Annal: 1991 Man Booker Prize for Fiction

Results of the Man Booker Prize in the year 1991.

Book:The Famished Road

The Famished Road

Ben Okri

Set in an unnamed African country at an unspecified time (though the similarities with Nigeria in the early 1960s are unmistakable), The Famished Road is narrated by Azaro, an African spirit-child or abiku who, in the folklore of southern Nigeria, is destined to move continually between life and spiritual paradise in an unending cycle of infant death and rebirth. Azaro, however, is tired of never staying long enough to experience life, and decides on this occasion to remain, “to put”, he says, “a smile on my mother’s face”.

Pursued by vengeful spirits, and endowed with special powers that lead him into mischief, Azaro introduces us to a whole world of wonders—to his mother and father, an impoverished market trader and a load carrier struggling courageously to keep their dignity and their independence; to Madame Koto, the local bar owner whose journey from innocence to corruption mirrors the realities…[more]

Book:Reading Turgenev

Reading Turgenev

William Trevor

Mary Louise Dallon, fearful of being trapped forever in her parents’ cramped farmhouse, is too naive to resist the limited attractions of the nearby small town in the provincial Ireland of 1955. A hasty marriage leads to despair and desolation.

Book:The Redundancy of Courage

The Redundancy of Courage

Timothy Mo

An Indonesian island is hastily given independence, and a Chinese-educated homosexual who was born on the island returns from his Canadian university to find his life radically altered. The story represents an account of a post-colonial disaster.

Book:Such a Long Journey

Such a Long Journey

Rohinton Mistry

It is Bombay in 1971, the year India went to war over what was to become Bangladesh. A hard-working bank clerk, Gustad Noble is a devoted family man who gradually sees his modest life unravelling. His young daughter falls ill; his promising son defies his father’s ambitions for him. He is the one reasonable voice amidst the ongoing dramas of his neighbours. One day, he receives a letter from an old friend, asking him to help in what at first seems like an heroic mission. But he soon finds himself unwittingly drawn into a dangerous network of deception. Compassionate, and rich in details of character and place, this unforgettable novel charts the journey of a moral heart in a turbulent world of change.

Book:Time's Arrow

Time's Arrow: Or the Nature of the Offense

Martin Amis

In Time’s Arrow the doctor Tod T. Friendly dies and then feels markedly better, breaks up with his lovers as a prelude to seducing them, and mangles his patients before he sends them home. And all the while Tod’s life races backward toward the one appalling moment in modern history when such reversals make sense.

Book:The Van (Roddy Doyle)

The Van

Roddy Doyle

Jimmy Rabbitte, Sr. is unemployed, spending his days alone and miserable. When his best friend, Bimbo, also gets laid off, they keep by being miserable together. Things seem to look up when they buy a decrepit fish-and-chip van and go into business, selling cheap grub to the drunk and the hungry—and keeping one step ahead of the environmental health officers.

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