The Novel: Ha-ha Funny?
Howard Jacobson has just won this year's Man Booker Prize - hats off to him. I am sort of glad he pipped the expected winner, C, to the post, because C was a semi-unreadable pastiche of modernism (post-modernism_ about semi-conductors, etc, that couldn't get its horticulture right. Cue famous quip. Uncue. Jacobson got a lot of press this week in many papers, bemoaning the state of the serious UK novel, and he is right, to a point, but don't tell me Waugh, Amis and Wodehouse are not revered, in their own way. His argument on the BBC this morning that novels should always be funny (read a poem he said, if you want seriousness!) rings hollow. Comedy as an element in all great works of literature: absolutely! But should the default position of any form or genre be one tone, one vision? I am not so sure. Tragi-comic, seems the way to go. Best of both words.