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Whakapapa

D.A.N. Jones

21 November 1985
The Prague Orgy 
by Philip Roth.
Cape, 89 pp., £5.95, October 1985, 0 224 02815 4
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Loyalties 
by Raymond Williams.
Chatto, 378 pp., £9.95, September 1985, 0 7011 2843 7
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Cousin Rosamund 
by Rebecca West.
Macmillan, 295 pp., £9.95, October 1985, 0 333 39797 5
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The Battle of Pollocks Crossing 
by J.L. Carr.
Viking, 176 pp., £8.95, May 1985, 0 670 80559 9
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The Bone People 
by Keri Hulme.
Hodder, 450 pp., £9.95, July 1985, 0 340 37024 6
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... all there is to it. The actual winner of the Booker-McConnell Prize for Fiction is a longer book, a longer yawn. The preliminary press release gave us the background: ‘Twelve years in the making, KeriHulme’s extraordinary novel was first published in 1984 by Spiral, a New Zealand-based feminist collective consisting of Marian Evans, Miriama Evans and Irihapeti Ramsden ... The Bone People has ...

Diary

Julian Barnes: On the Booker

12 November 1987
... non-reader’ tag, understandably maintained her sense of priorities by playing a South Coast matinée rather than wrangle with literati over the competing merits of Iris Murdoch, Jan Morris and KeriHulme. This year the judges did make one interesting – and perhaps influential – early decision. Publishers have hitherto been allowed to nominate four books for the prize, but also submit a ‘B ...
6 February 1986
Jackdaw Cake: ‘An Autobiography’ 
by Norman Lewis.
Hamish Hamilton, 214 pp., £9.95, September 1985, 0 241 11689 9
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... This ancient punch-line was used quite recently by Daley Thompson to celebrate his Olympic victory.) When such stories are ploddingly told in Booker-McConnell prize-winning novels, by J.M. Coetzee or KeriHulme, the books are described as ‘compassionate’ and the judges, at least, seem deeply moved. With Norman Lewis’s tone, especially in ‘non-fiction’, it is possible to provoke a different ...

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