Lost for Words by Edward St. Aubyn
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2014, 262 pages)
Lost for Words was an interesting novel. Set in the UK it revolves around the prestigious (and fictitious) Elysian prize. The committee members brought together to select those worthy of consideration come from a wide variety of backgrounds – meaning very few are actually “qualified” (depending on your definition) to serve as judges for such an award. We are privy to the inner workings of the committee as they push for their own agendas and play off of one another in an attempt to get their pick through to the very end.
We also get the perspective of a small contingent of authors who are vying for the award. Some overthink their craft while others hold very high opinions of themselves and couldn’t imagine not being chosen as the winner. We are introduced to Sam, Katherine, and Sonny (not to mention a few others) whose lives become intertwined as the deadline for the Elysian prize draws near.
This was a quick, humorous read but it wasn’t what I expected. I’d be curious to try other books by St. Aubyn (for example the Patrick Melrose novels highlighted on the cover) because this seemed like it was something that wouldn’t have a very widespread appeal beyond those who have an interest in the literary world and find themselves often reflecting on who gets to judge various literary awards and wondering how on earth they could have chosen the winners they chose.