It’s not just because Hollinghurst was the favourite that his failure to make the shortlist is so shocking.
He is the finest British novelist of his era, and his production rate is relatively low – opportunities for making the shortlist are infrequent. His last book, The Line of Beauty, came out in 2004. That did win the Booker. It seems Hollinghurst’s omission this time is a case of once the bride, never a second marriage (although Peter Carey, JM Coetzee and JG Farrell have all won it twice).
To leave Hollinghurst off the list is like omitting Evelyn Waugh in the 1930s or Kingsley Amis in the 1960s (notwithstanding the fact that the Booker only began in 1969).
He combines an extremely elegant yet clear prose style with subtle humour and exceptional powers of description and observation. He can examine a single physical gesture and diagnose the accumulated psychological reasons behind it, better than any living novelist, and most dead ones. The Stranger’s Child – the book left off this year’s shortlist – is rich in all these attributes.
via Telegraph Blogs