TORONTO — Literature and gambling are odd bedfellows. But that hasn’t stopped bookies from setting the odds for the prestigious Man Booker Prize, which announced its six-author short list on Tuesday.
“It’s like a game, and there’s something funny being in the same category as a race horse,” said Ruth Ozeki. “At this point, there’s nothing more I can do.”
Ozeki’s novel A Tale For The Time Being was among the six finalists for the prize recognizing the finest fiction in the Commonwealth, with Ozeki representing one of two authors with Canadian ties.
In fact, the B.C.-based author herself defied the odds set by online betmaker William Hill, who listed her book as the longest shot to make it after the 13-author long list was whittled down.
“So how seriously can you take them?” she said, with a laugh.
New Zealand-based Eleanor Catton, whose novel The Luminaries also made the cut and who was born in London, Ont., found the Booker-bookie connection bemusing too.
“I suppose people will bet on anything, won’t they?” she said in an interview from England. “I feel a bit uncomfortable with that, the idea of having someone bet on me. It’s almost like as if I found out that someone was betting on whether or not my current relationship would last.
“Obviously, these books haven’t changed at all since they were on the long list, or before that — they’re still the same experience.”