The Mann Booker Prize came to town last night. DCB Pierre visited Hull University as part of the Booker Prize Foundation University Initiative. Under this banner, prominently displayed on stage, copies of Booker prize books are distributed free to first year students across all disciplines. A selection of authors then visit a selection of universities to meet the students and anyone else who’s interested. Last night DCB Pierre met students at Hull.
When the book Vernon God Little won the Booker prize in 2003 I didn’t really get it. I found it hard to align with the narrative viewpoint of a 15 year old US male being accused of murder and VGL was consigned to the unread list. It has helped to listen to questions and answers about the background to writing the book. Setting it against contemporary capitalism and its continual need for profit regeneration, alongside media manipulation of public opinion, all had the Althusserian effect of instant recognition. I could identify with the bigger picture informing the narrative in a way I’d missed first time around. I also liked how Pierre talked about his relationship with his readers. Two separate entities coming together through a third medium of the book or shared experience of the story. Meeting the author is like joining up the circle.
I’ll try reading Vernon God Little again. Usually I say read the book before the film. In this case, I think it’s helped to listen to the author before reading the book.