I'd been meaning to write about the Booker (or the Man Booker as one is meant to call it), but other things have slipped in the way: miners, the onset of winter, bills, and a children's round-up that I am in the thick of, (and Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came, which I am currently obsessing about.) This year's Booker choice, Howard Jacobson, was a solid decision from an otherwise slightly odd shortlist: Galgut's In A Strange Room, a marvellous piece of work, being rather too slight; I don't think, however, that Jacobson's book has the broader appeal or heft of something like Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall. It seems that this year the judges have based their opinions entirely on enjoyment of a novel: which all seems a bit book club to me. And the one book which should have been on the short list, and a strong contender for the title, was Paul Murray's enchanting, weird, brilliant Skippy Dies. Its omission was a huge mistake.
I went to the Booker party for Andrea Levy for about five minutes: it was in the Century club, and there were mounds and mounds of toothsome canapes; after a long chat with an editor about a misery memoir I ought to write about psychic pandas who can see angels, we slipped off quite soon to the Cape party. There I spent many an hour deep in conversation with an up and coming novelist, Leo Benedictus, about the pros and cons of electronic books; Tom McCarthy made an appearance, as did the elegant Chloe Aridjis, and Adam Foulds, whose beautiful book The Quickening Maze was shortlisted last year. The canape quality was excellent, I might add.