Inspired on The Man Booker Prize 2014 Final Part

Chelsea

Chelsea Blog (2)

Hi, I’m Chelsea, a Consultant here at Inspired Selection. Originally from the states, my love of books led me to pursue an MA in Publishing at Kingston University, before starting in my role at Inspired where I focus on working within the trade and academic sectors.
Chocolate Ice-creamBalletnews

If I had to choose three images that depict me, they would be: chocolate ice cream because I have a huge sweet tooth, the ballet because I’ve always had a passion for dance and the news as I am obsessed with current events.

Also, something that most people would never guess about me would be that growing up I was a painfully shy child – but somehow, I managed to move abroad on my own, work in recruitment and love to go to networking events and speak to people! Even though I’ve recently relocated back to Texas, I will continue to work for Inspired Selection and cannot wait to speak with you soon!

To Rise Again at a Decent Hour – Joshua Ferris

‘To Rise Again at a Decent Hour’ tells the story of Park Avenue dentist, Paul O’Rourke; or rather, allows him to speak to us in this first person narrative. After a traumatic childhood event, Paul has spent a large portion of his adult life looking for somewhere he fits in, despite his prominent and prosperous dental practice. One day, he is surprised and outraged to find out that someone has built a website for his practice and opened Facebook and Twitter accounts in his name, all things he has previously scorned. As he watches the social media channels grow, he is at first angry but then begins to worry that perhaps his online identity is more interesting than the actual man. These media channels begin proselytizing about a forgotten peoples and religious sect, based on doubt, and atheist Paul wonders, has he finally found a group of people with whom he belongs?

This book addresses the disconnection that many people feel going through life and the loneliness and isolation that can result from living in such a busy society full of ‘exclusive’ groups. Paul is always obsessed with the close knit religious communities but can never fit in due to his disbelief in God which leads him to constant distress and depression. Whilst dealing with weighty topics, the book is interspersed with humour in the main form of anecdotes that Paul gives us from his daily life as well as the random tangents he has the habit of following. These things then combine to make Joshua Ferris’ third offering both relatable and readable.

Rachel

Rachel

I’m the Graduate Consultant here at Inspired Selection and the newest addition to the team specialising in entry-level and junior roles across the industry. I’m an ex-bookseller with a love of literature and as any of my friends would tell you, never get me started on discussing books because I won’t stop!

I have a bit of a soft spot for the Man Booker Prize because at the Cheltenham Literature Festival, which takes place in my home town, they hold an event every year with the Shortlisted winners which I love attending.

The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan

The Narrow Road to the Deep North is a poignant, insightful and moving story about an Australian POW building the Burmese railway for the Japanese. It moves between different periods of the main character, Dorrigo Evans’s life, telling the story of his time before the war growing up in Tasmania, his harrowing experiences as a Doctor in the POW camp, his celebrated status as an old man and of a love affair that burns in his mind throughout his entire life.

The language and description within this book is both exquisite and horrific, as Flanagan moves seamlessly from describing falling in love in the heat of an Australian summer to the gruelling environment and events of the POW camp. There were many times whilst reading this book that I had to pause and just think about what he had said with regards to general human existence, the meaning of life and the point of suffering. Apologies to anyone who saw a girl in a fur coat on the tube staring absent-mindedly into space, that was me…

His character development, something I feel passionately about within novels, was perfect. The different time periods showed how the experiences shaped him marking a clear progression from naïve young adult to knowing elder.

Something I hadn’t been expecting from this novel was Flanagan’s ability to highlight the cultural differences and thought processes between the Japanese and the Australians, explaining how each character came to their conclusions and their own actions, showing that in some horrific situations there are just bad circumstances and differences in cultural upbringing that result in misunderstanding.

All in all, a fantastic read and I can understand why this novel was awarded the Man Booker Prize for 2014. I’m now off to discover and read the rest of Richard Flanagan’s novels…

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