A surprise entry wins the Booker Prize for Outstanding Piece of Fiction. The Road to Bernards Cattle, by Dom Cummoffit wasn’t originally entered into the annual contest. Nevertheless, the judges felt that the book merited entry.
The Booker Prize recognises works of fiction that don’t sell well. A Booker Prize-winning novel usually features outstanding literary talent, writing unreadable prose, of high cultural value, that ‘readers’ leave unread on a coffee table to impress guests. So the inclusion of this poorly written, inconsistent and unbelievable journey, has caused an uproar in literary circles. Margaret Atwood is said to be particularly disappointed not to get her annual cheque.
Cummoffit’s story, tells of Dom’s search to find peace and sanctuary, in a grim northern town. Our hero is feeling increasingly isolated from his friends and colleagues, with his health in tatters, his eyesight failing and no petrol stations open to buy his wife birthday flowers, he and his family head north. Reliant on nothing more than a £70,000 Land Rover Discovery, suitcases full of clothes, prearranged food deliveries and a Waitrose card, they attempt to make a new start.
Once there, they isolate themselves in a very basic cottage, equipped with only 3 beds, 2 bathrooms, heated floors and a pool. Surviving on a diet of avocado, quinoa and almond milk, contact with the outside world is limited to the internet, mobile phone and top-secret carrier pigeon. The family offset the boredom and ennui that accompanies a life of boundless opportunity, by walking the grounds of their estate.
In the dramatic denouement, with his health periodically failing and getting better, Dom loads his family into the car, before attempting the perilous journey back to London. Unfortunately, his failing eyesight causes him to drive 30 miles in the wrong direction, where they take refuge in the sun, at one of the country’s most loved beauty spots.
The reader is left wondering if the horror and sacrifice will ever end?
Many readers were left baffled and confused by Cummoffit’s story, causing him to take to national television to explain the plot. The Booker Prize judges* saw this as a vindication of their decision to give Mr Cummoffit the award.
*This year’s Booker Prize judges were: Mr B Johnson, Mr M Gove, Mr I D Smith, Mr G Shapps, Mr M Hancock, Mr R Sunak and Mr D Raab. They all agreed that Mr Cummoffit had done very well.
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