Annal: 1995 Whitbread Book Award for Novel

Results of the Whitbread Book Award in the year 1995.

Book:The Moor's Last Sigh

The Moor's Last Sigh

Salman Rushdie

The Moor evokes his family’s often grotesque but compulsively moving fortunes and the lost world of possibilities embodied by India in this century. His is a tale of premature deaths and family rifts, of thwarted loves and mad passions, of secrecy and greed, of power and money, and of the even more morally dubious seductions and mysteries of art.

Book:The Ghost Road

The Ghost Road

Pat Barker

Central to this novel are two men divided by class and experience, but sharing a mutual respect and empathy. One is Lieutenant Billy Prior, cured of shell shock by famed psychologist Dr. William Rivers at Craiglockhart War Hospital, and determined to return to the front in France even as the war enters its final ferocious phase in the late summer of 1918. The other is Dr. Rivers himself, consumed by the medical challenge and moral dilemma of restoring men to health so that they can be sent back to the battlefields and almost certain death. Billy Prior is a working-class man on the rise, a “temporary gentleman,” who inhabits a sexual, social, and moral no-man’s-land. His sexual encounters with both women and men are tinged with a cynical fatalism that the war has engendered. Still, he is eager to join a fellow Craiglockhart “graduate,” the poet Wilfred Owen, in France in time to participate in the great English offensive, the “one last push” intended to redeem all the shining heroism and senseless slaughter that has gone before.

Book:In Every Face I Meet

In Every Face I Meet

Justin Cartwright

Set in London against the background of Nelson Mandela’s release, this novel follows a day in the life of Anthony Northleach. He ruminates on his marriage, his work, rugby and politics, until his waking dream turns into a nightmare.

Book:The Information (Martin Amis)

The Information

Martin Amis

There aren’t many ways for one writer to hurt another. Even if the literary world were as hopelessly corrupt as some people like to think it is, a writer cannot seriously damage a rival.

This is the unwelcome conclusion reached by Richard Tull, failed novelist, when he contemplates the agonizing success of his best friend (and worst enemy), Gwyn Barry. A scathing review, a scurrilous profile? Such things might hurt Gwyn Barry, but they wouldn’t hurt him. So Richard Tull is obliged to look elsewhere, to the weapons of the outside world—seductions and succubae, hoaxes, mind games, frame-ups, sabotage—until at last Richard finds what he is looking for: a true professional, someone who hurts people in exchange for cash.

Book:The Unconsoled

The Unconsoled

Kazuo Ishiguro

The Unconsoled is the story of a man named Ryder. He is a pianist of international renown who, as the novel opens, has arrived in a European city he cannot identify to give a concert he cannot remember agreeing to give. In the days before the concert, he is led in and out of the lives of seeming strangers, but his fleeting recollections of them and of his purpose among them are invariably overwhelmed by their inexplicable knowledge and expectations of him. What they want of him (what they may already have) may be revealed somewhere amid the physical and emotional landscapes he finds himself traversing: by turns eerie and comical and, always, strangely malleable—as a dream might be, or a nightmare, or the day-to-day reality of a man whose public self has taken on a life of its own.

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