Banville takes the Booker

John Banville won the Booker prize for The Sea (excerpted here) today when chairman John Sutherland stepped to cast a vote in his favor. The Guardian reports:

Until then, the judges were tied, with two backing Banville and two, it is understood, supporting the runner-up, Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go.

For more on Banville — the first Irish writer to take home the prize since Roddy Doyle won (for Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha) in 1993 — read Mark Sarvas’ “long-awaited, long-promised, just plain long” interview. The final segment of four is coming soon.

In a Spring 2003 interview published in The Believer Book of Writers Talking to Writers, Banville told Ben Ehrenreich that he hates all of his own fiction

With a deep, abiding hatred. And embarrassment. I have this fantasy that I’m walking past Bretano’s or wherever and I click my fingers and all my books on the shelves go blank. And then I can start again and get it right…. They’re all so far below what I had hoped they would be. And yet one goes on. Here I am starting a new book. This is the absolute best stage of it, because when you’re writing the opening pages of the book, anything is possible, you might actually get it right this time. In my heart, of course I know that I won’t. In a couple of years’ time when I finish the book, I’ll hate it just as much as the others. I won’t deny that every now and then I write a sentence and I can hear a chime. I can hear that ping that you get when you hit your fingernail on the side of a glass, and I think, “Yeah, that’s right.”


You might want to subscribe to my free Substack newsletter, Ancestor Trouble, if the name makes intuitive sense to you.