NYRB News


J. G. Farrell’s “Troubles” tops Man Booker Prize poll as best novel of 1970

Forty years after it was first published, Troubles, by J G Farrell, was announced, on May 19, 2010, as the winner of the Lost Man Booker Prize — a one-off prize to honour the books published in 1970, but not considered for the prize when its rules were changed.

It won by a clear majority, winning 38% of the votes by the international reading public, more than double the votes cast for any other book on the shortlist.

Troubles is the first in Farrell’s Empire Trilogy, which was followed by The Siege of Krishnapur (1973) and The Singapore Grip (1978). The Siege of Krishnapur won the Booker Prize in 1973 and was shortlisted for the Best of the Booker, a special award created to mark the 40th anniversary of the prize in 2008. J G Farrell died in 1979. Farrell’s trilogy is published by NYRB Classics in the US & Canada.

Set in Ireland in 1919, just after the First World War, Troubles tells the tragic-comic story of Major Brendan Archer who has gone to visit Angela, a woman he believes may be his fiancée. Her home, from which he is unable to detach himself, is the dilapidated Majestic, a once grand Irish hotel, and all around is the gathering storm of the Irish War of Independence.

The Guardian wrote, “The evidence of change and decay at the Majestic is no parochial phenomenon and it is this feeling of the particular reflecting the universal, a feeling so successfully pervading page after page of this clever book that makes it a tour de force.”

Ion Trewin, Literary Director of the Man Booker Prizes comments, ‘Troubles is a novel of such lasting quality that it has never been out of print in the 40 years since it was first published. Had this been the winning novel in 1970, JG Farrell would have gone on to become the first author to win the Booker Prize twice.”

For more information about the Man Booker Prizes click here.