around but lots of names and titles that have survived (barely, at times) the decades as readers' favorites. Here was the shortlist (which Lauren linked to back in April):

I must confess that I haven't read any of the six, but Hazzard and Spark have been on my own shortlist of literary crushes the last few years for other books of theirs, and I've been wanting to read Patrick White (for the cover alone!) for some time. But the winner, announced today, apparently by a more decisive margin than the recent UK elections, was Farrell's Troubles. The fact that Troubles is an NYRB Classic alone makes me want to read it--I've also had The Siege of Krishnapur, the sequel to Troubles, which won a real-life Booker in 1973, on my to-read list for a while.

All good stuff, although I'm not a fan of the voting system, which was open to the public on the Man Booker website. Not that I mind the public voting, but one good thing about a prize jury is that (one assumes) they've at least read all the nominees, and aren't just voting for the one they happen to have read. So take the result with whatever size salt grain you like, but regardless, it's an appealing reading list for anyone who wants to make their own choice. The Guardian did a nice roundup during the voting, with writers' short pleas for their favorites on the list, and the Times held a live debate as well. --Tom

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I've read 4 of the 6 books, read Farrell's Troubles twice, and think its a splendid choice.

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