I’ve listened to some brilliant stories read by their authors on the newest NY’er podcast (the writer’s voice). I’ve showered and powdered mid-afternoon for ultimate cosy feelings. I’ve left the washing in the rain for days to harden and sparkle with the first of the year’s frosts. And, I abandoned the Man Booker International project I had embarked on with such excitement, well kind of, not quite.
There’s a couple of reasons why:
- Conveniently I started a new job around the time of the longlist announcements. So I was busy adjusting to a new-ish lifestyle /and/ kind of poor. Most of the MBI listed books are hard to get and I didn’t have the foresight or funds to order ahead of time. (My library had a few, but not many. Funny story – I’m still waiting for the copy of Compass to arrive to the library!)
- The Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction. Same time-ish! (Who does that? ha!) I couldn’t decide so I went with the MBI, I knew I couldn’t do both. And while I was surprised by the winner this year (gobsmacked more like it) in hindsight I have an inkling I may have enjoyed the Bailey’s more than I have the MBI.
- Anxiety. I love reading but sometimes restrictive lists leave me feverish and not in a good Samanta Schweblin way. My anxiety has manifested physically these last few months and so I’m slowly embarking on a calmer and more purpose-driven life. Slowly being the key phrase.
The winner of the Man Booker International award is announced on 14th June.
Here are the MBI long and shortlisted books I got to:*
- Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin (Argentina), Translated by Megan McDowell
- Swallowing Mercury by Wioletta Greg (Poland), Translated by Eliza Marciniak
- Fish Have No Feet by Jón Kalman Stefánsson (Iceland), Translated by Phil Roughton
- A Horse Walks into A Bar by David Grossman (Israel), Translated by Jessica Cohen
- Judas by Amos Oz (Israel), Translated by Nicholas de Lange
- Mirror, Shoulder, Signal by Dorthe Nors (Denmark), Translated by Misha Hoekstra
- The Unseen by Roy Jacobsen (Norway), Translated by Don Bartlett & Don Shaw
*I DNF’d The Explosions Chronicles by Yan Lianke (China), Translated by Carlos Rojas
Okay so. The winner?
I feel like the winner of such an award ought to be both daringly original and accessible. Yes, the man booker is an especially literary prize, however, I’m sure the aim of any book award is to encourage people to read. So accessibility is kind of key.
My personal favourite is Judas but I’m not sure how original it is.
Compass I haven’t read, and am not sure I will. (At least not at this point in time). From what I’ve read *about* it, it could be too literary to win – if that makes any sense?!
The two Nordic entries are beautiful, quiet reads. I adored them almost equally but they’re an acquired taste and not necessarily original in their scope. I didn’t have a problem with the dialect in The Unseen, however, I imagine it hinders accessibility.
My winner prediction?
Fever Dream is incredibly original as is David Grossman’s A Horse Walks into a Bar. I found both highly accessible and engaging in current events, climate change/our effect on the landscape and the Israel/Palestine conflict plus the role of grief in society respectively. I would be happy if either of these won, and super happy if my *personal fave* won!
Food for thought ~
- Have you kept up with the literary awards these last few months??!
- What’s your favourite of the MBI shortlist?
- Who do you think will win? (And what did you think of the Bailey’s winner?!)
- Does anxiety affect your reading habits?
Do Svidaniya for now my chickens