2013 Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction

Now there’s a mouthful. This prize honours comic fiction which best represents the spirit of P.G. Wodehouse. This coveted prize awards the winner with not only a jeroboam of Bollinger Special Cuvée, a case of Bollinger La Grande Année and a set of the Everyman Wodehouse collection, but also the book’s title will grace a Gloucestershire Old Spot pig.

Last year’s pig was named Snuff (an excellent name for a pig) honouring Terry Pratchett.

Zoo Time (M)
by Howard Jacobson. 

“Novelist Guy Ableman is in thrall to his vivacious wife Vanessa, a strikingly beautiful red-head, contrary, highly strung and blazingly angry. The trouble is, he is no less in thrall to her alluring mother, Poppy. More like sisters than mother and daughter, they come as a pair, a blistering presence that destroys Guy’s peace of mind, suggesting the wildest stories but making it impossible for him to concentrate long enough to write any of them. Not that anyone reads Guy anyway. Not that anyone is reading anything. Reading, Guy fears, is finished. His publisher, fearing the same, has committed suicide. His agent, like all agents, is in hiding. Vanessa, in the meantime, is writing a novel of her own. Guy doesn’t expect her to finish it, or even start it, but he dreads the consequences if she does. In flight from personal disappointment and universal despair, Guy wonders if it’s time to take his love for Poppy to another level. Fiction might be dead, but desire isn’t. And out of that desire he imagines squeezing one more great book. By turns angry, elegiac, and rude, Zoo Time is a novel about love-love of women, love of literature, love of laughter. It shows our funniest writer at his brilliant best.” publisher

Skios (M)
by Michael Frayn. 

“On the sunlit Greek island of Skios, the Fred Toppler Foundation’s annual lecture is to be given by Dr Norman Wilfred, the world-famous authority on the scientific organisation of science. He turns out to be surprisingly young and charming – not at all the intimidating figure they had been expecting. The Foundation’s guests are soon eating out of his hand. So, even sooner, is Nikki, the attractive and efficient organiser. Meanwhile, in a remote villa at the other end of the island, Nikki’s old school-friend Georgie waits for the notorious chancer she has rashly agreed to go on holiday with, and who has only too characteristically failed to turn up. Trapped in the villa with her, by an unfortunate chain of misadventure, is a balding old gent called Dr Norman Wilfred, who has lost his whereabouts, his luggage, his temper and increasingly all normal sense of reality – everything he possesses apart from the flyblown text of a well-travelled lecture on the scientific organisation of science…” publisher

England’s Lane (M)
by Joseph Connolly (not yet available in Canada).

“Jim and Milly. Stan and Jane. Jonathan and Fiona. Winter, 1959. Three married couples: each living in England’s Lane, each with an only child, and each attending to family, and their livelihoods – the ironmonger’s, the sweetshop and the butcher’s. Each of them hiding their lies, disguising sin, coping in the only way they know how.” publisher

Heartbreak Hotel (M
by Deborah Moggach 

“The addictive new comic novel from Deborah Moggach, author of THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL. Russell ‘Buffy’ Buffery – erstwhile thespian and thrice-married B&B owner – has hit on an idea: “Chances are you’ve relied on your Better Half for something you can’t do yourself – fixing the house, sorting out the finances. When they’ve gone, you’re as helpless as a baby. Enrol in “Courses for Divorces” and in a week you’ll be able to stand on your own two feet. Join Buffy and his raggle-taggle group of singletons and divorcees as they seek solace and late-flowering love in her new hilarious bestseller.” Discover

Lightning Rods (M
by Helen DeWitt

“All I want is to be a success. That’s all I ask.’ Failing salesman Joe has a dream – or rather an outrageous fantasy. Because holed up in his trailer Joe comes up with a jaw-dropping plan that will stamp out sexual harassment in the workplace and make his fortune. Win-win? As he turns his life around, Lightning Rods takes us to the very top of corporate America.” publisher

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