Intolerant or reasonable?
By Ralph McAllister
I know, I know.
Different tastes are the stuff of debate, dissension and disagreements, but I am beginning to think I have had enough.
We all know about that barbaric three strikes and you are out negative policy or practice.
Well I am now introducing my own brand of intolerance.
Let me explain.
Gave up “Lincoln” in despair
Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders won this year’s Man Booker.
I duly bought and attempted to read this latest recipient of one of literature’s biggest awards.
I struggled through about one hundred pages before giving up in despair.
The story has something to do with the death of President Lincoln’s eleven year old son and the father visiting his son’s crypt.
But the mixture of fantasy, realism and downright indulgence left me uninvolved, bored and a tad angry.
Surely Paul Auster’s Four Three Two One was a much more exciting departure from the normal novel, written by a novelist at the height of his powers, after a career of superb creations such as Brooklyn Follies and Book of Illusions, to name two.
And, if I am accused of not getting with the fantastical, let me say I have just devoured at two sittings the first of Philip Pullman’s new trilogy The Book of Dust, a revisiting of his masterly His Dark Materials written twenty five years ago and which I promise to rave about in my next article.
Poor choices in 2016, 2015 and 2014!
But as I flung Lincoln aside I realised that something similar happened last year too.
The Sellout by Paul Beatty I found excruciatingly unfunny as slavery was reintroduced to a part of modern Los Angeles.
The judges ignored the brilliant Scottish His Bloody Project and, my favourite, David Szalay’s All That Man Is.
Look back to 2015 and Marlon James’s A Brief History of Seven Killings which, while spasmodically engaging, never reached the searing brilliance of Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life.
But James won.
And finally was Narrow Road to the Deep North really the best that 2014 had to offer?
For this reader I am suggesting four strikes Booker and, for me, you are out..
Mind you we did get The Luminaries in 2013!
Back to what you might enjoy reading next article!