The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga has won the 2008 Man Booker literary prize: Adiga becomes the third debut novelist, and the second Indian debut novelist, to win the award in the forty year history of the prize. The two other debut novelists to have won the prize are DBC Pierre in 2003 for his novel Vernon God Little and Arundhati Roy in 1997 for The God of Small Things. Aravind Adiga's winning novel The White Tiger is described as a "compelling, angry and darkly humorous" novel about a man's journey from Indian ... read more

Philip Roth's Indignation describes the short unhappy life of Marcus Messner, a college student in the early '50s who is paranoid about getting kicked out of school and drafted to serve in the Korean War, in spite of the fact that his grades are so strong he could become valedictorian. Messner, the dutiful son of a kosher butcher in Newark, transfers from a local school to Winesburg College in Ohio, trying to escape an overprotective father who has become overwhelmed by fear that his son will die. Messner's a ... read more

A lot's being made today of the fact that Gwen Ifill, the moderator of Thursday night's vice presidential debate, has a new book coming out on Inauguration Day titled The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama. The story's drawn hundreds of comments on the Drudge Retort. Ifill has made no secret of the book, which has been mentioned for months in media reports. On Aug. 21, she wrote an essay for Time magazine that describes her motivation for writing it: ... Obama is just one member of a generation of ... read more

The organizers of the Orwell Prize recently began running George Orwell's diary as a blog, 70 years to the day after he wrote each entry. Most of the entries thus far have been mundane -- Orwell was obsessed with observing animals, appropriately enough -- but his Sept. 27 diary contains a particularly vivid description of poverty in Marrakesh, Morocco: People sleep in the streets by hundreds and thousands, and beggars, especially children, swarm everywhere. It is noticeable that this is so not only in quarters ... read more

So many awful things happen to Roseanne McNulty, the protagonist of Sebastian Barry's Booker-shortlisted novel The Secret Scripture, that at a certain point I couldn't help but look forward to more of them. McNulty's a century-old Irish woman who has been living at a mental hospital for so long that nobody can remember why she was sent there in the first place. A staff psychiatrist, Dr. Grene, undertakes an investigation to determine whether she had genuine mental problems or was institutionalized for "moral" ... read more

There were some surprises in today's announcement of the shortlist for the Man Booker Prize -- the books by betting favorites Salman Rushdie, The Enchantress of Florence, and Joseph O'Neill, Netherland, didn't make the cut. Literary critic Joseph Sutherland was so sure Rushdie would win the Booker that he wrote, "If The Enchantress of Florence doesn't win this year’s Man Booker I'll curry my proof copy and eat it." (He backed off the promise today.) The nominees for the prize, which will be announced Oct. 14: ... read more

Over the years I've become an obsessive Anglophile, following British football and literature with the kind of unvarnished joy that can only come from being completely ill-informed on a subject. I don't know enough about either one to become jaded, though my adoption of Tottenham Hotspur as favorite team is beginning to change that. My love of British books is exercised by following each year's Man Booker Prize, the most prestigious literary award for fiction in the U.K. The prize goes through a three-stage ... read more