The Finkler Question by British author Howard Jacobson is this year’s winner of the Man Booker Prize. The Booker is awarded annually to a novel written in English and published in one of the British Commonwealth nations. According to the Man Booker Prize website, the prize “aims to reward the best novel of the year written by a citizen of the Commonwealth or the Republic of Ireland.” In recent years the fame of the Booker has ensured the winning novel a considerable boost in sales.
The Finkler Question is set in contemporary London. It is an exploration of identity, friendship, and loss, often presented with wonderful subtle humor. This is the first time that Jacobson has won the prize.
The first Booker prize was awarded in 1969, so there have been more than forty winners so far. There has been a wide variety of authors who have won. Some are established writers such as V.S. Naipaul, Iris Murdoch, and William Golding. A few are first-time novelists, such as Arundhati Roy (The God of Small Things). In addition to Great Britain and Ireland the writers have come from Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand, South Africa, and Trinidad.
Payson Library has all but two of the winning novels (those two are Something to Answer for, 1969, and Holiday, 1974). As of a couple of years ago these two were out of print and unavailable; now, apparently due to the popularity of the Booker, those books are available for purchase again and will be added to Payson’s collection very soon.