Thursday, 20 May 2010

J.G. Farrell wins "lost" Booker

Good news that J.G. Farrell, one of my favourite authors, and a shockingly neglected one, has won the "lost" Booker retrospectively for Troubles, published in 1970, a year that mysteriously slipped through a gap into the void of infinity when the Booker changed from a prior year to a current year basis in 1971. Had this decision been made then, he would have been the first person to win the Booker twice.

Troubles was apparently Farrell's personal favourite, chiming as it did so closely with his political views and love of his native Ireland, and it is indeed a fine work. Personally, though, I prefer The Singapore Grip, much of the research for which was funded by the Booker prize money which he won for The Siege of Krishnapur, a work which featured in my own Christmas quiz this year.

Disgracefully, two of his early books, The Lung and Girl in the Head are out of print, and the former all but forgotten. Perhaps this posthumous award will shame at least one publisher into seeking to bring them back into the light of day. The former is loosely based upon his own experience of having to spend several months in an iron lung after suffering a near-fatal attack of polio while a promising rugby player at university, of which you can read more in the fine biography of him, The Making of a Writer, by Lavinia Geacen.

No comments: