The judges of Britain's most prestigious literary award pick the wrong book far too often. But who could be trusted to make a better choice? Why, the readers of this blog, of course
These criticisms fall into three main camps:
Of course, it's only right that the Booker panels should tread on some toes when judging something as subjective as literature. Disagreeing with them is part of the fun, after all. Having read through a good proportion of the past winners now, I'd also say that on the whole, the Booker judges have managed to choose decent books. Even so, I have some sympathy with these complaints. It's not true that all the books are for and about the chattering classes. But lots of them are. The judging panel is (by its nature) remote and its deliberations mysterious. And much as I enjoy following the Booker, I often find the award itself a huge disappointment. Why didn't Linda Grant win last year? Why wasn't Joseph O'Neill's wonderful Netherland even shortlisted? Why did The Gathering win the year before? Why has Martin Amis never won and only been shortlisted once? Wrong. Bad. Silly. Dull. Absurd. You get the idea.