Over at the Tournament of Books, Gary Shteyngart’s Absurdistan has risen from the dead in the zombie round to claim a berth in the final. In the process, it has vaulted me into third place in the Book Blogger’s Office Pool—a nice change after many days of languishing at or near last place. Click over to the ToB site tomorrow to see which of the two finalists walks away with the coveted Rooster: Cormac McCarthy’s much-vaunted The Road, or the surprise finalist, Gary Shteyngart’s Absurdistan. Given the praise so far lavished on The Road, I fear it will be an uphill battle for Absurdistan. But if Absurdistan wins, so do I. What do I win? Well, nothing actually. But the Morning News reader on whose behalf I have been participating in the Pool stands to win copies of all sixteen of the contending books and it would be a great pleasure to be the instrument by which a fellow reader obtains fabulous free books.
Happy though I am to have been returned to contention in the Pool, I must register an objection to one of the criticisms levelled at Kate Atkinson’s One Good Turn, the book that Absurdistan vanquished today. Judge Rosecrans Baldwin dismissed One Good Turn as “a detective novel for literary folk who don’t like detective novels.” I’m a literary type who loves detective novels, and I think that Kate Atkinson is the bee’s knees.