Man Booker

The Myanmar Times - - The Pulse -

Jury chair Amanda Fore­man said na­tion­al­ity had noth­ing to do with the choice.

“It did not weigh on the jury that Paul was Amer­i­can,” said Fore­man, who her­self is Amer­i­can and based in New York.

“It shows that there is a global reach to this prize,” she added.

The Sell­out is Beatty’s fourth novel and ear­lier this year won the Na­tional Book Crit­ics Cir­cle Award in the US.

It is nar­rated by Bon­bon, an African-Amer­i­can res­i­dent of the run-down town of Dick­ens in Los An­ge­les county, which has been re­moved from the map to save Cal­i­for­nia from em­bar­rass­ment.

Bon­bon is on trial for at­tempt­ing to re­in­sti­tute slav­ery and seg­re­ga­tion in the lo­cal high school as a means of bring­ing about civic or­der.

The judges said that “the frame­work of in­sti­tu­tional racism and the un­just shoot­ing of Bon­bon’s fa­ther at the hands of po­lice are par­tic­u­larly top­i­cal”.

Five other au­thors were nom­i­nated for the prize in a short­list celebrated for tak­ing risks and tack­ling tough sub­jects.

Fore­man said the judges were “ex­cited by the will­ing­ness of so many au­thors to take risks with lan­guage and form”.

“The fi­nal six re­flect the cen­tral­ity of the novel in modern cul­ture – in its abil­ity to cham­pion the un­con­ven­tional, to ex­plore the un­fa­mil­iar, and to tackle dif­fi­cult sub­jects.”

The favourite had been Cana­dian Madeleine Thien with her third novel, Do Not Say We Have Noth­ing, a weighty 480-page book that por­trays a young wo­man re­count­ing her fam­ily’s past in rev­o­lu­tion­ary China.

Bri­tish au­thor Graeme Macrae Bur­net’s His Bloody Project had also been tipped by book­mak­ers. His se­cond novel is set in 19th

ru­ral Scot­land and tells the story of a young and poor ten­ant farmer who mur­ders the vil­lage ad­min­is­tra­tor and his fam­ily.

The book’s Glas­gow-based pub­lisher is run by just two peo­ple and is strug­gling to meet de­mand.

Other nov­els short­listed in­clude Hot Milk by South African-born Bri­tish au­thor Deb­o­rah Levy, who de­picts a tor­tur­ous re­la­tion­ship be­tween mother and daugh­ter in a Span­ish vil­lage.

Cana­dian-Bri­tish au­thor David Sza­lay’s All That Man Is tra­verses dif­fer­ent coun­tries to fol­low the lives of nine men in a tale about con­tem­po­rary Europe.

Judges called it “a post-Brexit novel for our time”.

The fi­nal short­listed book Eileen, the de­but novel by Amer­i­can Ottessa Mosh­fegh, fol­lows a dis­turbed young wo­man who cares for her al­co­holic fa­ther and works in a youth prison.

Photo: AFP

Paul Beatty is the first US au­thor to win the Man Booker Prize, the world’s most lauded English-lan­guage lit­er­ary award.

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