Shadow IFFP 2012 – Round-Up Number Ten (Shortlist Reactions)

Well, the cut has finally been made, and nine of the contenders have pulled up (or fallen…) at the final fence.  However, there are six books still striding on in the 2012 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize stakes 😉  The official panel (i.e. not us!) has read, reread, perused and deliberated, and the following list is the fruit of those mental (and, in the cases of 1Q84 and Parallel Stories, possibly physical) labours.  Without further ado (links are to my reviews)…

Official Shortlist for the 2012 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize

Of course, another small group of people has been reading the same collection of books, and yesterday we on the Shadow Panel announced our own shortlist!  The Shadow Panel consists of our esteemed chair, Stu, along with Rob, Mark, Gary, Simon, Lisa and me 🙂  I know you’re just itching to compare the two lists, so..

Shadow Panel Shortlist for the 2012 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize

I have to say that I much prefer our list…  When I saw the first (leaked) reports, apart from the two Italian books, only the nationalities were mentioned, so I assumed the German book was Next World Novella and the Israeli book was Scenes from Village Life.  Once I actually saw the full list, I was astonished that it was in fact Alice and Blooms of Darkness that got the nod.  The two books I mentioned are huge losses, and the cutting of the Oz book, in particular is a major surprise – at least for us…

For all the Shadow Panel’s reviews, please have a look at the special page on Mark’s blog, which has all the various thoughts we have posted so far.  Now though, it’s time to polish off a few more books and a few more reviews, and to gather my thoughts for when the business of choosing a winner arrives.  Fun times ahead 🙂
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12 thoughts on “Shadow IFFP 2012 – Round-Up Number Ten (Shortlist Reactions)

  1. I'm less surprised by the results. I wonder whether people did not keep in mind other books by the authors. If you read Alice with her other books in mind she is way better than Politicky.

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  2. Veeery puzzling! Amos Oz is a wonderful writer, so if they had been considering other books by the same author, they would have included him. I think you are right about the panel writing down the wrong Israeli book. You must be relieved about PLAM though!

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  3. Yeah, you're right it's not the point, but let's face it, we know it happens. A prize jury fails to give a prize to some worthy contender which over time gets more and more significance, and eventually they give the gong to another book by that author to make up for it. I think that happened with Steven Carroll's The Time We Have Taken – great book, but the one that should have got the Miles Franklin was The Art of the Engine Driver.

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  4. Marina – Very. Very. Very. Relieved 😉 Probably the one bright spot from the announcement…

    Lisa – It does happen, you're right 🙂 Why do you think 'The Art of the Engine Driver' should have got it? Was it a weak year? I thought the two sequels were stronger myself…

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  5. It's bound to happen isn't it. Say Sjon wins this year – that basically rules his new novel out of winning next year, even if it's the greatest work in translation we've ever seen… likewise, we all ruled Ding Village out of the MAL Prize on the basis that they couldn't possibly pick another Chinese winner…

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  6. The more I think about it, the more I feel that there is a lot of 'rational', box-ticking thinking going on in the real contest. I'm glad we're sticking to our list.

    Of course, that means you need to read 'Parallel Stories', if only to be able to adjuicate between me and Stu 😉

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  7. I'm much happier with ours too Stu. In fact, the only thing I might have changed was perhaps including 'New Finnish Grammar' as a seventh title as not everyone had read it…

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