Sunday, 9 March 2014

IFFP 2014 - The Longlist

Well, the list has finally been announced (shame I was on holiday at the time...), and we have a new fifteen contenders vying to take out the crown for the best book released in translation in the UK in 2013.  Which, of course, will give it the 2014 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize - most confusing.  Anyway, here is the official list, complete with obvious choices, old friends, happy inclusions and the odd surprise...

A Man in Love by Karl Ove Knausgaard, translated by Don Bartlett (Harvill Secker) 
A Meal in Winter by Hubert Mingarelli, tr. Sam Taylor (Portobello Books)
Back to Back by Julia Franck, tr. Anthea Bell (Harvill Secker) 
Brief Loves that Live Forever by Andreï Makine, tr. Geoffrey Strachan (MacLehose Press)
Butterflies in November by Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir, tr. Brian FitzGibbon (Pushkin Press)
The Corpse Washer by Sinan Antoon, tr. Sinan Antoon (Yale University Press)
The Dark Road by Ma Jian, tr. Flora Drew (Chatto & Windus)
Exposure by Sayed Kashua, tr. Mitch Ginsberg (Chatto & Windus)

The Infatuations by Javier Marías, tr. Margaret Jull Costa (Hamish Hamilton)
The Iraqi Christ by Hassan Blasim, tr. Jonathan Wright (Comma Press)

The Mussel Feast by Birgit Vanderbeke, tr. Jamie Bulloch (Peirene Press) 
Revenge by Yoko Ogawa, tr. Stephen Snyder (Harvill Secker)
The Sorrow of Angels by Jón Kalman Stefánsson, tr. Philip Roughton (MacLehose Press)

Strange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami, tr. Allison Markin Powell (Portobello Books)
Ten by Andrej Longo, tr. Howard Curtis (Harvill Secker)

Well, my initial reaction was fairly positive.  Of the eight I predicted last week, six made the list (and one of the other two wasn't actually eligible).  I've also read one more of the final longlist, meaning that I only have eight of the fifteen to go :)

While I'm looking forward to trying the rest of the books, the one real omission from my predictions stands out.  I really thought that Elena Ferrante was one writer who would definitely be appearing on the list, and judging by conversations I had with other bloggers and readers before the announcement, I wasn't alone in this.  The Story of a New Name is an excellent book, and I'd urge people to try it, even if it hasn't made it onto this list ;)

So, onward and upward - time to start reading.  Next week, as was the case last year, I'll be posting mini-reminders of the books I've already read (with links to the full reviews) and deciding whether I think they're worthy of the shortlist - and, more importantly, what I think the real panel will decide.  Something to look forward to, then :)