Last night, first-time novelist Aravind Adiga became the second-youngest winner of the Man Booker prize. Adiga is 33; his novel is The White Tiger. From The Telegraph (“Man Booker Prize won by first-time Indian author Aravind Adiga for The White Tiger,” by Stephen Adams):
He was presented with the award at a dinner in the Guildhall in London. The White Tiger follows a poor servant from an Indian village who moves to the city, becomes corrupted by modern life, and ends up becoming a murderer.
The five members of the judging panel, chaired by former Conservative cabinet minister Michael Portillo, took more than two hours to reach their decision. Mr Portillo said of choosing the winning book: “My criteria were, ‘Does this book knock my socks off?’ And it did.”
He said: “I think what set this book apart was its originality; for many of us this is entirely new territory – India the dark side. It was in many ways perfect.”
Update: I hadn’t even checked Book Group Buzz yet when I wrote this post, and now I find that, before dawn, the indefatigable Nick DiMartino has posted an interview with Adiga. It’s well worth reading.
Update Update: On the Guardian Books Blog, John Sutherland (I keep wanting to write “Dame John Sutherland”) tries to work out which type of Booker winner we’re dealing with. Is it:
3. “Let’s for God’s sake have a book this year that people will really enjoy reading” – eg Byatt’s Possession, Farrell’s The Siege of Krishnapur. This, sad to say, is the slimmest category in the Booker archive. It won’t be swollen this year.
Also from the Guardian, Booker knowledgeists may wish to try their hands at this quiz.
And an out-of-date BBC article (“Barry tipped for Booker triumph“) reminds us just how long were Adiga’s odds:
Irish writer Sebastian Barry is the bookmakers’ favourite to win the Man Booker Prize for The Secret Scripture.
The author is ahead of shortlisted rivals Steve Toltz, Linda Grant and Amitav Ghosh.