Annal: 1969 Man Booker Prize for Fiction

Results of the Man Booker Prize in the year 1969.

Book:Something to Answer For

Something to Answer For

P.H. Newby

It was 1956 and he was in Port Said. About these two facts he was reasonably certain but a murderous attack left him certain about little else – maybe just the conviction that the British usually did the right thing and that to be a crook a man must assume the society he lived in was honest.

He had been summoned to Egypt by the widow of an old friend, Elie Khoury, who had been found dead in the street. Murdered? Nobody but the widow seemed to think so. Confusingly, Townrow had a half-memory of Elie’s body being buried at sea. And what about Leah Strauss? Evidently he was having an affair with her, but there were times when he wondered whether he would turn out to be her American husband. If he was her American husband why did his memories appear to be Irish? And only an Englishman, surely, would take it for granted that the British behaved themselves. The arrival of the British paratroops was the final perplexity. …[more]

Book:Figures in a Landscape

Figures in a Landscape

Barry England

Book:From Scenes Like These

From Scenes Like These

Gordon Williams

Set in a small west of Scotland town in the 1950’s, this novel by the author of Straw Dogs is the powerful and violent story of Duncan Logan, an adolescent growing up fast in the austere years after the Second World War. His father is brutal, his life seems drab and pointless, and the future looks bleak. As his world begins to crumble around him, Duncan searches desperately for a way out, only to find himself trapped in a downward spiral of betrayal and violence….

Book:Impossible Object

Impossible Object

Nicholas Mosley

“The object of life is impossible; one cuts out fabrication and creates reality. A mirror is held to the back of the head and one’s hand has to move the opposite way from what was intended.”

In these closing lines from Impossible Object, one has embodied both Nicholas Mosley’s subject of love and imagination, as well as his unmatched lyric style. In eight carefully connected stories that are joined by introspective interludes on related subjects, the author pursues the notion, through the lives of a couple seen by different narrators, that “those who like unhappy ends can have them, and those who don’t will have to look for them.” The impossible object of the title, “the triangle that can exist in two dimensions but not in three,” is a controlling symbol for the impossibility of realizing the good life unless one recognizes the impossibility of attaining it: only then can it be possible to realize it, through a kind of renunciation,…[more]

Book:The Nice and the Good

The Nice and the Good

Iris Murdoch

This richly peopled novel revolves around a happily married couple, Kate and Octavian, and deals with love in its many aspects. The resonant sub-plot involves murder and black magic as the novel leads us through stress and terror to a joyous conclusion.

Book:The Public Image

The Public Image

Muriel Spark

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