«Soul-shattering» Prophet Song by Paul Lynch wins 2023 Booker prize

Paul Lynch’s timely Booker winner is a novel written to jolt the reader awake. Irish author Paul Lynch has won the 2023 Booker prize for his fifth novel Prophet Song, set in an imagined Ireland that is descending into tyranny. It was described as a «Soul-shattering and true» novel that «captures the social and political anxieties of our current moment» by the judging chair, Esi Edugyan.

Canadian novelist Edugyan, who has twice been shortlisted for the Booker prize herself, said the decision to award Lynch the £50,000 prize «wasn’t unanimous» and was settled on by discussion and multiple rounds of voting that lasted «about six hours» on Saturday.

Prophet Song takes place in an alternate Dublin. Members of the newly formed secret police, established by a government turning towards totalitarianism, turn up on the doorstep of microbiologist Eilish asking for her husband, a senior official in the Teachers’ Union of Ireland. Soon, he disappears – along with hundreds of other civilians – and Eilish is left to look after their four children and her elderly father, fighting to hold the family together amid civil war.

Aymyrat YUSUPOV,
student of the Institute of International Relations
of the MFA of Turkmenistan.


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