Friday, April 3, 2015

The 2015 Folio Prize winner: Akhil Sharma's Family Life

The Folio prize was established in 2013 by literary elites in Britain in reaction to what they perceived as a downmarket, populist move by the Booker judges in recent years. It's an 'anti-Booker prize' if you will, a bit like the Stella prize here in Australia, which arose in reaction to a perceived male-dominated bias by the Miles Franklin Award judges.
The Folio prize this year went to Akhil Sharma's Family Life, which I have just read.
It's an enjoyable read, no doubt about that, but it's essentially very lightweight and totally unoriginal. An Indian family migrate to America and find it strange and a bit hard-going. Gee! There's a tragedy, there are family stresses, there's just normality. 
Sure, it's been universally applauded by reviewers, from the New York Times to the Guardian and the establishment rest. But the best of 2015? Not at all. It's just not deep. There's no critique, no insight, no resonance. 
It just pains me that Colm Toibin's superb Nora Webster was also on the shortlist and didn't win.

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