By Night the Mountain Burns by Juan Tomás Ávila Laurel

By Night the Mountain Burns‘By Night the Mountain Burns’ by Juan Tomás Ávila Laurel is the first novel by an author from Equatorial Guinea to be longlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize. It is also only the second book from the country ever to be translated into English and recounts the narrator’s childhood memories of living on the small remote island of Annobón in the South Atlantic Ocean where the inhabitants deal with various crises including a bush fire and a cholera epidemic. Continue reading

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Bloodlines by Marcello Fois

untitled‘Bloodlines’ by Marcello Fois and translated from the Italian by Silvester Mazzarella tells the story of the Chironi family during the early twentieth century in Sardinia. Michele Angelo Chironi, a blacksmith and Mercede Lai are both orphans who marry seven months after they first meet at a church in 1889. While the early years of their marriage are happy ones, their lives are plagued with misfortune after the turn of the century. Continue reading

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The Giraffe’s Neck by Judith Schalansky

The Giraffe's NeckLonglisted for this year’s Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, ‘The Giraffe’s Neck’ by Judith Schalansky and translated from the German by Shaun Whiteside tells the story of Inge Lohmark, a biology teacher approaching the end of her career at a high school in a former East German country backwater. She has a firm belief in Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution yet, somewhat ironically, she is highly resistant to adapting to change in her own life.

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The Investigation by Jung-Myung Lee

The Investigation‘The Investigation’ by Jung-Myung Lee and translated by Chi-Young Kim is only the second book translated from Korean into English to ever be longlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize in its twenty-five year history. Set in Japan during the Second World War, it tells the story of Watanabe, a literature student and guard at Fukouka prison which holds anti-Japanese Korean rebels, intellectuals and dissidents. Watanabe is attempting to find the criminal behind the brutal murder of the much-loathed prison censor and war hero, Sugiyama. However, he is unconvinced by an early confession from one of the most notorious inmates and after taking over the role of prison censor himself, his investigation starts to unravel a very different side to Sugiyama. Continue reading

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In the Beginning Was the Sea by Tomás González

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I have read a few French books translated into English by Frank Wynne including ‘Alex’ and ‘Irene’ by Pierre Lemaitre but I was unfamiliar with his translations from Spanish until now. ‘In the Beginning Was the Sea’ is Tomás González’s debut novel and was first published in 1983 by the owner of a Bogotá nightclub where he worked as a barman. Over thirty years later, it is the first of his books to be translated into English and has recently been longlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize.  Continue reading

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The Independent Foreign Fiction Prize Longlist 2015

It’s been an interesting week for book award longlists. First, there was the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction longlist announced on Tuesday followed by the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize longlist announced late on Wednesday. The fifteen novels are:Independent Foreign Fiction Prize

  • The Ravens by Tomas Bannerhed translated from the Swedish by Sarah Death
  • The End of Days by Jenny Erpenbeck translated from the German by Susan Bernofsky
  • Bloodlines by Marcello Fois translated from the Italian by Silvester Mazzarella
  • In the Beginning Was the Sea by Tomás González translated from the Spanish by Frank Wynne
  • The Dead Lake by Hamid Ismailov translated from the Russian by Andrew Bromfield
  • F by Daniel Kehlmann translated from the German by Carol Brown Janeway
  • Boyhood Island by Karl Ove Knausgaard translated from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett
  • By Night the Mountain Burns by Juan Tomás Ávila Laurel translated from the Spanish by Jethro Soutar
  • The Investigation by Jung-Myung Lee translated from the Korean by Chi-Young Kim
  • While the Gods Were Sleeping by Erwin Mortier translated from the Dutch by Paul Vincent
  • Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami translated from the Japanese by Philip Gabriel
  • The Giraffe’s Neck by Judith Schalansky translated from the German by Shaun Whiteside
  • Tiger Milk by Stefanie de Velasco translated from the German by Tim Mohr
  • Look Who’s Back by Timur Vermes translated from the German by Jamie Bulloch
  • The Last Lover by Can Xue translated from the Chinese by Annelise Finegan Wasmoen

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The Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction Longlist 2015

This year’s Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction longlist was announced today. The twenty novels are:

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Outline by Rachel Cusk
Crooked Heart by Lissa Evans
Aren’t We Sisters? by Patricia Ferguson
I Am China by Xiaolu Guo
Dear Thief by Samantha Harvey
Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
The Offering by Grace McCleen
The Country of Ice Cream Star by Sandra Newman
The Girl Who Was Saturday Night by Heather O’Neil
The Bees by Laline Paull
The Table of Less Valued Knights by Marie Phillips
The Walk Home by Rachel Seiffert
A God in Every Stone by Kamila Shamsie
How to be Both by Ali Smith
The Shore by Sara Taylor
A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler
The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters
After Before by Jemma Wayne
The Life of a Banana by PP Wong

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