2009: 140. Vernon God Little

“It’s hot as hell in Martiro, but the papers on the porch are icy with the news.”

Vernon God Little, DBC Pierre

        I hated this book.  I hated it so much that I’m sort of insulted that it won the 2003 Booker Prize, although it seems reasonably clear to me that it won for political reasons, not because of the writing (but then, its the politics I hate, not the writing, so there you are).  It’s a first novel, a satire of America (more specifically Texas) written by a young Irishman.  It’s written in a sort of slangy stream of consciousness style, and theoretically its this playful language that won it the Booker.  But this is a novel that opens with a school shooting, and ends with a televised execution and along the way craps on America seven ways to Sunday.  It’s satire, sure, but it comes across as mean spirited (at a minimum), and if you consider that America was not particularly popular in 2003, and was led by a not very popular Texan, it makes a literary prize seem more like a weapon.  

     It’s just that if an American wrote a mean and nasty book about England, and we awarded it the National Book Award, there would have been an international incident.  Sometimes it seems a little tiresome that we’re supposed to appreciate others being so nasty about us.  Look - I am on record (even on this blog) as not being a fan of Bush, and being basically embarrassed about my country for eight years.  But nonetheless, I thought Vernon God Little was nasty and I wouldn’t have read it if I wasn’t trying to make it through my Booker-related book resolutions.

Date/Place Completed: December 2009; Flying to Dallas

Categories: Fiction; Booker Prize, Book Resolutions


© Carrie Dunsmore 2017