I’m developing something of an unapologetic obsession with Booker Prize winners of late. I can trace that obsession back about 15 years or so, when I read Posession. It’s such a marvelously complex, many-layered book - it would easily bear a very enjoyable second or third reading. I’ve since discovered that the Booker Prize list is littered with such books, like The Sellout. So recently I decided for myself - why not just read through the list? Or to put it another way: life’s too short to not read Bookers.

Turns out (somewhat predictably) that this philosophy is somewhat wrong-headed; the Booker committee sometimes makes mistakes, at least in my view, as they did with Shuggie Bain, a rather unenjoyable and unimpressive work. Then there’s another recent winner, The Promise, which is impressive technically but thoroughly unenjoyable in terms of reader experience. It’s somewhat distressing to me that these are both recent winners - I hope the committee is not taking some kind of disastrous turn towards miserable reading.

Fortunately the story has a somewhat happy ending, or at least a happy middle, in that I’ve rediscovered some choice works. I just finished The God of Small Things, which was a literary masterpiece that has the same reread-it-then-reread-it-again quality that Posession had. So not all is lost! Let’s hope the prize recaptures that magic with its next few winners.