February 2019 Wrap-Up

After January’s bout of Japanese reading, February saw me tucking into a more varied literary diet.  However, with the Man Booker International Prize longlist announcement looming on the horizon, the month ended with an attempt on my part to cram in as many potential contenders as possible in an (inevitably doomed) attempt to make life easier for myself later.  You can read about some of the books I think have a chance in my predictions post, and look at a few more in the reviews linked below.  We’ll have to wait to see how many of these actually make the cut.  In the meantime – shall we? 😉

*****
Total Books Read: 18
Year-to-Date: 33

New: 13
Rereads: 5

From the Shelves: 5
Review Copies: 7
From the Library: 3
On the Kindle: 3 (0 review copies)

Novels: 10
Novellas: 2
Short Stories: 3
Non-Fiction: 2
Poetry: 1

Non-English Language: 16
(3 French, 3 German, 2 Finnish, 2 Spanish, 2 Japanese, Polish, Hungarian, Icelandic, Norwegian )
In Original Language: 4 (3 German, French)

*****
Books Reviewed in February were:
1) The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly by Hwang Sun-mi
2) The Enlightened Army by David Toscana
3) Going Where by Olga Medvedkova
4) Loss Sings by James E. Montgomery
5) Alte Abdeckerei (Old Rendering Plant) by Wolfgang Hilbig
6) Final Matters by Szilárd Borbély
7) The Iliac Crest by Cristina Rivera Garza
8) CoDex 1962 by Sjón
9) Children of the Cave by Virve Sammalkorpi
10) Berta Isla by Javier Marías
11) White Shadow by Roy Jacobsen

Tony’s Turkey for February is: Olga Medvedkova’s Going Where

Whenever I try the latest releases from the Cahiers Series, there’s a certain something that jumps out at you, showing why the work was chosen.  This time around, not so much.  There’s nothing terrible about the five stories in this mini-collection, but I can’t say I wasn’t a little disappointed – and that’s why Going Where is the first turkey for the year.

Tony’s Recommendation for February is:
Javier Marías’ Bert Isla

Two writers stood out from the crowd in February: one for a surreal, lyrical novella; the other for a weighty novel with a new slant on an old topic.  Yes, Hilbig and Marías are both among my favourite authors, and these books would be up there with the best most months.  Unfortunately, only one can take out the monthly prize, though, and (after a fiercely fought game of ‘rock-paper-scissors’) it’s Berta Isla that gets the nod.

*****
March will, of course, be dominated by the MBIP longlist announcement and our subsequent shadow duties.  Once the list appears on the 13th of March, we’ll be running our critical eyes over it and issuing a public response, before the real work of reading, reviewing and rating the books begins.  If that sounds like something for you, please stick around – you’ll be hearing a *lot* more about it in the months to come 🙂

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