I had to come on here to talk about the Man Booker International Prize 2018 longlist. It looks a lot more interesting than The Women’s Prize 2018 longlist, which didn’t move me one iota. The Man Booker International Prize always seems to have that right amount of flavor and difference to get a lot of readers of literary fiction interested. Sadly this year’s list contains no black authors but despite that I’ve found at least 8 books out of the 16 that I’d like to check out at some point; whether they wind up on the shortlist or not. The shortlist will be announced on April 12th and the winner will be announced on May 22nd. The judges are all powerhouses in their jobs and that should make it hard for them to agree on the shortlist and in the end the winner. They will be looking at different aspects of novel-writing and it will be hard to predict which books will wind up on the shortlist. The judges are being chaired by Lisa Appignanesi OBE, author and cultural commentator. The panel consists of translator Michael Hofmann, novelist and essayist Hari Kunzru, critic Tim Martin, and novelist and short story writer Helen Oyeyemi.
Happily France has 2 entries with Vernon Subutext 1 by Virginie Despentes and The 7th Function of Language by Lauren Binet. The former I’ve heard a lot of French people rave about here and the latter I haven’t heard much about but it sounds intriguing, especially since Laurent Binet is known for HHhH which was a very successful novel and adapted to film. There is a strong Latin representation on this longlist with 3 books from Spain and 1 from Argentina.
The list is very eclectic as usual and all sorts of genres are represented in this longlist. There’s even a horror book on the list called Frankenstein in Bagdad by Iraqi writer Ahmed Saadawi. I’m not sure what I’ll be able to read before the shortlist is announced in April or even what I will be able to find, since sometimes some titles may not be readily available. I’m in no hurry. If I read anything, firstly I will probably pick up Vernon Subutex 1 and/or The 7th Function of Language because I can get them both here very easily in French. So that’s my take on this literary prize. Will you be reading anything from this longlist? Will you be following this prize closely? If so what are you interested in reading? I’ll leave the longlist below with the books I’d like to read at some point in bold.
The 13 books on this year’s longlist are:
- The 7th Function of Language by Laurent Binet (France) translated by Sam Taylor
- The Impostor by Javier Cercas (Spain) translated by Frank Wynne
- Vernon Subutex 1 by Virginie Despentes (France) translated by Frank Wynne
- Go, Went, Gone by Jenny Erpenbeck (Germany) translated by Susan Bernofsky
- The White Book by Han Kang (South Korea) translated byDeborah Smith
- Die, My Love by Ariana Harwicz (Argentina) translated by Sarah Moses & Carolina Orloff
- The World Goes On by László Krasznahorkai (Hungary) translated by John Batki, Ottilie Mulzet & George Szirtes
- Like a Fading Shadow by Antonio Muñoz (Spain) translated by Camilo A. Ramirez
- The Flying Mountain by Christoph Ransmayr (Austria) translated by Simon Pare
- Frankenstein in Baghdad by Ahmed Saadawi (Iraq) translated by Jonathan Wright
- Flights by Olga Tokarczuk (Poland) translated by Jennifer Croft
- The Stolen Bicycle by Wu Ming-Yi (Taiwan) translated by Darryl Sterk
- The Dinner Guest by Gabriela Ybarra (Spain), translated by Natasha Wimmer
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