I have finally started wading through some of the books long listed for this year’s Man Booker prize. I do enjoy a random read and you are guaranteed at least a decent standard of writing, although it does annoy me that books not even published yet somehow manage to make the list, partly because I look like a total idiot walking round a bookshop during my lunch hour looking for something that doesn’t exist. A short break in Italy provided me with the opportunity of reading Ned Bauman’s The Teleportation Accident and Alison Moore’s The Lighthouse. The Teleportation Accident is utterly crammed with ideas and fantastic moments of comedy, real genuine laugh out loud moments which probably explains why it never made this year’s shortlist it’s just too funny. Last year I loved the gentle humour in Patrick Dewitt’s The Sister Brothers and it was by far my favourite book, but I guess they are a bit of a humourless bunch. At first Beauman goes all out Booker and the first chapter is really hard going, flitting around and being ultra descriptive. The story crackles through the 1930’s multi-located in Berlin, Paris and Los Angeles I won’t bore you with all the details, its brilliantly written, highly original and creative and very funny, really worth a look.
Alison Moore’s The Lighthouse is completely bereft of any laughs and is brooding and intense. It manages a neat trick of being very simply written but highly evocative. Moore uses plain accessible language that builds into an intriguing landscape that you reflect upon. It is from experience a book you can knock off in the afternoon with a glass of wine and feel really satisfied with. It’s about a divorcing man going on a walking holiday reflecting on the mistake and misery of his life and through a series of coincidences getting obliviously embroiled in a tempestuous relationship of a another couple, it’s too simple to win the Booker but it’s a fine read. At the moment I’m pulling out my own teeth reading Will Self’s Umbrella, no chapter’s long paragraphs and the kind of multiple syllable bollocks you expect and an advertising pitch in London, all the characters Will Self evoke sound like Will Self giving a lecture. At the moment I’m a third of the way through and nothing has clicked with me, it’s leaving me cold, making me feel stupid and therefore probably bloody win.
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