Yesterday, they announced the winners of the first Man Booker International Prize for a single work fiction translated into English to The Vegetarian by Han Kang, translated by Deborah Smith. For those of you who do not know, the prize of $72,000 is split equally between the author and the translator. It wasn’t a great surprise that Kang walked away with this prize, being a favorite among the shadow jury of the award, and in many reading circles. Now that manbookering is officially over for a few months before the long-list is released for the original award, let’s see how I did with the list.
Man Tiger by Eka Kurniawan — finished 3 stars
The Four Books by Yan Lianke — finished 4 stars
A Strangeness in My Mind by Orhan Pamuk — currently reading
The Story of the Lost Child by Elena Ferrante — been on loan forever to start the first book in the series
The Vegetarian by Han Kang — finished 2.5 stars
Tram 83 by Fiston Mwanza Mujila — finished 2 stars
Death by Water by Kenzaburō Ōe – waiting to read more of his collection of works
Mend the Living by Maylis de Kerangal — finished 4 stars
Ladivine by Marie NDiaye — in my possession, reading this week
A Cup of Rage by Raduan Nassar* — finished 2 stars
A Whole Life by Robert Seethaler* — unavailable in the US currently
White Hunger by Aki Ollikainen* — finished 4 stars
A General Theory of Oblivion by Jose Eduardo Agualusa* — sitting on my bookshelf
I’m going to say – 8 out of 12* really isn’t that bad. I also can’t help that I don’t live in the UK.
I wanted to give you all a quick update on my #manbookering progress. Although work and life have been extremely busy, I’ve been able to read 2 books of the long list so far, Man Tiger and A Cup of Rage. These books were respectively 3 and 2 star reads for me. It’s interesting how important a good translator is to getting across, not only the content, but also the prose of a story.
A Cup of Rage is obviously a smartly written book, and I believe the translator did a good job of translating that from Portuguese to English. I’m also in the Goodreads group related to this topic of reading the nominees for this award, and one reader stated that the book was tedious. It’s so true!
Man Tiger was the first MBI book I read from my local library. It was a slower read for me, especially considering that it is only 170 pages. It’s written in the form of vignettes, which allows the reader to get a glimpse of life from different time periods within the characters’ lives. Overall, it is worth reading, especially if you are looking to read a Southeast Asian author.
I’ll post a more thorough review of these two works later this week, but I wanted to give everyone a glimpse into my progress. Now I’m on to White Hunger!
So I was inspired. By Maxwell at WellDoneBooks over on Booktube. He set up a goal this year to read more translated fiction and talked about potentially reading the Man Booker long (or short) list as a way to increase his totals. Last week, the long list was released to the public. And I immediately jumped on the chance to attempt to read the list and pick my “winner.” Every time I watch a video done by Max, I’m always impressed by the variety of books he reads and I’m trying to do better myself this year. Although, I don’t think that I often fit into a particular box; I do think that I can read some more books outside of my comfort zone.
So here’s a post to keep me honest with the internet and with my goals. I reserved or checked out all the books I could get from my local library system, and after I make my way through them I’ll have to figure out purchasing the rest. Here’s the long list in the order I currently plan on reading them. The ones with stars I have yet to secure a copy or purchase.
Man Tiger by Eka Kurniawan (currently reading)
The Four Books by Yan Lianke
A Strangeness in My Mind by Orhan Pamuk
The Story of the Lost Child by Elena Ferrante
The Vegetarian by Han Kang
Tram 83 by Fiston Mwanza Mujila
Death by Water by Kenzaburō Ōe
Mend the Living by Maylis de Kerangal
Ladivine by Marie NDiaye
A Cup of Rage by Raduan Nassar*
A Whole Life by Robert Seethaler*
White Hunger by Aki Ollikainen*
A General Theory of Oblivion by Jose Eduardo Agualusa*
I imagine that this is going to be a more challenging couple of weeks of reading for me. As I also recently picked up A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara, which is waiting by my bedside table to finish. I have 8 more days in this month to make a dent in this collection. As I’ve been travelling for work, and recently sick – I hope I can get some much needed reading time before April arrives.