Digging into the 2012 IMPAC Longlist

November 8, 2011 | 7 books mentioned 2 min read

The International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award has unveiled its massive 2012 longlist. Recall that libraries around the world can nominate books for the prize, and these nominations, taken together, comprise the longlist. This year there are 147 novels on the list, nominated by 122 libraries in 45 countries. All of the books must have been published in English in 2010 (including translations).

Because of the award’s global reach and egalitarian process, it’s always interesting to dig deeper into the longlist. Taken as a whole, the literary proclivities of various countries become evident, and a few titles recur again and again, revealing which books have made a global impact on readers.

Overall favorites: books that were nominated by at least seven libraries.

covercovercoverRoom by Emma Donoghue (20 libraries representing Australia, England, France, Ireland, the Maldives, New Zealand, and the United States)

The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell (13 libraries representing Belgium, the Czech Republic, Finland, France, New Zealand, Switzerland, and the United States)

Freedom by Jonathan Franzen (12 libraries representing Canada, England, Germany, Greece, Italy, Spain, and the United States)

To the End of the Land by David Grossman (10 libraries representing Brazil, Canada, Germany, and the United States)

Purge by Sofi Oksanen (8 libraries representing Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Norway, Poland, Sweden, and Switzerland)

Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes (7 libraries representing the Czech Republic, Ireland, the Netherlands, and the United States)

You can also look at the list and see which books are favorites in different countries. Several books were nominated by multiple libraries in the same country. Here’s a few:

covercovercoverIn Canada, Annabel by Kathleen Winter

In Germany, Fame by Daniel Kehlmann

In Ireland, Skippy Dies by Paul Murray

In the Netherlands, Counterpoint by Anna Enquist and The Book Club by Marjolijn Februari

There were also several countries with only one library nominating just one or two books. Here are a few of those:

covercovercoverFrom Bermuda, Gorée: Point of Departure by Angela Barry

From Cyprus, A Watermelon, a Fish and a Bible by Christy Lefteri

From Hungary, One Amazing Thing by Chitra Divakaruni

From India, Serious Men by Manu Joseph

From Japan, The Book of Heroes by Miyuki Miyabe

created and edits The Millions. He is co-editor of the collection of essays The Late American Novel: Writers on the Future of Books, called "funny, poignant, relentlessly thought-provoking" by The Atlantic. He and his family live in New Jersey. If you'd like to correspond, please don't hesitate to email.

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