Results of the Man Booker Prize in the year 1993.
It is 1968. Patrick Clarke is ten. He loves George Best, Geronimo, and the smell of his hot water bottle. He hates zoos, kissing, and the boys from the Corporation houses. He can’t stand his little brother Sinbad. He wants to be a missionary like Father Damien, and he coerces the McCarthy twins and Willy Hancock into playing lepers. He never picks the scabs off his knees before they’re ready. Kevin is his best friend. Their names are all over Barrytown, written with sticks in wet cement. They play football, knickknack, jumping to the bottom of the sea. They shoplift. Robbing Football Monthly means four million years in purgatory. But a good confession before you died and you’d go straight to heaven. Paddy wants to know why no one jumped in for him when Charles Leavy had been going to kill him. He wants to stop his da arguing with his ma. He’s confused: he sees everything, but he understands less and less.
From the acclaimed author of Cambridge comes an ambitious, formally inventive, and intensely moving evocation of the scattered offspring of Africa. It begins in a year of failing crops and desperate foolishness, which forces a father to sell his three children into slavery. Employing a brilliant range of voices and narrative techniques, Caryl Phillips folows these exiles across the river that separates continents and centuries.
Phillips’s characters include a freed slave who journeys to Liberia as a missionary in the 1830s; a pioneer woman seeking refuge from the white man’s justice on the Colorado frontier; and an African-American G.I. who falls in love with a white Englishwoman during World War II. Together these voices make up a “many-tongued chorus” of common memory—and one of the most stunning works of fiction ever to address the lives of black people severed from their homeland.
In Remembering Babylon David Malouf gives us a rich and compelling novel, in language of astonishing poise and resonance, about the settling of the continent down under, Australia, and the vicissitudes of first contact with the unknown. In the mid-1840s a thirteen-year-old cabin boy, Gemmy Fairley, is cast ashore from a British shipwreck onto the Queensland coast, and is taken in by aborigines. Sixteen years later, three children from a white settlement come upon this apparition: “The stick-like legs, all knobbed at the joints, suggested a wounded waterbird, a brolga, or a human that in the manner of the tales they told one another, all spells and curses, had been changed into a bird, but only halfway, and now, neither one thing nor the other, was hopping and flapping towards them out of a world over there, beyond the no-mans-land of the swamps…of nightmare rumours, superstitions and all that belonged to Absolute Dark.” …[more]
At the heart of Michael Ignatieff’s riveting novel about a woman’s descent into neurological illness are the tangled threads of a Midwestern family, frayed by time and tragedy yet still connected—as much by pride, embarrassed love, and sibling rivalry as by the painful ties of familial loyalty.
A philosophy professor watches helplessly as his mother sinks into the mysterious depths of an unknown illness. His efforts to understand her gradual deterioration—from innocently misplaced eyeglasses and endlessly repeated anecdotes to a total loss of identity—lead him to reach out to his estranged brother, a neurologist, to learn all he can of the disease. Yet medical science is as powerless as philosophy to help them comprehend what is happening to her and to them, to explain the relation between brain and mind, between memory and selfhood, between heart and soul. The narrator, distrusting the usual explanations for his mother’s…[more]
The Stone Diaries is the story of one woman’s life; a truly sensuous novel that reflects and illuminates the unsettled decades of our century.
Born in 1905, Daisy Goodwill drifts through the chapters of childhood, marriage, widowhood, remarriage, motherhood and old age. Bewildered by her inability to understand her own role, Daisy attempts to find a way to tell her own story within a novel that is itself about the limitations of autobiography.
Under the Frog follows the adventures of two young Hungarian basketball players through the turbulent years between the end of World War II and the anti-Soviet uprising of 1956. In this spirited indictment of totalitarianism, the two improbable heroes, Pataki and Gyuri, travel the length and breadth of Hungary in an epic quest for food, lodging, and female companionship.