What's so funny about Ian McEwan? Even his most devoted fans may be a bit surprised to learn that the novelist's latest effort, Solar, is one of the finalists for this year's Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for comic fiction.
McEwan has said, "I hate comic novels; it's like being wrestled to the ground and being tickled, being forced to laugh." But the Independent noted he "did concede that the book had extended comic stretches."
Other books on the shortlist are
Solar by Ian McEwan -- Winner!
One Day by David Nicholls,
Diamond Star Halo by Tiffany Murray,
Skippy Dies by Paul Murray and
From Aberystwyth with Love by Malcolm Pryce.
"The winner will be announced at the Guardian Hay festival, and will receive a jereboam of champagne, a set of the Everyman Wodehouse as well as getting a locally raised Gloucestershire Old Spot pig named after the winning book," the Guardian wrote.
2009 Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize Shortlist
"Forget the prestige, the sales boost and the thousands of pounds that come with winning the Booker or the Costa prize: what any author really wants is a pig named after their novel. Fortunately for the writers in the running for its 10th annual award, the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse prize for comic fiction does just that," the Guardian observed in announcing this year's shortlist. The winner will be named May 29.
A Snowball in Hell by Christopher Brookmyre
A Fraction of the Whole by Steve ToltzJeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi by Geoff Dyer -- WINNER!
Their Finest Hour and a Half by Lissa Evans
Rancid Pansies by James Hamilton-Paterson, added #1 in series Cooking with Fernet Branca
How the Soldier Repairs the Gramophone by Sasa Stanisic.
"I have a very simple rule," said judge David Campbell, publisher at Everyman. "If I'm not smiling by page one or laughing by page six, the book is in some trouble. But this year's shortlisted books are all bloody good."