The Shadow Jury Has Reached A Decision for the Man Booker International Prize Short List



Stu and Tony have added up the scores which the Shadow Jury entered into the spreadsheet yesterday, thereby coming up with our short list for the Man Booker International Prize. They are:

  • Ladivine by Marie NDiaye
  • The Four Books by Yan Lianke
  • The Vegetarian by Han Kang
  • Mend The Living (entitled The Heart in the US) by Maylis de Kerangai
  • Death by Water by Kenzaburo Oe
  • The Story of The Lost Child by Elena Ferrante

It is a list with which I am thrilled! I firmly believe that each book on our short list has earned its rightful place amongst the best of the thirteen up for the award because I so value the opinion of each Jury member. And, four of the six are my personal favorites. (It should be mentioned that Tram 83 missed out “by a whisker” as Tony said.)

Now we await the official judges’ decision on April 14. I’m anxious to see if they agree with readers.

(Update with official list):

The 2016 Man Booker International Shortlist

Title (imprint) Author (nationality) Translator (nationality)

A General Theory of Oblivion (Harvill Secker), José Eduardo Agualusa (Angola), Daniel Hahn (UK)

The Story of the Lost Child (Europa Editions), Elena Ferrante (Italy), Ann Goldstein (USA)

The Vegetarian (Portobello Books), Han Kang (South Korea), Deborah Smith (UK)

A Strangeness in my Mind (Faber & Faber), Orhan Pamuk (Turkey), Ekin Oklap (Turkey)

A Whole Life (Picador), Robert Seethaler (Austria), Charlotte Collins (UK)

The Four Books (Chatto & Windus), Yan Lianke (China), Carlos Rojas (USA)

20 thoughts on “The Shadow Jury Has Reached A Decision for the Man Booker International Prize Short List”

    1. It’s interesting to me that although we’re a diverse jury, in age, gender and location, we have all agreed on which books are the most stellar. I don’t think any reader would be disappointed in reading this short list; each book is fascinating in focusing on its country of origin, characters, and content.


  1. While having to wait for four hours I managed to read half of Pamuk’s Strangeness and I quite enjoy it. I am definitely looking forward to reading The Vegetarian next, and then Death by water… so happy to have you guide my choices 🙂


    1. I have so enjoyed Orhan Pamuk’s writing, particularly Snow. A Strangeness in My Mind was quite slow, but once I abandoned myself to his pace I thoroughly enjoyed the story. And, the “lesson” at the end is quite fascinating. It deals with fate, with what happens to us, and couldn’t that have been perhaps for the best after all? I’m still thinking about it. Let’s talk when you finish.

      The Vegetarian is amazing in its originality, and Death by Water seems to be only appreciated by those who like Japanese literature or are already familiar with Oe’s work. Some members of the Shadow Jury did not like it, while others loved it. There was little opinion in between.


    1. I cannot speak for the rest of the Shadow Jury, of course, but for me A General Theory of Oblivion just did not hold up when compared to the rest of the list. Did you want it to win for the author’s culture or for the content of the novel?


  2. I heard good things about The Vegetarian and I have of course heard of the Ferrante. The others are new to me, though! I know you said you had four favorites, but which one was the best read for you in the bunch??


    1. That is such a good question! I am still pondering it myself, hence the reason I never named one in this post. I love Ferrante’s Neopolitan novels, but I don’t think The Story of the Lost Child is a stand alone novel, and for that reason I don’t know if I’d pick it to win. The Vegetarian is my second favorite because it is so very strange and original. And of course, I have a huge affection for Japanese literature, so Death by Water would be in the top three for me. I’ll have to ponder, and reread passages, and then come up with which novel I think should win.


  3. Bellezza, I’ve been enjoying reading about these books. I think I’d enjoy reading them as well! As Harvee says, thank you for prescreening them for us.


    1. I had only read a few myself, Kailana; The Story of The Lost Child was the only one I was truly familiar with. But, as always, these books provide such fascinating reading with insights into other countries, other cultures and writers.


    1. Admire the group, Laurie, but not me. 😉 I did my best, but could only finish about half of the long list. Maybe when I retire I can get in all thirteen before the short list is announced, but certainly not while in teaching. Thank goodness the shadow jury doesn’t depend solely on me!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. You’ve got three! I look forward to your review of the shortlisted works. I’m probably one of the few who hasn’t read any Elena Ferrante. The Lost Child may just be the start for me. 🙂


    1. Yes, but…I suggest if you read the Neopolitan novels you begin with the first one which is My Brilliant Friend. They truly build on one another, both the novels and the relationships, and I think it is critical to start with the first.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Sadly, the real list doesn’t really reflect ours. I’m slightly disappointed with both the MBIP and BTBA shortlists this year…


    1. I’m eager to know which you favor to win. I love those discussions as we approach the declaration of a winner in early May. I’ve come to think that the judges so rarely get it right.


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