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Sunday, December 28, 2008

Return of the storytellers

By any reckoning, 2008 was a poor year for fiction and an exceedingly good one for non-fiction. Few really exceptional novels were published (a fact illustrated by the drabness of the Booker shortlist), whereas some outstanding non-fiction titles appeared. Moreover, it was non-fiction that did the better job of getting people talking. We know all about "outliers" and "nudges", about Cherie Blair's hairdresser and Dylan Jones's boycrush on David Cameron. By contrast, practically the only work of fiction to generate any chatter was Sebastian Faulks's Devil May Care

This pattern, it is safe to say, is not going to repeat itself next year. In 2009, it won't be works of non-fiction, but novels that command the majority of attention. This is because an unusual number of high-profile (and therefore newsworthy) novelists publish new books - and lots of those books are going to be unusually interesting.


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