Book reviews, Pullitzer, Booker, Costa and Children's Book reviews
Book reviews, Pullitzer, Booker, Costa and Children's Book reviews
Prize Winning Fiction
Prize Winning Fiction

1996 Booker Prize Winner

Last Orders by Graham Swift

       
 

Publisher: Picador

Length: 304 pages

About: The lasting bondships of friendship

Style: 1st person from different characters' points of view

Where: London

When: 1990

 

Publisher’s synopsis:

Four men gather in a London pub. They have taken it upon themselves to carry out the last orders of Jack Dodds, master butcher, and deliver his ashes to the sea. As they drive towards the fulfilment of their mission, their errand becomes an extraordinary journey into their collective and individual pasts. Braiding these men’s voices, and that of Jack’s widow, into a choir of sorrow and resentment, passion and regret, Swift creates a testament to a changing England and to enduring mortality.

 

Extract:

‘It aint like your regular sort of day.

 

Bernie pulls me a pint and puts it in front of me. He looks at me, puzzled, with his loose, doggy face but he can tell I don’t want no chit-chat. That’s why I’m here, five minutes after opening, for a little silent pow-wow with a pint glass. He can see the black tie, though it’s four days since the funeral. I hand him a fiver and he takes it to the till and brings back my change. He puts the coins, extra gently, eyeing me, on the bar beside my pint.’

 

Reviews:

Good:

Swift plumbs the existentialist questions of identity and the meaning of existence while remaining true to the vocabulary, social circumstances and point of view of his proletarian characters. Written with impeccable honesty and paced with unflagging momentum, the novel ends with a scene of transcendent understanding.

Publishers Weekly 4th January 1996 for full review click here

 

Not so good:

Britisher Swift's sixth novel (Ever After, 1992 etc.) and fourth to appear here is a slow-to-start but then captivating tale of English working-class families in the four decades following WW II.

Kirkus review 15th February 1996 for full review click here

 

About the author

Born 4 May 1949 in London, England, he was educated at Dulwich College, London, Queens' College, Cambridge, and later the University of York.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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<1995> -  <1997>

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ratings

Adventure

  8

Filmability

  9

Historical

  5

Humorous

  7

Intellectuality

  6

Life-changing

  5

Page turner

  7

Readability

  9

Romance

  3

 

Age guide: 15

 

 

Novels by same author:

Adaptations:

Film releasesd in 2001 starring Michael Caine and Bob Hoskins

 

 

© PWF.co.uk

 

 

2016 Pulitzer Prize Winner

It's a massive day in arts and journalism because the 100th annual Pulitzer Prize winners were just announced, and there's a big surprise. 2015's best artistic and nonfiction writing across 21 categories were recognized during a ceremony Monday afternoon at Columbia University in New York City. The first Pulitzer Prize was awarded to Hebert Bayward Swope, a reporter for The New York World, in 1916. (And if you're as big a fan of Newsies as I am, that paper should ring a bell, but try to think of it more positively.)

The major prize for book nerds, the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction went to The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen (Grove Press), a legitimate surprise, if you've been paying attention to the book nerd and industry buzz. The feeling around the prize in the last few months would have you putting all your hard-earned cash down on A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara to take home the award, but that's why you should never gamble. Viet Thanh Nguyen is no less deserving, and moreover, it's his debut novel, which makes it such a wonderful win.

Extract from New York Times to view full article...

Click here

 

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