The Man Booker International Prize 2019: a few of my predictions


Several members of the Man Booker International Prize Shadow Jury have been thinking about the books they’d like to see on the long list which will be released March 13, 2019. Each of us gave Tony three of our favorite titles so that he could determine if the jury would add a title should it be neglected from the official list.

But my predictions for the MBIP long list include these books:

Killing Commendatore by Haruki Murakami (translated from the Japanese by Philip Gabriel and Ted Goossen)

Convenvenience Store Woman by Sayata Murata (translated from the Japanese by Ginny Tapley Takemori)

The Last Children of Tokyo (published as The Emissary in the United States) by Yoko Tawada (translated from the Japanese by Margaret Mitsutani)

Tell Them of Battles, Kings and Elephants by Mathias Énard (translated from the French by Charlotte Mandell)

The Three Governesses by Anne Serre (translated from the French by Mark Hutchinson)

Fish Soup by Margarita García Robayo (translated from the Spanish by Charlotte Coombe)

The Children of The Cave by Virve Sammalkorpi (translated from the Finnish by Emily Jeremiah and Fleur Jeremiah)

How exciting it is to wait for the official list, to see what it includes and to begin reading. Hopefully, you will see some of the above-mentioned titles.

The Man Booker International Prize is awarded annually for a single work of fiction, translated into English and published in the UK. Both novels and collections of short stories are eligible.

17 thoughts on “The Man Booker International Prize 2019: a few of my predictions”

  1. Enjoyed the list – agree with all but Enard and Tawada. I won’t elaborate but neither came together for me. If they make the list, however, I’ll certainly read them again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Some have enjoyed Ernaux’s book The Years, but that is one I had to abandon midway. I understand a book not coming together for the reader. Tawada’s actually struck me more powerfully than Énard’s, but perhaps that is because I like reading about “odd” people and becoming empowered. Of course, I like Michelangelo, too, and what the author had to say about notebooks and journaling which was probably a very small part for most readers. If you had the time, or inclination, I would enjoy reading the disconnect for you from these two books.


      1. I realize from reading other reviews that perhaps re-reading both of these books would be beneficial. Initially, I didn’t connect emotionally with either one. Enard’s book read like a series of good “scenes” from a under-developed movie. Tawada’s novel was so bizarre from the onset that I never found a realistic thread to keep focused. In each of these novels, I thought the authors made presumptions that distracted from the narrative.


        1. I know what you mean about “scenes” in Énard’s book, sometimes making it feel disjointed (to me). I preferred Tawada’s of the two, in fact, I think I like it best of all. I am used to bizarre elements in Japanese writing, and I have almost come to expect threads of magical realism from them. Which is probably a gross generalization, but still one of the charming things about their style.


            1. Interestingly enough, The Convenience Store Woman and The Emissary would be included in that list. But so would Kafka On The Shore, The Traveling Cat Chronicles, and any thriller by Higashino, particularly Naoko, which is a total mind game. I also loved The Pillow Book by Shonagon, Strangers by Yamada, and A Quiet Place by Yatsumoto. Finally, both Penance and Confessions by Kanae Yamato were fascinating, if not chilling.


  2. These are the ones that I have read, so others would have to be pure speculation. I supppse they would be Resistance, Drive Your Plows Over the Bones Of The Dead, Nocilla Lab, Codex 1962, Small Country, and Soviet Milk. I am so eager to find out!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s