This month we visit Lithuania, Norway, Italy and both the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Our resident crime fiction reviewer, Max Easterman, is on a roll with TWO reviews, and I review a superb satire by the young Czech author Jaroslav Kalfar, who I interviewed at this year’s Hay Festival.
Remember that our summer reviews for July and August (combined) focus on Russian fiction. If you’d like to review, and if any publishers have current and upcoming Russian translations they’d like reviewed, please contact us asap: the deadline for completed reviews is July 10th They will be published to coincide with our Russian Literature and Translation day on August 3rd at the British Library.
This month we also meet the six prize-winners of the Man Booker Prize International 2017, which I was honoured to attend last night, June 13th, at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
I happened to be sitting at the ‘French table’ with shortlisted French author Mathias Enard, his translator Charlotte Mandell and their inspirational Anglo-French publisher Jacques Testard. Mathias Enard, it turned out, was awarded the ‘Shadow Man Booker Prize International’ (read all about it below).
Mathias and the other two European contenders for the main Prize, Dorthe Nors (Denmark) and Roy Jacobsen (Norway), were obviously our ELNet favourites. How wonderful to have three European writers and their translators alongside two major Israeli writers, Amos Oz and David Grossman, and the outstanding Argentinian author Samanta Schweblin: I honestly do not know how the MBIP judges were able to choose. But they did. The MBPI2017 went jointly to David Grossman and his long-standing translator Jessica Cohen. I have read and revered David Grossman as one of the world’s most exquisite and profound authors for many, many years, and much as I love ‘our Europeans’, this also is a great choice. I can only humbly and gratefully echo the words of the Chair of the Judges, Nick Barley, last night:
David Grossman has attempted an ambitious high-wire act of a novel, and he’s pulled it off spectacularly. A Horse Walks into a Bar shines a spotlight on the effects of grief, without any hint of sentimentality. The central character is challenging and flawed, but completely compelling. We were bowled over by Grossman’s willingness to take emotional as well as stylistic risks: every sentence counts, every word matters in this supreme example of the writer’s craft.
Thank you to Tony Malone, David Hebbelthwaite and Lizzy Siddal for sending in their reviews of the Man Booker International Prizewinners 2017: ENJOY!
By Rosie Goldsmith