Irish writer Paul Lynch has won the prestigious Booker Prize for fiction for his fifth novel, “Prophet Song.”
The dystopian novel is about a woman’s struggle to protect her family as Ireland collapses into totalitarianism in the near future. A civil war in Ireland then forces families to flee the country.
Paul Lynch, 46, spent four years writing the book and was brought to the thought by the long years of the civil war in Syria and the “West’s indifference.”
“I was trying to see into the modern chaos,” Lynch told the Booker website. “The unrest in Western democracies. The problem of Syria — the implosion of an entire nation, the scale of its refugee crisis and the West’s indifference. … I wanted to deepen the reader’s immersion to such a degree that by the end of the book, they would not just know, but feel this problem for themselves.”
Decision influenced by ‘timeless’ theme of book
Canadian writer Esi Edugyan, who chaired the judging panel, said the book is “a triumph of emotional storytelling, bracing and brave” in which Lynch “pulls off feats of language that are stunning to witness.”
Lynch’s win comes days after far-right violence erupted in Ireland’s capital, Dublin, following a stabbing attack outside a primary school.
Edugyan said recent events had come up during their discussions to choose a winner, but it was not the reason the book won.
Lynch’s book “captures the social and political anxieties of our current moment” but also deals with “timeless” themes.
Edugyan said the choice of winner wasn’t unanimous, but the meeting, which lasted six hours, was “collegial.”
Lynch received his trophy from last year’s winner,Sri Lankan author Shehan Karunatilaka, who won for “The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida,” a novel about the trauma of the civil war in his country.
rm/sri (Reuters, AP)