Monday, October 13, 2014


I`m reliably informed that the winner of this year`s Man Booker Prize is about to be announced.  The short list seems to follow the pattern of books that are `literary,` deep, meaningful and oh, so very boring. Goodness knows what the long list must have been like.

But at least we have been spared the recent spate of `autobiographies` from luminaries such as Kevin Pietersen and Roy Keane, both of whom have sparked controversy with their `revelations.`  These wholly avoidable tomes are said to have included accounts of instances which reveal the `authors` in their true colours - Pietersen giving feeble self- justification for his many shortcomings and Keane, for example, giving no hint of regret for his appalling assault on Alf Inge Haaland.   And today we hear that, not content with already having decimated half a rain forest in previous sorties into the world of literature, yet another volume is about to hit the streets from `Sir` Alex Ferguson, of whom I really had hoped that we had heard the last.  

Rarely has the publication of new books been so depressing.  Why can`t books be like they used to be?  Books that told real stories in plain language, books with real and believable characters, books with morality at their heart, books that test the range of emotions before providing a happy and satisfying ending.

And so, in an attempt to escape the deep, meaningful, self-publicising and utterly boring newcomers to the country`s book stands, I turn once again to an old friend which has been there for me over so many years, through so much insecurity, turmoil and uncertainty - a friend who has always provided the comfort, the moral compass and the inspiration to face the world knowing that goodness, honesty and decency are still out there.  You just have to know where to find it.  

And I have been lucky to have by my side all these years a rather crumpled, rare copy of The Inquisitive Elf and each time I read it in my hours of need, I wonder how on earth Eunice Close never won the Man Booker Prize.

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