Annal: 1986 Man Booker Prize for Fiction

Results of the Man Booker Prize in the year 1986.

Book:The Old Devils

The Old Devils

Kingsley Amis

Do people ever really grow up? The old devils in this book are just as they have always been, but trapped in a slowly aging body. It’s like living in a house that needs repair, but the repairman never comes.

When Alun Weaver and his wife, Rhiannon, a famous beauty in her day, move into a quiet retirement community, they find it peopled by friends from former days. Suddenly all the ambitions and energies, overgrown like weeds with years, burst out afresh. In Amis’ hands the results are predictably funny.

Book:An Artist of the Floating World

An Artist of the Floating World

Kazuo Ishiguro

In the face of the misery he saw in his homeland, the bohemian artist Masuji Ono envisioned a strong and powerful Japan of the future and put his work in the service of the imperialist movement that led Japan into World War II. Now, as the mature Ono struggles through the devastation of that war, memories of his youth and of the “floating world”—the nocturnal realm of leisure, entertainment, and drink—offer him both escape and redemption, even as they punish him for betraying his early promise as an artist. Drifting in disgrace in postwar Japan, indicted by society for its defeat and reviled for his past aesthetics, he relives the personal history that makes him both a hero and a coward.

Book:Gabriel's Lament

Gabriel's Lament

Paul Bailey

Book:The Handmaid's Tale

The Handmaid's Tale: A Novel

Margaret Atwood

In the world of the near future, who will control women’s bodies?

Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are only valued if their ovaries are viable.

Offred can remember the days before, when she lived and made love with her husband Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now.

Funny, unexpected, horrifying, and altogether convincing, The Handmaid’s Tale is at once scathing satire, dire warning, and tour de force.

Book:An Insular Possession

An Insular Possession

Timothy Mo

Book:What's Bred in the Bone

What's Bred in the Bone

Robertson Davies

Francis Cornish was always good at keeping secrets. From the well-hidden family secret of his childhood to his mysterious encounters with a small-town embalmer, an expert art restorer, a Bavarian countess, and various masters of espionage, the events in Francis’s life were not always what they seemed.

In this wonderfully ingenious portrait of an art expert and collector of international renown, Robertson Davies has created a spellbinding tale of artistic triumph and heroic deceit. It is a tale told in stylish, elegant prose, endowed with lavish portions of Davies’s wit and wisdom.

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