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Monday, 24 May 2010
Lost Booker, Lost Chance
The excitement and fuss over the announcement that the "Lost Booker" (from 1970) went to Troubles, by the tragically drowned writer JG Farrell, cannot hide a sense of let-down. After all, Troubles is not a lost masterpiece, and Farrell is widely-read and respected. There is not much clever in deciding to Booker this classic. It feels the safe and obvious choice. The opportunity was squandered to do something exciting and even daring with this alternative prize - to award another JG instead - JG Ballard. Ballard's The Atrocity Exhibition is probably his major work, and is still a shocking and innovative text. Given Ballard's recent death, and the growing sense of his importance, it is surprising that the mainstream view of his writing is still seemingly a tad belittling.