A couple of months ago I posted about the longlist for the Lettre Ulysses Award, a prize that is given to the best book-length reporting. They have since announced the winner and runners-up, and this year the award went to The People on the Street: A Writer’s View of Israel by Linda Grant. Her book is a ground level view of life in Israel, placing it in counterpoint to the scads of books that look at the region from 35,000 feet. In an excerpt, we read about the reaction on the street in Tel Aviv when people found out that Saddam had been captured.
Well-known established writers like Peter Carey and Andrea Levy and up and coming author Tom McCarthy made the 2010 Booker shortlist, while David Mitchell, probably the best-known name on the longlist, failed to make the cut. The longlist was offered here with some excerpts a month ago, but since you might not have gotten around to them then, we'll offer the same with the shortlist below. Parrot and Olivier in America by Peter Carey (excerpt) Room by Emma Donoghue (excerpt) In a Strange Room by Damon Galgut (excerpt) The Finkler Question by Howard Jacobson The Long Song by Andrea Levy (excerpt) C by Tom McCarthy
● ● ●
Award season is in full swing now. The Booker was awarded yesterday, and the winner of the Nobel Prize for literature will be announced tomorrow or soon after, but today is all about the finalists for the National Book Award. As Ed remarked, in so many words, for the second year in a row, the judges have managed to deliver a crop of fiction finalists that satisfyingly occupy the sweet spot between obscurity and being, well, too obvious. On to the finalists in all categories, and, where available, excerpts from the books.Fiction:Only Revolutions by Mark Z. Danielewski - an excerpt of sortsA Disorder Peculiar to the Country by Ken Kalfus - excerptThe Echo Maker by Richard Powers - (very short) excerptEat the Document by Dana Spiotta - excerptThe Zero by Jess Walter - excerptNon-fiction:At Canaan's Edge: America in the King Years, 1965-68 by Taylor Branch - excerptImperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Iraq's Green Zone by Rajiv Chandrasekaran - excerpt 1, 2The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl by Timothy Egan - excerptOracle Bones: A Journey Between China's Past and Present by Peter Hessler - excerptThe Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 by Lawrence Wright - excerptPoetry:Averno by Louise Gluck - poemChromatic by H.L. HixAngle of Yaw by Ben Lerner - poemsSplay Anthem by Nathaniel Mackey - poemCapacity by James McMichael - poemYoung People's Literature:The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing: The Pox Party by M.T. Anderson - excerptKeturah and Lord Death by Martine LeavittSold by Patricia McCormick - excerptThe Rules of Survival by Nancy WerlinAmerican Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang - pages
● ● ●
The shortlist for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize 2011 has been announced. This list features Visitation by Jenny Erpenbeck, The Museum of Innocence by Orhan Pamuk, Red April by Santiago Roncagliolo, and three other books by Spanish and Norwegian authors.
The IMPAC Award shortlist was announced today. The IMPAC sets itself apart with its unique approach. Its massive longlist is compiled by libraries all over the world before being whittled down by judges. This makes for a more egalitarian selection. It's also got a long lead time. Books up for the current prize (to be named June 6th) were mostly published in 2012, putting the IMPAC more than a year behind other big literary awards. There's a distinct upside in this. By now, nearly all the shortlisted books are available in paperback in the U.S. The IMPAC also tends to be interesting for the breadth of books it considers. This year's shortlist is remarkable because half of its titles are works in translation. City of Bohane by Kevin Barry (review) The Map and the Territory by Michel Houellebecq (review) Pure by Andrew Miller (Ellen Ullman's Year In Reading post) 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami (Charles Baxter's Year In Reading post, "Reading 1Q84: The Case for Fiction in a Busy Life") The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka (excerpt) The Tragedy of Arthur by Arthur Phillips (excerpt) Swamplandia! by Karen Russell (The Millions interviews Karen Russell not once but twice.) From the Mouth of the Whale by Sjón (review) The Faster I Walk, The Smaller I Am by Kjersti Skomsvold (review) Caesarion by Tommy Wieringa
The Nobel Prize for Literature has been awarded to the 56-year-old German writer Herta Müller. Müller is the author of 19 books. Not all of them have been translated into English and only a handful are anywhere close to being in print. The Prize committee said Müller, "with the concentration of poetry and the frankness of prose, depicts the landscape of the dispossessed." Müller was born in Romanian and emigrated to Germany in 1987. Her first books were published only in censored versions in Romania. The Nobel's "bio-bibliography" has more. It's not easy at present to get a hold of a book by Müller in the U.S., but doubtless her works that have been translated into English will come back into print quickly. The Appointment was published by Metropolitan books and The Passport by Serpents Tail. Nadirs was brought out by the University of Nebraska Press, and Northwestern University Press put out The Land of Green Plums and Traveling on One Leg. The latter two are technically in print right now though I wouldn't expect hardly any bookstore to actually have them on the shelves. Kudos to The Complete Review for calling the Prize for Müller in advance. The Complete Review also has a good deal more information available about Müller.
● ● ●