Before the List, there was the Ark

When I moved over to Denmark, back in 2004, I had to have something of a cull of all my books. Mainly because I had to come over with everything that I owned, that was moveable, in the back of a Ford Transit van, partly because there wasn’t the room to store all that much in the flat I was moving to.

Some books made the trip, others didn’t.

I went for sentimentality.

The books that had anything of a personal meaning to me made the cut, those that I didn’t really have much of an emotional attachment to, got taken to the local Charity Shop.

Schindler's ArkThis one I kept because I can remember the very strong feelings I had when I finished it – if you’ve read it, you’ll know what I mean – and partly because it has the original, different title to the filmed version.

I must admit, that when Thomas Keneally won the 1982 Booker Prize for fiction with it, I was a little surprised by the ‘Fiction’ designation, but if that’s what it takes/took to get it to a wider audience, the so be it. I remember there being something of a ‘controversy’ about it winning as well. As Librarians the world over, shook the dust from their hair and perhaps whispered ‘shhhhhhhhh!’ a little louder than normal. The Booker Prize category is given as ‘Biographical Novel’, which just about seems to cover everything.

My copy isn’t a first edition or anything like that. But being called ‘Ark’, instead of ‘List’, does mean that it isn’t American as they always had the title as ‘List’. It also means it came out before the film Schindler’s List, as after that, all versions were changed.

I will also point out here, that I read – and thoroughly enjoyed – the 1983 winner, J.M.Coetzee’s Life And Times of Michael K. Unfortunately, despite (my version) having a pretty decent cover as I remember and not being all that thick…it failed the cut test.

And stayed in England.

In Leeds. In the Charity Shop on Street Lane.

Where you can probably still find it.

Under the dust of 9 years.

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