The Man Booker International Prize 2018 longlist was announced yesterday. The 13 books are:
The 7th Function of Language by Laurent Binet, translated by Sam Taylor
The Impostor by Javier Cercas, translated by Frank Wynne
Vernon Subutex 1 by Virginie Despentes, translated by Frank Wynne
Go, Went, Gone by Jenny Erpenbeck, translated by Susan Bernofsky
The White Book by Han Kang, translated by Deborah Smith
Die, My Love by Ariana Harwicz, translated by Sarah Moses and Carolina Orloff
The World Goes On by László Krasznahorkai, translated by John Batki, Ottilie Mulzet and George Szirtes
Like a Fading Shadow by Antonio Muñoz Molina, translated by Camilo A Ramirez
The Flying Mountain by Christoph Ransmayr, translated by Simon Pare
Frankenstein in Baghdad by Ahmed Saadawi, translated by Jonathan Wright
Flights by Olga Tokarczuk, translated by Jennifer Croft
The Stolen Bicycle by Wu Ming-Yi, translated by Darryl Sterk
The Dinner Guest by Gabriela Ybarra, translated by Natasha Wimmer
I had slightly more success with my predictions this year with Binet, Erpenbeck, Kang and Tokarczuk all receiving a nod for the longlist. Of those four, I have only read the Binet which I didn’t love and seems to have divided readers depending on their views about postmodernism, but clearly it won over the judging panel. I’m particularly pleased to see Erpenbeck and Kang on the longlist having enjoyed their previous work and these are the books I will aim to get hold of copies first.
Other authors I’m aware of but have yet to read include Virginie Despentes from France and Spanish novelist Antonio Muñoz Molina. I’ve heard many good things about ‘Frankenstein in Baghdad’ which has already won the International Prize for Arabic Fiction. Hungarian author László Krasznahorkai has also been longlisted, three years after winning the Man Booker International Prize in its previous configuration when it was awarded to an author every two years for their whole body of work. His novel is the first to be longlisted with three translators while Frank Wynne has been longlisted twice for his work in French and Spanish.
Elsewhere, the most intriguing titles which are new to me are ‘Die, My Love’ by Argentinan novelist Ariana Harwicz which is about a woman “battling her demons” in rural France and has been shortlisted for the Republic of Consciousness Prize celebrating independent publishers, while ‘The Stolen Bicycle’ is the first book by a Taiwanese author to be longlisted.
Which books have you read and which ones do you recommend?