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Lost for Words: A Novel Kindle Edition
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|Length: 273 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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Top Customer Reviews
From the ill-chosen Elysian judges and the chair who reads nary a word of the books through to sundry sex-mad authors, pompous editors and vindictive Indian nabobs, the cast of self-serving characters entertain and delight as we are treated to a merciless send-up of the literary fiction scene, embellished with virtuoso verbal ventriloquism in the form of extracts from the writers' appalling prose.
What's that? A soft target, you say?
Well yes. But St Aubyn's slender satire is so scathingly clever, so horribly convincing and so downright funny that I have to say I loved every minute of it. How cool would the Booker panel show themselves to be if they put Lost For Words on their shortlist!
LOST FOR WORDS is a satirical look at a famous literary prize awarded to citizens of the Commonwealth. Don’t let the satire fool you; St. Aubyn’s commentary is biting on every note. Formerly shortlisted himself for the Man Booker Prize (and already winning the Wodehouse prize for this book), St. Aubyn’s oft-times comical writing provides an incredible insight into this prestiged entry. In this, you may see the humor of a cookbook being submitted to the prize committee by accident, until it becomes an actual contender for the shortlist. Love affairs with editors or committee members? A quick look on the Man Booker’s Wikipedia page may suggest that this isn’t all comedy or even fiction.
Before reading this book, you’ll want to take note of the helpful summary provided by the publisher, outlining the three main featured character novelists. My favorite: Sonny, in his imagination of seeing himself paraded through the press as the main contender. Five other characters have predominance as the committee members and chair.
As the reader, you’ll be treated to some segments of these fictitious book entries. I love this part. They sound spot-on in their appeal. Take for example, a book from the point of view of William Shakespeare that’s a “richly textured portrait of Jacobean London” and is an “ambitious and original novel”. Sound like some description you’ve read before?Read more ›
Back to this book. A committee has been chosen to choose the Elysian Prize for a fiction book. The committe is stocked with political choices, well known literary judges, a very nice actor, and a random but earnest young woman. The satire begins almost immediately as these people peruse the pool of 200 novels and choose the long list by social pressure, an eye for "true writing", new devices, or favored friends. Most of the two hundred books languish unread, while others get a rousing first, last and random middle look.
This book is sly and addictive. Almost without exception, the samples from the short list are truly awful and represent the more stomach turning aspects of "new trends". The judges are mirrored through their writings, as are the authors. The whole thing conspires to bring a sad laugh from any lover of books in general. Depressing as the enterprise should be, it gave me an enjoyable few hours of cynical reading.
Despite its totally British milieu and style (the U.S. publisher makes no attempt to Americanize it), Americans will (or so I hope) find it nasty fun. Although I suspect that British literati know who the characters Mr. St. Aubyn pillories here are caricatures of. Surely I do not.
Notes and asides: The Booker prizes for 2012 and 2013 were awarded to Hillary Mantel's "Bring up the Bodies," and Eleanor Catton's "The Luminaries." Neither got there by accident; neither are cookbooks. Both are eminently worthy. So don't give up on the prize just yet.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I'm enamored with Aubyn's writing right now. "Lost for Words" had a sillier mood - while still overall scathing of its theme, however - then the first three books of the... Read morePublished 18 days ago by C.Erickson
I believe you have to be a professional literary person to appreciate this fully.Published 28 days ago by Bubu45
This was quite different from my usual audiobook fare and yet a very pleasant surprise. Absolutely terrific, rollicking satire of the literary world as a bunch of terrifically... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Mia
Brilliant and amusing satire.I was glad with the dictionary on my Kindle, since St Aubyn quite often uses words that are not in my daily vocabulary.Published 5 months ago by Dr M.S.A. Vrijland
Clever. Very well written. Much insider satire that a reader can enjoy even if she isn't an insider.Published 6 months ago by DC Lady
A wonderful parody on the Booker short listers and the judges. That St Aubyn is an also - ran for the short listers has given him such a cynically witty but honest insight into... Read morePublished 11 months ago by Jill Nicholas
Edward St. Aubyn's send-up of literary contests is wickedly funny and probably dead-on. Examining the politics behind the scenes among the judges of the Elysian Prize for the best... Read morePublished 12 months ago by David H. (Austin)
The language in this book is amazing! It is so well written and very engaging.Published 12 months ago by Judith vK
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