Saturday, 27 February 2010

Lost Booker

I recently reviewed The fire-dwellers and mentioned that it had been chosen for The lost booker longlist; there was in fact another Virago Modern Classic on the list - Nina Bawden's Birds on the trees. Virago have reprinted these, in their original covers, so they should be available, and I was kindly sent copies of the reprints. As I already own copies of these with the same covers, I thought I'd run a giveaway.

To enter, all you have to do is tell me in the comments which VMC you think is most worthy of winning the Booker prize and why. I'll be interested to see the answers, but the draw will be just a random draw of all entrants.

(I haven't quite decided whether to part with the originals or the reprints yet...)


  1. I'd love to enter but I don't understand the question... do you mean which of these two do I think is deserving of winning the Lost Booker (which I can't answer as I haven't read them) or do you mean any VMC?

  2. Off the top of my head I'd say Loitering with Intent by Muriel Spark; I think it was shortlisted one year, I think. It was incredibly clever, original and wittily engaging.

    If Carter's Wise Children or Nights at the Circus had been VMCs along with her other titles then I would have opted for one of those.

  3. That's a tough question! If I had to choose between all the VMCs then it would probably be anything by Margaret Atwood or Daphne du Maurier. If I had to choose one book from each author it would be Alias Grace and Rebecca.

    It's a coincidence that we both posted about the Lost Man Booker this weekend.

  4. I think that I would recommend The Well of Loneliness by Radcliffe Hall. The first VMC I ever read, and a book that opened my eyes.

  5. I think I would have to say Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim - both romantic and life-affirming and set in the Italian Riviera - what could be better ... wonderful. My fingers are crossed!

    Jeanne x

  6. It would have to be a toss up between Elizabeth Von Arnim's 'Vera' because it affected me deeply and the subject is so important (abusive relationship - always topical) or F M Mayor's 'The Rector's Daughter' because her characters are so convincing, and because it's quietly optomistic about people. If it had to be one it would probably have to be the Mayor though. It's an amazing book.

  7. Ooooh interesting question Verity! Out of the VMCs I've read I think the one that I think has blown me away the most is 'The Third Miss Symons' by F M Mayor - so painful and so powerful. Absolutely brilliant.

    Thanks for the giveaway - I'd be happy to win either!

  8. This is a big question... hmmm... I think that I am going to say "Who was changed and who was dead" by Barbara Comyns. I think that this is the best example of Comyns hugely undervalued writing. It is strange and wonderful in equal measure - and portrays the inadequacies and casual cruelties of family and community life in the context of a magical realist setting. It is modern and profoundly nostalgic. I read it when I was quite a young teenager and although I found parts of it confusing - the confusion was compulsive. There is also a lot of hope in the story. It made me look sideways at the world I live in I guess...

    Sorry for going on a bit - I am a big Comyns fan!


  9. Some wonderful suggestions there guys! Keep them coming - I'll draw the competition next weekend.