The 5 Man-Booker Prize winners, in the last decade, that perhaps should not have won

The winner of this year’s Man-Booker Prize is Australian author Richard Flanagan, for his novel, The Narrow Road to the Deep North.  AC Grayling, Chair of  Judges comments: “The two great themes from the origin of literature are love and war: this is a magnificent novel of love and war. Written in prose of extraordinary elegance and force, it bridges East and West, past and present, with a story of guilt and heroism.”

However, whether it lives up to the praise, only time will tell. Here are Kindle’s top 5 Booker winners, which perhaps, were not so worthy of winning.

1. Vernon God Little, by DBC Pierre, won the Man-Booker in 2003


The story revolves around a teenager who is somehow caught up in a recent shooting at a local high school. He manages to cross the border to Mexico, makes a confession and ends up on a reality TV show, just about to be executed on television, before he is saved. Critics of the book described the character as ‘a cartoon’ and the story has been described as ‘satire gone wrong.’ The language is seen as unnecessarily crass and it apparently pandered to “a European’s fascination with ‘American white trash’!”

2.The White Tiger, by Aravind Adiga, won the Man-Booker in 2008


Adiga’s protagonist Balram is a man from rural India who finds himself working in Delhi, where he murders his employer. He then flees to Bangalore, where he sets up his own business. The novel explores issues such as caste, religion and loyalty and was critically acclaimed. However, some say it was too simplistic and unbelievable while others say that it simply wasn’t literary enough to win a prize such as the Booker.

3.The Finkler Question, by Harold Jacobson, won the Man-Booker in 2010

finkler's question

The Finkler Question was billed as a comic novel although critics failed to find anything amusing in the story or writing, other than the fact that it won one of the most prestigious prizes for literature. It is the story of three men, all of whom are either widowed or in a string of failed relationships. They find themselves reunited and thrown into a situation where they are forced to question Jewishness and Anti-semitism and life in all its forms.

4.The Sea, by John Banville, won the Man-Booker in 2005

Sea cover

The story revolves around the childhood memories of Max Morden, his time with his dying wife and his current escape to the sea-side town of his childhood. Critics slammed his overly lyrical attempt at description, citing his use of ‘B’alliterations as tragically comic and pretentious “seeming not to walk but bounce, rather, awkward as a half-inflated barrage balloon buffeted by successive breath-robbing blows out of the past.”

5.How Late It Was, How Late by James Kelman, won the Man-Booker in 1994


Based in and around Glasgow, the novel is a stream of consciousness centred around the events which unfold over one day. Sammy, the protagonist speaks in the dialect of the Scottish working class and eventually realises that he has been beaten so severely that he has become blind. Needless to say, critics of this novel, found it offensive, bleak, difficult to understand and badly written.

“Speak English!' said the Eaglet. 'I don't know the meaning of half those long words, and I don't believe you do either!” ― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland.. Devjani believes in simplicity and just telling it how it is.

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