The following is the (slightly amended) press release from fellow-juror Tony of Tony’s Reading List
We started off in March with sixteen titles, (see the longlist and our combined reviews here) the cream of the fiction in translation published in the UK last year. After a hard month of reading, thinking, discussion and cursing, the list was cut down to six by the official panel
- THE DETOUR by Gerbrand Bakker; trans. David Colmer (Dutch); Harvill Secker
- BUNDU by Chris Barnard; trans. Michiel Heyns (Afrikaans); Alma Books
- TRIESTE by Dasa Drndic; trans. Ellen Elias-Bursac (Croatian); MacLehose
- THE FALL OF THE STONE CITY by Ismail Kadare; trans. John Hodgson (Albanian); Canongate
- TRAVELLER OF THE CENTURY by Andres Neuman; trans. Nick Caistor & Lorenza Garcia (Spanish); Harvill Secker
- DUBLINESQUE by Enrique Vilas-Matas; trans. Rosalind Harvey & Anne McLean (Spanish); Harvill Secker
Which is where we parted ways (a little bit)….
Having chosen four of the same titles as the official panel, the Shadow Panel (Stu from Winston’s Dad, Tony from Tony’s Reading List, Mark Staniforth from Eleutherophobia, Gary from Parrish Lantern and myself) opted for two others – Satantango by László Krasznahorkai and The Last of the Vostyachs by Diego Marani - to complete the full half-dozen, and then set about deciding which was to take out the prize…
Our road took us on a long journey through many times and lands.
With Traveller of the Century by Andrés Neuman (see my review) we spent a bizarre time in an ever-shifting, nineteenth-century German town, working on translations and kissing the local girls. With Satantango by László Krasznahorkai we moved onto a dark exploration of Communist-era Hungary (and an even darker examination of human souls…). We went for walks around the rainy city of Barcelona, and then via Dublinesque by Enrique Vila-Matas (see my review) we flew off to Dublin for a Bloomsday jaunt. In The Fall of the Stone City by Ismail Kadare, (see my review) we witnessed an extraordinary dinner party in Albania – and its consequences ten years on. With The Last of the Vostyachs by Diego Marani (see my review) we followed a boy from the Siberian wilds on his trip to Helsinki and watched as he encountered civilisation in all its forms. In Gerbrand Bakker’s The Detour (see my review) we fled to Wales (seeking some solitude) and shared a woman’s house – but not her secrets…
Then we came back to earth with a bump. There were discussions, disagreements, grudging acceptance, and then a decision…
Our choice for the winner of the 2013 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize is:
Dublinesque by Enrique Vila-Matas (translated by Rosalind Harvey and Anne McLean)
Congratulations to the writer and translators – Dublinesque is a great book, and it would be a worthy winner of the real prize. So, can it do the double? We’ll find out very soon…
(And speaking for myself, I would still choose Dublinesque as the winner from the official shortlist too…)
My thanks to Stu, from Winston’s Dad the Chair of this year’s Shadow IFFP, for inviting me to participate in the Shadow Jury this year. It’s very rewarding to read so many interesting books in this way, and it gives me a greater awareness of international trends, by which to judge Australian writing.