Man Booker International finalists announced

The judges for the 2015 International Man Booker prize have made some interesting choices of finalists. This prize differs from the Man Booker prize itself because it recognises the author’s whole body of work rather than a single novel. To be considered the author has to have work published originally in English or widely available in translation in the English language.

What delighted me about the choice for this year was the breadth of nationalities represented. We have authors from ten countries – some of them nations which are not widely considered as great sources of literature and where the freedom of self expression via writing, is often under severe constraint. Only one of them (Amitav Ghosh) is a name that would be broadly familiar.

The ten authors on the list are:

Of these I’ve read just three.

Alain Mabanckou’s book Broken Glass was the very first book I read when I kicked off my world literature project. The style was unusual (no punctuation) and it was packed with literary references many of which I didn’t pick up on but I loved it. I’ve since been told it’s not even his best book. Do read this if you get a chance. My review of Broken Glass is here 

The only novel by Amitav Ghosh I’ve read is The Glass Palace which is a generational saga set in Malaysia and India. I did enjoy it though it could have been shorter without losing any of the impact.  My review of The Glass Palace is here 

And finally, a writer whose novel took my breath away when I read it last month, Satantango by László Krasznahorkai is a grimly fascinating tale of a communist hell. Read my review here 

The other delightful aspect about this list is that the remaining six names are authors who are completely new to me. I feel an hour with the credit card at my finger tips is approaching…

BookerTalk

What do you need to know about me? 1. I'm from Wales which is one of the countries in the UK and must never be confused with England. 2. My life has always revolved around the written and spoken word. I worked as a journalist for nine years then in international corporate communications 3. My tastes in books are eclectic. I love realism and hate science fiction and science fantasy. 4. I am trying to broaden my reading horizons geographically by reading more books in translation

17 thoughts on “Man Booker International finalists announced

  • March 29, 2015 at 2:40 am
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    An interesting list. Are authors who were on the list in previous years but didn’t win eligible again?

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  • March 27, 2015 at 6:39 am
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    I read one or two books by Amitav Gosh and tried Agaat by Marlene van Niekerk. Unfortunately, I didn’t like it for some reason. Not sure now, why. It’s a while ago. Hope you will enjoy it, Didi.

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    • March 29, 2015 at 3:25 pm
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      I was looking at Agaat but the synopsis didn’t light me up

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  • March 27, 2015 at 12:20 am
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    This is one of those lists which serve to remind me how far I am from being ‘well-read’ for the only one of these authors I’ve heard of is Ghosh – though I did like The Glass Palace! Time to expand my horizons further I think!

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    • March 29, 2015 at 3:25 pm
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      I think you can be well read without having to know about every author under the sun.

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  • March 26, 2015 at 11:51 pm
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    I have only read Amitav Ghosh, read two or three of his books, but none of the others on the list to my shame.

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  • March 26, 2015 at 11:13 pm
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    Thanks for providing links to the authors! This list makes me wish I had all the time in the world…

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  • March 26, 2015 at 9:32 pm
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    I can warmly recommend Maryse Conde; I’ve loved everything of hers I’ve read. An awful lot of the other names I’m slightly ashamed to say I’ve never heard of – but hopefully there’ll be more by these authors in bookshops now in the run up to the prize.

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    • March 26, 2015 at 9:42 pm
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      I’ll take a closer look at Conde in that case – I find some of the books in translation are pretty expensive in e versions so may need to resort to the library

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    • March 26, 2015 at 11:14 pm
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      I would love to read one of Conde’s books – do you have a favourite to recommend?

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      • March 29, 2015 at 3:26 pm
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        I’ve never read any Conde so I can’t help Naomi sorry – maybe someone else more familiar with her work can

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  • March 26, 2015 at 9:02 pm
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    Now I’m a lot more excited about this list than the Women’s Prize. Love Maryse Condé and Alain Mabanckou. We read the same title from him. Enjoyed it even though it took me out of my comfort zone. I’m also excited to see Marlene Van Niekerke. I still have Agaat on the shelf waiting for me. I’m hoping to get to it this year but not sure. I’m definitely going to give it a try. Ghosh I’ve read nothing by either but have heard only good things. Would be interested in picking up the Glass Palace. It sounds intriguing. 😃

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    • March 26, 2015 at 9:41 pm
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      I’m embarrassed to say i hadn’t even heard of some of these writers. Still, it means there is a lot more to explore

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      • March 27, 2015 at 8:50 am
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        You shouldn’t be embarrassed. We’re passionate about reading and there are so many excellent books out there. You are a diverse reader and you know what they say. Sometimes we have to find books at the right time in our lives. Here’s to an excellent list from the Man Booker. I wish I could say the same for the Women’s Prize who continues to ignore, it seems, black women writers. I do recommend Maryse Ndiaye’s Rosie Carpe.

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        • March 29, 2015 at 3:24 pm
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          I shall go and take a look at Rosie Carpe now then Didi

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