Un bon goncourt

As he notes the sales shooting from 20,000 pre-prize to 300,000 post-prize, Pierre Assouline declares Atiq Rahimi’s Syngué sabour “a good Goncourt.” If a prize spurs a big leap in sales, then it is doing a big part of its job. But not all of it. Alone, it would make DBC Pierre a good Booker. Which it isn’t. Prizes also reward work that a philistine culture doesn’t appreciate. The problem with the DBC Pierre pick is that it conferred snob status on a junk artifact. This was a bon Goncourt both because the book is bon and for the French elite conferring snob status on an explicitly ethnic work. Don’t forget this is a nation where snob status is as powerful as celebrity status in the U.K. and U.S. A new hot word in French publishing circles: “bibliodiversité.”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s