Man Booker International Prize 2018 – The Official Shortlist

This year, unfortunately, I didn’t quite manage to knock off the Man Booker International Prize longlist before the shortlist announcement.  However, having reviewed eleven of the thirteen titles (and having read one of the other two), I think I’ve got a pretty good feel for this year’s selection of translated wonders, and I’m keen to try a few more of them again to see if they stand up to the reread. The official judges, of course, have already been through each of the thirteen longlisted titles twice, and they have made the decision that six of them are worthy of being read a third time over the next month or so (they really are gluttons for punishment…).  So, which six have been chosen to battle it out (metaphorically, of course) for the ultimate honour of £50,000 (about 37 Euros at current rates) and a big chunk of crystal?  Just take a look below…

The 2018 Shortlist is (links to my reviews where available):

Virginie Despentes (France) & Frank Wynne
– Vernon Subutex 1 (MacLehose Press)

Han Kang (South Korea) & Deborah Smith
– The White Book (Portobello Books)

László Krasznahorkai (Hungary), John Batki, Ottilie Mulzet & George Szirtes
– The World Goes On (Tuskar Rock Press)

Antonio Muñoz Molina (Spain) & Camilo A. Ramirez
– Like a Fading Shadow (Tuskar Rock Press)

Ahmed Saadawi (Iraq) & Jonathan Wright
– Frankenstein in Baghdad (Oneworld Publications)

Olga Tokarczuk (Poland) & Jennifer Croft
– Flights (Fitzcarraldo Editions)

Well, without wanting to give too much away, let’s just say that there was definitely a raise of the eyebrow when I saw the list.  There are several big names there, but are they big books?  Well, that’s a matter of opinion, and we’ve all got one of those.

Of course, some opinions are more important than others, though, which brings me nicely to our Shadow Panel.  As was the case last year, with the tight turnaround between the long- and shortlist announcements, we have decided to delay our decision, this time for one week.  This will allow us to get the views of as many judges as possible on as many of the longlisted titles as we can.  The Shadow Shortlist will be made public on Thursday, the 19th of April, at 12 p.m. (London time), when you’ll be able to see how similar our verdict is to that of the ‘real’ judges.

And when I say ‘similar’… 😉

6 thoughts on “Man Booker International Prize 2018 – The Official Shortlist

  1. Great post, Tony. And, I’m not quite sure how to express my disappointment with the official short list. So far, the best thing for me to do is keep quiet. I do, however, think Flights is the only one listed there worthy of the prize.


    1. Bellezza – I’m not sure I’d agree there, but I would say that if I were the type to have a flutter on the result, my money would be on Tokarczuk…


  2. Flights is one of my two favorites from the entire bunch, not having read The Imposter yet. But, soon! Delivery from an independent seller was confirmed today.


  3. I’ve certainly heard very mixed opinions about the shortlist, which makes me even more curious to see the winning piece..

    (By the way, £50,000 is 57 not 37 euros 😉 )


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