There’s nothing more annoying than knowing the book you’re reading is a work of genius and that your antennae are simply not attuned; Rushdie’s magmun opus feeling like incoherent nonsense; sublime humour, magical realism and historical allegory notwithstanding. I was struggling to read a chapter a day by the end of chapter 3. Normally I’d bail out but this is allegedly the best Booker winner of the last 40 years – a must-read book is ever there was one.
Then there was the upcoming book group – how could I possibly contribute if I hadn’t a clue about what was contained between the covers. So I ploughed on through 647 excruciating pages. Three weeks later, as I turn the final page, the sense of achievement in having read the Booker of Bookers is small, minimised by the fact that a) my literary blindspot has not been healed and b) amidst all that verbosity, the author has cheated me by omitting the most satisfying phrase of all … an error, which I promptly rectified.