The longlist for the Man Booker International Prize 2017 was announced today. The 13 books are:
- Compass by Mathias Énard (translated from the French by Charlotte Mandell)
- Swallowing Mercury by Wioletta Greg (translated from the Polish by Eliza Marciniak)
- A Horse Walks Into a Bar by David Grossman (translated from the Hebrew by Jessica Cohen)
- War and Turpentine by Stefan Hertmans (translated from the Dutch by David McKay)
- The Unseen by Roy Jacobsen (translated from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett and Don Shaw)
- The Traitor’s Niche by Ismail Kadare (translated from the Albanian by John Hodgson)
- Fish Have No Feet by Jón Kalman Stefánsson (translated from the Icelandic by Philip Roughton)
- The Explosion Chronicles by Yan Lianke (translated from the Chinese by Carlos Rojas)
- Black Moses by Alain Mabanckou (translated from the French by Helen Stevenson)
- Bricks and Mortar by Clemens Meyer (translated from the German by Katy Derbyshire)
- Mirror, Shoulder, Signal by Dorthe Nors (translated from the Danish by Misha Hoekstra)
- Judas by Amos Oz (translated from the Hebrew by Nicholas de Lange)
- Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin (translated from the Spanish by Megan McDowell)
So my predictions were not particularly successful this year with just Fever Dream making the cut from my preferences along with ‘The Explosion Chronicles’ from other possibilities after Lianke’s shortlisting for The Four Books last year. However, with the exception of Zone by Mathias Énard, I haven’t read any books by the remaining ten authors which means there is a lot of new work to discover.
Once again, female authors are very much in the minority although there is stronger representation for female translators. In terms of publishers, Peirene Press is notably absent. However, I am looking forward to reading the three Scandinavian novels which sound particularly interesting this year. ‘The Unseen’ and ‘Fish Have No Feet’ are both set in fishing communities while ‘Mirror, Shoulder, Signal’ is about a woman in her 40s who is learning to drive and looking to reconnect with her sister.
I’m also pleased to see nominations for two books published by Fitzcarraldo Editions even if both of them do sound a tad daunting. ‘Bricks and Mortar’ is a 650 page novel about the sex trade in the former German Democratic Republic described by A. L. Kennedy as “like diving into a Force 10 gale of reality” while Énard’s Prix Goncourt winning ‘Compass’ meditates on the relationship between Europe and the Middle East clocking in at a mere 480 pages.
I will be reading the longlist along with the other members of the shadow panel: Stu, Tony Malone, Tony Messenger, David, Bellezza, Grant, and Lori so do look out for our reviews over the next few weeks.
The shortlist of six books will be announced on Thursday 20th April. Have you read any of the longlisted books?