Paul Verhaeghen‘s monumentally proportioned second novel, Omega Minor, caught my eye when it appeared in bookstores earlier this year. Given the preponderance of 650-pagers on my spring reading list, I made a note to myself to pick it up in 2009. But the news that Verhaeghen, a Flemish cognitive pyschologist, has won the 2008 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize has me wondering if I should make room sooner rather than later.
Verhaeghen, now a resident of Atlanta, apparently translated Omega Minor himself. According to The Independent, part of the book is set during the Third Reich; to protest what he calls the Bush Administration’s “proto-fascist tendencies,” Verhaeghen will donate his £10,000 prize purse to the American Civil Liberties Union. (An excerpt of the novel is available on the Dalkey Archive website.)