As you may have noticed, the Man Booker International Prize 2018 short list was revealed yesterday. But, I didn’t write a post on it yet because I needed some time to absorb the judges’ decision, as so often happens with literary prizes for which I am reading. Of the six books listed, I have read all but one (Vernon Subutex 1); of the five I have read from this list, I feel only one really ought to be on the short list.
Each book does, of course, stand out in its own way:
- Han Kang’s writing in The White Book is gorgeous. But, I could find little connection with her content.
- László Krasznahorkai’s book, The World Goes On, is deep and insightful, yet hopelessly dark.
- Like A Fading Shadow would simply not end in a drawn out, boringly repetitive account of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassin, James Earl Ray and his attempted escape to Lisbon.
- Frankenstein in Baghdad dealt with a corpse made up of body parts from the deceased in Iraq; I found it rather forced, and an ineffective way to describe the horrors within that country as the monster elicited no compassion within me, unlike the other monster by Mary Shelley. Also, what some described as humorous, I found tragic.
- Which leaves me with Flights by Olga Tokarczuk, a book I thought to be brilliant the first time I read it, and hoped to be included in the short list. From these six, may her book be the one which wins.
All opinions are my own, and they are not to be confused with the Shadow Jury’s thoughts. Many of us are quite happy with the short list, as you will discover on Thursday, or thereabouts, when we reveal ours. Until then, here is the official list in case you haven’t yet seen it:
The 2018 shortlist (link to the brief video here):
Author (country/territory), Translator, Title (imprint)
• Virginie Despentes (France), Frank Wynne, Vernon Subutex 1 (MacLehose Press)
• Han Kang (South Korea), Deborah Smith, The White Book (Portobello Books)
• László Krasznahorkai (Hungary), John Batki, Ottilie Mulzet & George Szirtes, The World Goes On (Tuskar Rock Press)
• Antonio Muñoz Molina (Spain), Camilo A. Ramirez, Like a Fading Shadow (Tuskar Rock Press)
• Ahmed Saadawi (Iraq), Jonathan Wright, Frankenstein in Baghdad (Oneworld)
• Olga Tokarczuk (Poland), Jennifer Croft, Flights (Fitzcarraldo Editions)