Novel about Darwin makes Booker Prize Longlist
This Thing of Darkness, a novel by Harry Thompson about FitzRoy and Darwin’s voyage on the Beagle, has made the longlist for the Man Booker Prize for Fiction 2005. The book has only just been released and I have not been able to get my hands on a copy in New Zealand yet; but by all accounts it is a ripping yarn that focuses on the conflicting views and, eventually, lives, of FitzRoy and Darwin. A blend of fact and fiction, I don’t doubt that it will be successful and I hope that it whets the appetite of its readers for the entertaining but purely factual look at the biological basis for Darwin’s views that is the heart of Looking for Darwin.
Harry Thompson has wonderful credentials as both a writer and a producer of humorous television shows. His being diagnosed with lung cancer coincidentally with the release of This Thing of Darkness has tended to overshadow what should have been a moment of joy. I wish him well and hope that he triumphs over both his disease and the Man Booker Prize for Fiction.