I’ve been a bit out of the loop with translated fiction in the last few months as non-fiction seems to have taken over my reading recently and I am currently shadowing the Wellcome Book Prize. However, the Man Booker International Prize longlist was announced this week (to be known as the International Booker Prize when the Man Group sponsorship ends this year). The 13 titles are:
Celestial Bodies by Jokha Alharthi (Oman), translated from the Arabic by Marilyn Booth
Love in the New Millennium by Can Xue (China), translated from the Chinese by Annelise Finegan
The Years by Annie Ernaux (France), translated from the French by Alison Strayer
At Dusk by Hwang Sok-yong (South Korea), translated from the Korean by Sora Kim-Russell
Jokes for the Gunmen by Mazen Maarouf (Iceland and Palestine), translated from the Arabic by Jonathan Wright
Four Soldiers by Hubert Mingarelli (France), translated from the French by Sam Taylor
The Pine Islands by Marion Poschmann (Germany), translated from the German by Jen Calleja
Mouthful of Birds by Samanta Schweblin (Argentina and Italy), translated from the Spanish by Megan McDowell
The Faculty of Dreams by Sara Stridsberg (Sweden), translated from the Swedish by Deborah Bragan-Turner
Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk (Poland), translated from the Polish by Antonia Lloyd-Jones
The Shape of the Ruins by Juan Gabriel Vásquez (Colombia), translated from the Spanish by Anne McLean
The Death of Murat Idrissi by Tommy Wieringa (Netherlands), translated from the Dutch by Sam Garrett
The Remainder by Alia Trabucco Zerán (Chile and Italy), translated from the Spanish by Sophie Hughes
I read Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin a couple of years ago and it was among the stand-out titles on the 2017 longlist so I hope to read her collection of short stories ‘Mouthful of Birds’ at some point. I was a bit less keen on last year’s winner Flights by Olga Tokarczuk who has been longlisted again for ‘Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead’ but with a different translator this time.
Female authors and translators dominate this list, as do independent publishers which is encouraging to see, especially with sales of translated fiction continuing to increase in the UK. ‘The Years’ by Annie Ernaux is a memoir about her life from 1940 to the early 2000s with an innovative structure and sounds like a typically bold title for Fitzcarraldo Editions. And although Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata sadly didn’t make the cut (or any other Japanese fiction for that matter), it’s great to see two other Granta titles on the longlist including ‘Jokes for the Gunmen’ by Mazen Maarouf whose style has been compared to Roald Dahl in his short story collection set in a warzone told from the perspective of a child.
Which longlisted books have you read?