J.G. Farrell wins the Lost Booker
Imagine you were a novelist in 1971. Your greatest work had been published the previous year and all eyes were on the Booker prize, until all of a sudden, the judges upped and changed the rules, rendering all novels published in 1970 ineligible for the prize. Forty years later, and the search began for the Lost Booker, the book from that year that fell through the rule-change loop but should have taken a prize. A jury whose members were all born “in or around 1970″ chose six novels for the shortlist, but the public got to choose the winner by voting on the Booker Prize website. And so it was that Liverpool-born JG Farrell scooped the prize for Troubles, beating Muriel Spark’s The Driver’s Seat for the honour. Troubles, the first title in Farrell’s Empire Trilogy – the second of which, The Seige of Krishnapur, garnered Farrell the Booker Prize in 1973 – is set in a faded hotel in Wexford to which an ex British Army soldier arrives in search of a woman to whom he thinks he may be engaged. And though Farrell didn’t live to receive his second (or first) Booker – he drowned in 1979 in the sea off Bantry Bay – the book has not been out of print since its first publication. Here’s what Eileen Battersby had to say about it. Anyone else read it?