Tag Archives: MBI2016

Man Booker International Prize 2016 Reviews

As the majority of the thirteen books longlisted for the Man Booker International Prize are novellas rather than novels, I finished reading all of them just after the shortlist was announced a couple of weeks ago. Here are my reviews of seven of the shorter books on the longlist:

A Whole Life Robert Seethaler A Whole Life by Robert Seethaler translated from the German by Charlotte Collins has been shortlisted for the Prize and deservedly so. Even though it didn’t make it on to the shadow panel list, this book is one of my personal favourites and I would be very happy if it won the overall prize. It tells the story of Andreas Egger, a solitary man who lives in a remote mountain village in Austria during the twentieth century. The tone is very similar to that of Stoner by John Williams in that while Andreas lives a seemingly simple and quiet life, there are many events which have significant emotional repercussions for him. Seethaler succeeds in capturing “a whole life” in a spare but satisfying novella of just 150 pages.

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The Man Booker International Prize Shortlist 2016

The official shortlist for the Man Booker International Prize was announced on Thursday. The six books are:

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Death by Water by Kenzaburo Oe

Death by Water Kenzaburo OeTranslated from the Japanese by Deborah Boliver Boehm, ‘Death by Water’ by Kenzaburo Oe tells the story of Kogito Choko, an author aged in his 70s reflecting on his long career. For many years, he has struggled to write the “drowning” novel based on his father’s death shortly after the Second World War. Kogito returns to his rural home town to look at his father’s red leather trunk which his mother had instructed him not to open until ten years had passed after her death. However, it soon transpires that the contents of the trunk do not provide him with many answers, leaving Kogito limited time to unlock the secrets he needs to finish his book. Continue reading

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A Strangeness in My Mind by Orhan Pamuk

A Strangeness in my Mind Orhan PamukTranslated from the Turkish by Ekin Oklap, ‘A Strangeness in My Mind’ by Orhan Pamuk tells the story of Mevlut Karata, a yoghurt and boza seller who lives in Istanbul. Melvut arrives in the city at the age of twelve in the late 1960s with his father from a poor village in Anatolia. He later elopes and marries Rayiha despite a case of mistaken identity in which he believed his love letters were being delivered to her sister. Over the course of four decades, he observes the political upheavals in the city and also experiences many personal challenges.  Continue reading

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The Four Books by Yan Lianke

The Four Books Yan LiankeTranslated from the Chinese by Carlos Rojas, ‘The Four Books’ by Yan Lianke is set in a labour camp in the ninety-ninth district near the Yellow River in north China where the Theologian, the Scholar, the Musician, the Author and other disgraced intellectuals are tasked with growing crops and smelting steel as part of their political “re-education”. The camp is led by a juvenile commander known as the Child who is also seeking approval from the “higher ups” in the party. However, as the economy fails and famine sets in, the inmates are left to survive on their own in appalling conditions. Continue reading

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The Vegetarian and Human Acts by Han Kang

The Vegetarian Han Kang Longlisted for the Man Booker International Prize, ‘The Vegetarian’ by Han Kang and translated from the Korean by Deborah Smith tells the story of Yeong-hye who suddenly declares she will no longer eat meat after having a disturbing dream. Originally published as separate “novelettes”, the three parts of the story are told from the point of view of her husband, brother-in-law and sister respectively who are all outraged by her decision to become a vegetarian in a society where refusing to eat meat is extremely rare. Continue reading

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Man Booker International Prize: Shadow Panel Official Response

Man Booker International Prize 2016Following some early discussions this week, here is the shadow panel’s official response to the Man Booker International Prize longlist announced on Thursday:

“The Shadow Panel for the 2016 Man Booker International Prize congratulates the official judges on curating a longlist of thirteen fascinating titles, a selection containing many familiar names, but with enough surprise inclusions to keep us on our toes. We are particularly pleased about the geographical spread of the list; with seven of the thirteen books originating from outside Europe, the longlist has a truly global feel, which was certainly not the case with the final Independent Foreign Fiction Prize longlist. Continue reading

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