Daily Bookshot: The Foreign Fiction Prize Six



Foreign Fiction Prize Six, originally uploaded by Robert Burdock.

This if a shot (if you didn’t know already), of the six novels shortlisted for this year’s Independent Foreign Fiction Prize. I’ve set myself the task of reading all of them before the overall winner is announced on Thursday May 13th, and I thought I would use today’s Daily Bookshot to provide some physical proof that all six of the novels are indeed in my possession.

I know it’s a mammoth task reading so many works-in-translation in such a short space of time – three weeks to the day as it happens – but thankfully I only need to read five of the books, because I’ve already read Alain Mabanckou’s Broken Glass (you can find my 4 out of 5 review for it HERE ).

So five novels in three weeks doesn’t sound all that intimidating, but there is one fly in the ointment with regards to finishing this reading project in time. And that’s the book you see pictured in the back right of the shot – Rafik Schami’s The Dark Side of Love; an epic spanning almost 900 pages. Any hope that I had about the novel being so long because the font size was larger than norm was quickly dashed, when I opened the book, and saw, If anything, that the font size we actually smaller than norm :). My only hope now then, is that Schami’s novel is one of the more readable ones in the batch.

So that’s a glimpse of the six Foreign Fiction Prize shortlisters currently residing at RobAround Manor, and a peek into what will be constituting much of my reading schedule over the next three weeks. It’s not often that I’m so impulsive with jumping into a reading project such as this, but this is one that I’m hugely excited about. I hope that you will be able to share in some of that excitement over the next 21 days.

Wish me luck! 🙂

*The six Independent Foreign Fiction Prize shortlist titles shown in this shot are:

  • Brodeck’s Report by Philippe Claudel (MacLehose Press), translated from the French by John Cullen.
  • Chowringhee by Sankar (Atlantic Books), translated from the Bengali by Arunava Sinha.
  • The Dark Side of Love by Rafik Schami (Arabia Books), translated from the German by Anthea Bell.
  • Fists by Pietro Grossi (Pushkin Press), translated from the Italian by Howard Curtis.
  • The Blind Side of the Heart by Julia Franck (Harvill Secker), translated from the German by Anthea Bell.
  • Broken Glass by Alain Mabanckou (Serpent’s Tail), translated from the French by Helen Stevenson.

About Rob

Rob, a self-confessed bibliophile, is without any hope of rehabilitation. He gets unnaturally excited over anything book-shaped, and if book sniffing were a crime then he would have been locked up years ago (which wouldn't bother him in the slightest provided his cell was lined with books).

Comments

  1. Amy (Twitter: amckiereads)
    says:

    Hooray! They all have gorgeous covers too. I haven’t located any in my meanderings yet but hopefully I will in the next few weeks. Are you planning on starting with the shorter books and tackling The Dark Side of Love last, or will you start with it, or somewhere in the middle?

    • Rob (Twitter: robaroundbooks)
      says:

      Hi Amy,
      Yep I’ve set The Dark Side of Love’ up for last, just in cae I am running out of time. The order of the rest is as the sidebar shows to the right, starting with ‘Brodeck’s Report’.

      Thanks for showing an interest. Hope you do manage to pick up one or two of these, even though I can’t tell you whether any of them (with the exception of Broken Glass) are any good or not :).
      Warmest
      Rob

  2. I’ve only read one of the shortlisted titles (“Brodeck’s Report”, which I thought was excellent) so I can’t say much on which is best, but they all look quite interesting. Enjoy!

    • Rob (Twitter: robaroundbooks)
      says:

      Excellent you say? That’s reassuring Bibliobio.
      Hope all is well with you
      Warmest
      Rob

  3. Hi Rob, since I am lucky enough to speak German as my mother tongue, and to have already read “The dark side of love” (in German) I will read Julia Franck’s “Die Mittagsfrau” (which is the German title) the first week of May, to show some moral support 🙂 I wanted to read it for quite a while now, so I figured why not just go ahead and do it? Looks like the German books are the longer ones on the list, maybe that is because we can put together these beautifully long words and sentences which get even longer in translations *lol*
    Good luck with your task

    • Rob (Twitter: robaroundbooks)
      says:

      Maria,
      I’m deeply honoured and very happy that you have decided to join me in at least reading one of the shortlist titles. So thank you from the bottom of my heart.

      Being able to read in German is indeed a lucky thing, because there is nothing finer than reading literature in its vernacular language. Sadly I can only read in English so I’m completely at the mercy of the translator. Thankfully for “Die Mittagsfrau” the translator is the wonderful Anthea Bell, who seems to possess an incredible talent for turning those ‘beautifully long’ German words and sentences – especially those of Stefan Zweig – into something quite special.

      I look forward to our joint(ish) adventure.
      Warmest
      Rob

      • Hi Rob,
        I was just wondering how far you have come with your six shortlisted books. As promised I read “The blind side of the heart” last week and the only thing I want to say right now, is that I actually find the English title much more suitable than the German one. It is a wonderful story, beautifully told, yet very sad, but I don’t want to spoil your reading experience. So let me know how you liked it!
        Good luck, Maria

        • Rob (Twitter: robaroundbooks)
          says:

          Maria,
          How wonderful to hear from you, and to hear that you did as you said would, and read ‘The Blind Side of the Heart’, and obviously enjoyed it. You did better than me. With the winner announced tommorrow I still have more than two titles still read, including ‘The Blind Side…’

          As it happens I did start to read Franck’s novel, but my progress through it was painfully slow. I was so anxious that I would miss the deadline that I put it temporarily to one side. The tactic worked to some extent, but I’m still going to miss the deadline.

          I’m not overly concerned. I can just write a retrospective post. And I do look forward to getting back to Franck’s novel. What I read of it was incredible.
          Watch this space
          Rob