Quién recuerda a PH Newby
Ahora que este Moleskine Literario se ha convertido en un teletipo de quién ha ganado qué premio, es bueno leer este post de Sam Jordison en el blog de The Guardian en que ha decidido releer a algunos premios Booker olvidados y comienza con PH Newby, quien lo ganó en 1969 con Something To Answer For. Y Sam se lleva una sorpresa: pensaba encontrarse con un animal prehistórico y se encontró con un libro buenísimo.
Dice el post: "Yet now, where is this cultural and literary titan? Newby died in 1997 and as far as I can tell, not one of his books remains in print. I'm sure there's an Ozymandian moral to be drawn from the way Newby's works have disappeared - and it's certainly cause for despair among anyone else who hopes to ensure him or herself a crumb of immortality through writing. However, now that I've read Something To Answer For, I'm left more baffled than anything else. I had been hoping to be able to make a few sweeping statements about changing literary habits, the fickle nature of public taste and perhaps how much more impressive the Booker Prize has become since its inception. Instead, I'm just left wondering ... Perhaps something could be said about the attention deficit in today's society and that the book is too demanding for wimpy contemporary readers. It certainly requires careful attention. I, for one, wouldn't buy such an argument, however. Something To Answer For is no harder to follow than this year's Booker-shortlisted Darkmans and a damn site easier than the average Thomas Pynchon.
There's also the question of how interested modern readers are going to be in the book's historical setting, the 1956 Suez crisis. But I'm not convinced by this either. Most of us will find plenty of resonance in the story of a Middle Eastern oil war and two minutes on wikipedia is enough to fill in any background. The only firm conclusion I've been able to draw is that this book is a victim of the vagaries of fate. The simple fact is that I thoroughly enjoyed it. It's beautifully written, shot through with crisp, mordant wit, and Newby plays out his narrative with consummate skill to ensure it baffles and intrigues, leaving the readers hooked and thrashing about for meaning, desperate for him to reel things in."