Author who wrote book in single, novel-length sentence wins Goldsmiths Prize
One of the judges, Professor Blake Morrison, said: “Set over a few hours in a single day, and told in the first-person voice of a middle-aged engineer, Mike McCormack’s Solar Bones transcends these seeming limits magnificently.
“Politics, family, art, marriage, health, civic duty and the environment are just a few of the themes it touches on, in a prose that’s lyrical yet firmly rooted. Its subject may be an ordinary working life but it is itself an extraordinary work.”
Also available as an ebook, it begins almost in poetry format, with: “the bell the bell as hearing the bell as hearing the bell as standing here the bell being heard standing here hearing it ring out through the grey light of this morning, noon or night”.
It continues as prose, but without any full stops or full sentences.
The other five shortlisted entries included Transit by Rachel Cusk, The Lesser Bohemians by Eimear McBride, Like A Mule Bringing Ice Cream To The Sun by Sarah Ladipo Manyika, Hot Milk by Deborah Levy, and Martin John by Anakana Schofield.
McCormack, 51, grew up in County Mayo and is best known for his collections of short stories, including Getting It In The Head (1996) and Forensic Songs (2012).
He said: “It’s about time the prize-giving community honoured experimental works and time that mainstream publishers started honouring their readership by saying: ‘Here are experimental books’.
“Readers are smart. They’re up for it. That was what the people at Tramp Press taught me – they’re up for it. There are readers out there and they have been proved right.”