David Reviews

 "You're not an artist, Peggy. You solve problems." Don Draper.

THE BOOKER PRIZE CEREMONY FILMS
27 November 2023

At last night's Booker Prize ceremony, each of the six nominated books was represented by a video of a reading, and each of these films was directed by Hannah Berry George. The winner of the prize was Paul Lynch for his magnificent dystopian novel 'Prophet Song', and here you can watch the film Berry George made for his book, and the other five.


1. Prophet Song - Paul Lynch



The deserved winner of this year's prize was Paul Lynch's 'Prophet Song', which imagines the emergence of a totalitarian state in Ireland. With clear parallels to Syria, it offers a chilling reminder of the fragility of democracy.


Irish actor Caitríona Balfe reads an excerpt from the early part of the book as the madness begins to unfold.





2. The Bee Sting - Paul Murray



This entertaining examination of a dysfunctional Irish family seen through each of their four very different perspectives takes a roller coaster ride through their back stories, unearthing poignant details which slowly explain the various dynamics between them.


The spirited reading by Susan Lynch comes from the part of the book where we discover why it's called 'The Bee Sting', though you'll must read the book to learn the full story of the incident described.





3. Western Lane - Chetna Maroo



Chetna Maroo's Western Lane is a lamentation on grief, as told by a teenage girl who struggling to comes to terms with her loss. She buries her feelings on the squash court where, encouraged by her grieving father, she discovers unexpected catharsis and sporting success.


Nina Wadia's reading is a visceral description of the distraction offered by the squash court.





4. If I Survive You - Jonathan Escoffery



This wide-ranging rumination concerns itself with race, identity and the difficult relationships between fathers and sons, and occasionally brothers. Each chapter could stand alone as a short story, and they range in tone from unnervingly funny or hauntingly poignant.


In this excerpt, Alfred Enoch perfectly captures the dawning recognition of micro-aggressions, and more overt racism in the American Mid-West.





5. This Other Eden - Paul Harding



This Other Eden is a richly imagined depiction of an unfortunate series of events that befall a small unconventional inter-racial community living on an island just off the US coast in the early part of the 20th Century, who fall prey to the orthodox mores of the era, and their aggressive imposition.


British actor Patterson Joseph gives a fierce reading to an excerpt describing a physical examination of the islanders.





6. Study For Obedience - Sarah Bernstein



Sarah Bernstein's unsettling tale keeps the reader slightly at bay with a cryptic narrative that makes it difficult to be sure whether events are real or merely within the imagination of the central character. As the story unfolds, we come to realise she is describing the way trauma is passed down the generations.


Bel Powley's reading captures the intensity of the main character's perspective and lends the text a disturbing aspect that serves it extremely well.

Hannah Berry George is represented by Merman, and you can find out more about her at their website.

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