Tag Archives: Reviews

Man Booker International Reviews: Part 4 (and the official shortlist)

Man Booker International Prize Shortlist 2017

The official Man Booker International Prize shortlist of six books was announced on Thursday:

I think this is an interesting selection with some very strong contrasts in genre and style. The shadow panel shortlist will be revealed at a later date as we have decided to allow ourselves a bit more time to finish reading the longlist and deliberate our views. You will have to wait until 9am UK time on Thursday 4th May to find out how many of our collective choices match those of the official judges… Continue reading

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How to Survive a Plague by David France

How to Survive a Plague David FranceI am very pleased to be taking part in the official Wellcome Book Prize blog tour this week to champion ‘How to Survive a Plague’ by David France which is one of six titles shortlisted for this year’s prize awarded to a book on the subject of healthcare or medicine. It follows France’s 2012 Oscar-nominated documentary film of the same name and is a remarkable account of the activists and scientists who campaigned for awareness and funding towards fighting the AIDS epidemic in the United States.
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Spaceman of Bohemia by Jaroslav Kalfar

Spaceman of Bohemia Jaroslav KalfarOut of all of the debut novels which have been published recently, ‘Spaceman of Bohemia’ by Jaroslav Kalfar has one of the most intriguing and original premises. Set in 2018, it tells the story of Jakub Procházka, a Czech astrophysicist turned astronaut on a solo mission to investigate a dust cloud between Earth and Venus and collect samples for analysis. However, his marriage to Lenka is under further strain as she is left behind on Earth and Jakub has plenty of time on his own to reflect on his family’s past. The appearance of a giant Nutella-loving alien spider called Hanuš who may or may not be a figment of Jakub’s imagination only complicates things further.

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The Man Booker International Prize Longlist 2017

MBIP2017 longlist

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)

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Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin

Fever Dream Samanta SchweblinTranslated from the Spanish by Megan McDowell, ‘Fever Dream’ by Samanta Schweblin tells the story of Amanda, a woman who is critically ill in a rural Argentinian hospital, where David is trying to get her to remember the events which led her there. She recalls encounters with her daughter Nina and David’s mother Carla who once told her how David’s soul was split in two in order to save him after he was poisoned. However, David is not quite the same afterwards, and neither are Amanda and Nina. Continue reading

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The Accusation by Bandi

The Accusation BandiTranslated from the Korean by last year’s Man Booker International Prize winner Deborah Smith ‘The Accusation’ by Bandi is a collection of seven short stories by a pseudonymous author who reportedly still lives in North Korea and works as an official writer for the government. Written in the early 1990s at a time when the country was gripped by famine, it is said that Bandi’s stories were eventually smuggled into South Korea by a relative who hid sheets of paper in a copy of ‘The Selected Works of Kim Il-sung’. While there have been many accounts of life in North Korea published by defectors, a work of fiction by an author still living in one of the most secretive countries in the world is exceptionally rare. Continue reading

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Harmless Like You by Rowan Hisayo Buchanan

Harmless Like You Rowan Hisayo Buchanan‘Harmless Like You’ by Rowan Hisayo Buchanan tells the story of Yukiko Oyama, a teenager in New York in 1968 whose parents move back to Japan after emigrating to the United States when she was a child. She decides to stay in New York with her friend Odile to pursue her dream of becoming an artist. Many years later, her son Jay, who has recently become a father himself, travels to Berlin to find his estranged mother and inform Yuki that his father has died and has left the house to her in his will. The journey also leads Jay to discover why Yuki abandoned him suddenly when he was just two years old. Continue reading

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