Hilary Mantel’s Thomas Cromwell saw to it that there could be only one winner in this year’s Man Booker Prize. Yet all six finalists were presented with something that the canny Tudor statesman would himself have prized: a hand-bound copy of their novel.
Hilary Mantel has won the Costa Book of the Year award for “Bring Up the Bodies,” the first time an author has received that prize and the Man Booker Prize for the same novel. She accepted the honor, which comes with a check for 30,000 pounds ($47,250), during a champagne reception at London restaurant Quaglino’s.
Julian Barnes won the Man Booker Prize for Fiction last night for “The Sense of an Ending,” a slim novel whose narrator must grapple with the fallibility of his memory and sense of self when a friend’s long-ago suicide returns to haunt him.
Howard Jacobson won the Man Booker Prize for Fiction last night with “The Finkler Question,” a dark comedy about a man convinced that tragic love is his destiny. It is the first overtly comic novel to win the prize in its 42-year history.
The last time I had a rendezvous with Jeet Thayil 18 years ago at the Taj Hotel Mumbai, he never showed. When I finally caught up with him in Hong Kong recently and asked why he stood me up, his excuse was simple.