It all came good (or bad) in the end
Dubliner Sebastian Barry has won the Costa Book of the Year award for his novel The Secret Scripture, despite the fact that among the judges “almost nobody liked the ending.” It’s a powerful book, beautifully written and, I think, important in allowing voices from Irish history that have been drowned out or silenced over the years to have their say and tell their stories BUT (no surprises here), the ending is a strangely neat wrap of a story compelling for its lack of same. If that makes any sense. It does seem a strange decision on the part of the judges to reveal how close their vote was (Adam Foulds’ The Broken Word was a near contender), and to discuss their quibbles with their chosen book, one that takes away from Barry’s long-awaited day. Regardless, it’s a happy ending for Barry – but what about the book? Anyone think the judges (Matthew Parris, Alexander Armstrong, Michael Buerk, Andrea Catherwood, Victoria Hislop, Lisa Jewell, Roger McGough, Pauline McLynn and Rosamund Pike) got it wrong about the ending, or indeed about the winner?