The Man Booker Prize winner this year is Anna Burns from Northern Ireland for Milkman. It is her third novel. The prize was for authors in the Commonwealth countries of the United Kingdom until recent years when it included Americans. There was also a separate Orange Prize which has been since sponsored by others for only women authors. However, in the past two decades, women have been well represented and even dominated the Booker short list in 2018.
Hilary Mantel won the Man Booker twice. Other women winners include Margaret Atwood. A.S. Byatt. My favorite Luminaries Eleanor Catton. Anne Enright. And this year Anna Burns.
So why a separate prize for women? Good writing is. Good writing.
August in the City. Supposed to be steamy and empty. The former too true. The latter not. Besides the throngs of flip-flopping tourists along Central Park West and up to Le Pain Quotidien, it’s been a stream of visiting family and friends. That’s good.
Still time to catch Sunday tv faves. Succession finale. Too soon. Want more! Campy soap with great cast. Brian Cox as media mogul Logan Roy. Jeremy Strong as snivelling Don Jr.-esque son and Kieran Culkin as the rollicking runt. Sarah Snook the only miss. Looking forward to next year. Sharp Objects remains a riveting dark mother-daughter dynamic. The Affair best-written since the first. And snuck in Cristina Alger’s inane beach book, The Banker’s Wife.
Man Booker Long List announced. Dystopia and Disruption themes. Signs of the times to be sure. But. I want to escape all that. Won’t be reading The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner. Clausty on steroids. Not sure about the others on the list. Seems a dark collection.
It’s clearly a good year for Canada’s Michael Ondaatje. His 1992 The English Patient won the Man Booker Golden Prize for the best novel in the past five decades. Just read his latest, Warlight which made this year’s list. A post-World War II story, which was good, but didn’t love it as much as one of my all time faves, The Cat’s Table.
Catapulting into summer from a cool wet spring. Ninety degrees today. It’s on. Curtis Strange gave great commentary of the U.S. Open at Shinnecock where the windy course vaulted many stars out of the weekend and made Phippy whippy. In the end, Koepka survived with a back-to-back trophy hoist. Strange enough. The last one to do that was Curtis.
The Affair is back. And. Another show features the Colletti Winery. If you find it, you’ll know. Jump to book-treks. Social Creature by Tara Isabella Burton. Ghosting. Literally. A psychopath with social media savvy can get away with murder. Fooling narcissistic Manhattan millennials with Facebook tagging, photoshopping. Yup. Hiding homicide never easier.
The Spotted Pig, trendy mainstay of the West Village has been the fodder for recent #MeToo due to bad behavior by restaurateur duo Mario Batali and Ken Friedman. Friedman’s chef co-owner April Bloomfield has parted ways with him after pretending to be oblivious to the debauched behavior in the venue’s after-hours-upstairs. Drugging and raping staff. Allegedly.
News today that another woman is going to partner with Friedman to revive The Spotted Pig. Gabrielle Hamilton, author of Blood, Bones & Butter and decades-acclaimed chef owner of East Village gem Prune. A renegade rebel from lobster fiascos at upscale camps in the Berkshires, to line chef at Curtis & Schwartz in Northampton while at Hampshire College, as told in Table’s Edge. This is an interesting decision. But. Hey. Go Gabrielle! You are a true survivor.
Killing Eve. BBC America’s mesmerizingly unique love story. Assassin pursued by a British agent. Vice-versa. To dub this a feminist trope would be soul-less and silly at best. It’s an intimate sensuous cold look at raw characters. Sandra Oh. Jodie Comer. Acting, writing uncannily different. In a similar spirit, HBO’s Barry has an edgy ensemble, with laugh-out-loud Russian caricatures. Violent. Ironic. Startling. Jaundiced. Captivating. Both. Must see.
Warlight. A new novel by the brilliant author Michael Ondaatdje. Not as good as one of my all-time favorites The Cat’s Table, 2011. His table metaphors continue, nonetheless. It is a melodic poetic post-WWII tale of a boy abandoned by his parents and left to the care of loving Dickensian rascals. His mother, Rose, worked with one of them on the roof of the Grosvenor House Hotel in London during the war, intercepting enemy communications.
Mansour Ghalibaf of the Hotel Northampton in Table’s Edge, happened to be partner with owners of the Grosvenor House consortium, descendants from those days. As an aside.