Literature and Leviathan by D J Taylor

D J Taylor

Literature and Leviathan


The exact circumstances of D B C Pierre’s triumph in the 2003 Man Booker Prize were these. The five-strong judging panel convened for its long-listing meeting sometime in the middle of August. The opinions expressed at this preliminary get-together are usually fairly tentative: the judges are still getting to know the novels under discussion; a mild preference is generally as far as it goes. Here, by contrast, unprecedented communal fervour prevailed. One after another, four of the five judges shuffled their notes before them and exclaimed that they had read this terrific novel called Vernon God Little about the US Columbine High School shootings and…

The fifth judge – myself – was unconvinced. Once set in motion, however, this particular literary juggernaut was unstoppable. At the short-list meeting, a month later, each of the dozen books that merited serious consideration was rated inversely out of twelve, one being the highest mark available. D B C

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