It was a bit of a rush, but I eventually managed to get through the whole Man Booker International Prize longlist in time for yesterday’s shortlist announcement (even if I haven’t quite managed to complete all of the reviews yet). Having reread the thirteen chosen titles, the official judges have selected six works to move on to battle for a large chunk of glass (oh, and £50,000 too…). So, what made it to the next stage, and (more importantly) are they any good? Let’s take a look…
The 2017 Shortlist is (links to my reviews where available):
Mathias Énard (France) & Charlotte Mandell
– Compass (Fitzcarraldo Editions)
David Grossman (Israel) & Jessica Cohen
– A Horse Walks into a Bar (Jonathan Cape)
Roy Jacobsen (Norway) & Don Bartlett/Don Shaw
– The Unseen (MacLehose Press)
Dorthe Nors (Denmark) & Misha Hoekstra
– Mirror, Shoulder, Signal (Pushkin Press)
Amos Oz (Israel) & Nicholas de Lange
– Judas (Chatto & Windus)
Samanta Schweblin (Argentina) & Megan McDowell
– Fever Dream (Oneworld Publications)
Thoughts? Well, I’m not going to give too much away at this stage, but I will say that I’m very happy with four of the choices, grudgingly accepting of another and not overly keen on the final one (and anyone who’s been following my progress with the longlist on the blog or via social media will probably be able to guess which are which!). If I had to choose one book I wish had made the cut, it would probably be Clemens Meyer’s Bricks and Mortar (translated by Katy Derbyshire, published by Fitzcarraldo Editions), as I feel his ambition deserved to be rewarded. Unfortunately, I suspect that the presence of Compass on the list (as I predicted last week) probably led to Meyer’s book missing out.
But wait, I hear you cry – where’s the real shortlist? What’s the verdict of the Shadow Panel?
Patience, dear friends, patience…
For a number of reasons (including the long gap until the announcement of the winner and the fact that the majority of the shadow judges had hardly read any of the longlisted titles before the selection was made public), we have decided to delay our announcement. The Shadow Shortlist will be made public on Thursday, the 4th of May, at 9 a.m. (London time) – hopefully, the majority of our panel will have read everything by then (and maybe reread a few too) and will be in a position to come up with a great half-dozen choices.
Who knows? Our shortlist might even be better than the real one 😉