So far, two matches in, I have been incredibly underwhelmed by the judges’ commentary. My feelings about Brockman not having read 2666 were correct. Kate Schlegel’s notes today were so weak, I might conclude that she flipped a coin. I know that I may be overreacting a touch—this isn’t a prestigious literary award. Based on previous Tournaments, I think the decisions rendered should be entertaining in some way, and so far, they just are not.
Granted, Netherland and A Partisan’s Daughter were pretty equally matched, and neither was without problems. So perhaps it was a coin toss. If Kate Schlegel doesn’t want to be a judge next year, I’m happy to take her place.
In match three, two debut novels square off. White Tiger, the 2008 Booker Prize winner, meets Harry, Revised, written by a popular blogger and previous ToB judge. Tough call. Despite feeling like White Tiger is a no-brainer, judge Jonah Lehrer, author of How We Decide and Proust Was a Neuroscientist, just may buck literary convention for a fresh choice. Again, it’s anyone’s guess. I predict White Tiger.