Some time in 1981, I made my first-ever soufflé (cheese), from a recipe by Julia Child. To my astonishment, it rose, and it stayed risen. It was delicious. It was, in a word, perfect.
And I have never made another one. I figure the only direction one can go from there is south and I go south way too often by accident as it is.
By the same token, a freak effort off the top of my head last year meant that a couple of hours before the Miles Franklin Literary Award shortlist was announced, I listed my prediction and got a perfect score, which means that any attempt to do it again is doomed to failure.
However, here on the day before the shortlist is to be announced, pressure is being applied. It's sheer madness, considering I have actually read fewer than half the novels on the longlist -- this reviewing-four-novels-a-week-for-the-SMH caper means that my reading patterns have radically changed. But okay, for what it's worth, here is my prediction:
I predict that the judges will take the slightly unusual step of choosing a longlist with only four novels on it rather than five, and that those novels will be, in alphabetical order, Careless, Carpentaria, Dreams of Speaking and Silent Parts.
And I think Carpentaria will win.