Howard Jacobson has triumphed at the 2010 Man Booker prize with The Finkler Question, in a year in which the field remained wide open right up to the final moment. What do you make of the decision?
We have a winner! The 2010 Man Booker prize has gone to Howard Jacobson for The Finkler Question.
This was a particularly chin-stroking year for Booker-watchers, in that, unlike in 2009, when Hilary Mantel was the runaway favourite, there’s been no clear forerunner. Opinion swung to and fro on today’s guess-the-winner thread – and although Ladbroke’s closed the book early on Tom McCarthy after a spate of dubious-looking bets, the field felt so wide open that no one really took that seriously as an indicator. I’ve vacillated in the last few weeks between each of the six contenders, and always found an argument against my choice: Donoghue seemed a more obvious Orange prize winner, Carey has won twice already, Tom McCarthy’s C would likely split the judges, and so on.
So the news that Jacobson had won didn’t come as a surprise, precisely – but it did make me happy. I thoroughly enjoyed The Finkler Question: its mad, sad blend of high-wire comedy and genuine, honest-to-goodness grief – and the questions it asks about both – made it a whip-smart pleasure to read. Admittedly, I – like quite a few others, if the comments on the books blogs are anything to go by – preferred his 2006 novel Kalooki Nights; it’s difficult to shake the faint sense that tonight’s prize is somewhat in the nature of a lifetime achievement award. But heck – what a lifetime; what a lot of achievement. Read Lindesay Irvine’s excellent profile of the great man, and tell me: what do you reckon?