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Rohinton Mistry is the only author whose every novel has been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. Such a Long Journey (1991), A Fine Balance (1995) and Family Matters (2002) are all set in India's Parsee community. Recognised as one of the most important contemporary writers of postcolonial literature, Mistry's subtle yet powerful narratives engross general readers, excite critical acclaim and form staple elements of literature courses across the world. This study provides an insight into the key features of Mistry's work. It suggests how the author's writing can be read in terms of recent Indian political history, his native Zoroastrian culture and ethos, and the experience of migration, which now sees him living in Canada. The texts are viewed through the lens of diaspora and minority discourse theories to show how Mistry's writing is illustrative of marginal positions in relation to sanctioned national identities. In addition, Mistry utilises and blends the conventions of oral storytelling common to the Persian and South Asian traditions, with nods in the direction of the canonical figures of modern European literature, sometimes reworking and reinflecting their registers and preoccupations to create a distinctive voice redolent of the hybrid inheritance of Parsee culture and of the postcolonial predicament more generally.

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James Kelman is Scotland's most influential contemporary prose artist. This is a book-length study of his groundbreaking novels, analysing and contextualising each in detail. It argues that while Kelman offers a coherent and consistent vision of the world, each novel should be read as a distinct literary response to particular aspects of contemporary working-class language and culture. Historicised through diverse contexts such as Scottish socialism, public transport, emigration, ‘Booker Prize’ culture and Glasgow's controversial ‘City of Culture’ status in 1990, the book offers readings of Kelman's style, characterisation and linguistic innovations. This study resists the prevalent condemnations of Kelman as a miserable realist, and produces evidence that he is acutely aware of an unorthodox, politicised literary tradition which transgresses definitions of what literature can or should do. Kelman is cautious about the power relationship between the working-class worlds he represents in his fiction, and the latent preconceptions embedded in the language of academic and critical commentary. In response, the study is self-critical, questioning the validity and values of its own methods. Kelman is shown to be deftly humorous, assiduously ethical, philosophically alert and politically necessary.

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McEwan’s ‘spoiler’
Dominic Head

Amsterdam: McEwan’s ‘spoiler’ Appraisal of Amsterdam, McEwan’s Booker Prize-winning novella, has been clouded by its perception as an inferior Booker winner: when an established writer is awarded a literary prize for a book that is not representative of his/her best work, there is the suspicion that the award is made for the author’s accumulated efforts, rather than for the book in question. McEwan had previously been short-listed, in 1981, for The Comfort of Strangers, and again in 1992, for Black Dogs. Enduring Love, however, did not make the shortlist in 1997

in Ian McEwan
Bruce Woodcock

I N Jack Maggs , an orphan becomes a criminal; in True History of the Kelly Gang , Carey’s second Booker Prize winning novel, Ned loses his father and is abandoned by his mother to become a highwayman and killer. Significant sections of Jack Maggs are given over to Maggs’s justification of himself to his adopted son, while the majority of True History is Ned’s letter of self-explanation to his daughter whom he has never seen. Both these historical novels explore what Carey has called the ‘patterns […] of abandonment, orphans’ in

in Peter Carey
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Jonathan Chatwin

explicitly designed to contrast its predecessor in every way; Utz is a small novel concerning a sedentary Eastern European porcelain collector. It was, however, greeted with similar acclaim, and received a nomination for the Booker prize in 1988.2 In a 1987 review of The Songlines for the New York Times, Andrew Harvey captured the general sense of appreciation which swirled around the author: ‘Nearly every writer of my generation in England has wanted, at some point, to be Bruce Chatwin; wanted, like him, to talk of Fez and Firdausi, Nigeria and Nuristan, with equal

in Anywhere out of the world
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Bruce Woodcock

won three of the major Australian literary prizes and was shortlisted for the British Booker Prize. Illywhacker examines twentieth-century Australian history with the savage humour and fantasy of the earlier fiction now placed within an epic framework. The result is a novel with energy, panache and sardonic vision, which mixes family history with satirical fable and fantasy in an abundance of play and arraignment. Like Bliss, Illywhacker transgresses and undermines presumptions of formal continuity and genre coherence: it both entertains

in Peter Carey
Having one’s cake and eating it too
Marie-Luise Kohlke

‘motley’ over them to explore timeless emotions (qtd. in Koval, 2008 ). Like its architectural counterpart, literary adaptive reuse covers a continuum from partial replication to total re-fabrication. A. S. Byatt’s Booker Prize winning Possession: A Novel (1990) offers a striking example of this practice. The novel’s numerous plot twists are interspersed with an abundance of lucky coincidences, including the present-day academic Roland Michell’s chancing upon a draft letter by the (fictional) Victorian poet Randolph

in Interventions
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Taking the Green Road
Emer Nolan

5 Anne Enright: taking the Green Road 164 Five Irish Women Anne Enright, one of Ireland’s most celebrated writers, the first Irish female winner of the Man Booker prize (in 2007) for her novel The Gathering, and from 2015 to 2018 the inaugural Laureate for Irish Fiction sponsored by the Arts Council, cannot be usefully addressed or described as a confessional artist in the style of Edna O’Brien or Sinéad O’Connor. However, she has discussed aspects of her own life in interviews, reviews and essays, including numerous contributions to the Guardian, the Diary

in Five Irish women
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Writing under the influence

Focusing through the concept of influence, this collection considers the entire breadth of Alan Hollinghurst’s Booker Prize-winning writing. It addresses critical issues threaded through the work of Britain’s most important contemporary novelist. Chapters encompass provocative and timely subjects ranging from gay visual cultures and representations, to Victorian, modernist and contemporary literature, as well as race and empire, theatre and cinema, eros, translation and economics. Revealing the often troubled tissue of weighty affect that lies beneath the poise and control of Hollinghurst’s writing, this book addresses readers interested in question of subjectivity, history and desire, as well as those curious about biography and literary experimentation. Alongside contributions by distinguished international critics, the book includes an unpublished interview with Hollinghurst and the eminent biographer Hermione Lee. With critical energy and creative flair, Alan Hollinghurst: Writing Under the Influence provokes a new account of Hollinghurst’s work that is both authoritative and innovative.

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This is a comprehensive and definitive study of the Man Booker Prize-winning novelist Howard Jacobson. It offers lucid, detailed and nuanced readings of each of Jacobson’s novels, and makes a powerful case for the importance of his work in the landscape of contemporary fiction. Focusing on the themes of comedy, masculinity and Jewishness, the book emphasises the richness and diversity of Jacobson’s work. Often described by others as ‘the English Philip Roth’ and by himself as ‘the Jewish Jane Austen’, Jacobson emerges here as a complex and often contradictory figure: a fearless novelist; a combative public intellectual; a polemical journalist; an unapologetic elitist and an irreverent outsider; an exuberant iconoclast and a sombre satirist. Never afraid of controversy, Jacobson tends to polarise readers; but, love him or hate him, he is difficult to ignore. This book gives him the thorough consideration and the balanced evaluation that he deserves.