Booker, Brontë, more

The Booker shortlist was announced yesterday. The nominees: Margaret Atwood, Monica Ali, Damon Galgut, Zoe Heller, DBC Pierre, and Clare Morrall, all briefly profiled here. The BBC wants to know who you think should win.

Related, all from the Guardian: an article about Clare Morrall, entitled “Piano teacher scores over Amis,” another (“Snubbed unknown sweeps giants off shortlist“), and an interview with Ms. Morrall.

Last month Clare Boylan (a different writer with the same first name) explained why she felt compelled to take two chapters of an unfinished novel by Charlotte Brontë and try to tell the rest of the story. Reviews of the finished effort (Emma Brown) have been mixed. Jessica Mann says many ingredients of the novel are correct, but “Bronte’s unique emotional intensity is inevitably missing … and the result is a competent historical novel.” Lucasta Miller’s reaction is similar, but a bit more particularized:

…The key to Brontë’s best work is what GH Lewes called its “strange power of subjective representation” – her uncanny ability to represent the inner psyche. If anywhere, it is here that Boylan fails most to live up to her model, as none of her characters can really be said to have profound internal lives.

In fact, thematically, Boylan’s novel is more concerned with external social issues than with individual psychology.

More Lethem (Michiko Kakutani calls the latest novel “dazzling but fundamentally flawed”).


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