Independent foreign fiction prize predictions 2014

Well it’s that time of year again and the IFFP has come around it does seem five minutes since last years prize ,of course for me as a translated fiction blogger the prize is my Oscars and I love doing this yearly guessing post on what I feel should be on the list and what books I need to read from last year so without further a do I shall dive straight in to what I feel will bo on the 2014 IFFP longlist  –

the infatuations


Now straight in with what I feel is a real chance of winning the prize and one I really enjoyed The Infatuations by Javier Marias ,in hat is maybe a big big name short year Marias is maybe the biggest name .the book follows a couple as viewed by a women and the difference from what we perceive and what is actually the truth .my review 

Now also translated from spanish are –

an englishman in MadridAn English man in Madrid is another slow burning spanish novel ,an english art expert is in Madrid just as the first warning of the Spanish civil war are evident .I ve read this but never got to review it so if it makes the list I will ,but a review will be up at some point .

pigs footNow to Cuba and Carlos acosta ,I read this over the weekend it follows three generations in Cuba before the revolution  and a pig’s foot amulet .I hope it makes it as Carlos name would bring the IffP some great publicity .

my brilliant friendNow the first book from Italy is another read and not reviewed book the tale of two close friends it shows the different paths various lives can take over time ,also maybe the chance to learn about the mysterious writer behind the book ,whom very little is known .Which is fun in the 21st century a writer can still hide behind a name relatively unknown .

parrots Flippo BolognaNext up in the bumper year for Italian fiction is this wonderful satire on book prizes a trio of writers ,as you may say the three ages of men ,all try for the big prize as we see behind the scenes of being a writer .My review 

let the games beginNow onto another Italian novel and another satire this on having too much money and maybe losing control ,also has a writer struggling after an early huge hit .My review

every promise Andrea BajaniEvery promise by Andrea Bajani is another Italian novel this one follows a man as his marriages falls apart and he meets an old man and rediscovers himself in russia .My review

Also I may mention the Wu ming novel  Altai that came out from Verso books ,I read the debut and this sounds interesting and again like Elena ferrante they hide some what behind the Wu Ming name these four writers .

Chasing_the_king_of_hearts_smallNow on to Peirene I have read all three Peirene books from last year it is hard to sat which will make the list but I think Chasing the king of hearts an episodic view of the war from a jewish women in Poland was my favourite from there three books last year .My review .

the mussel feast

Then the other I think will be the mussel feast ,a book about being east German but also a book at its heart  about families and how they live and can fall apart .Here is my review .

foundling-boyNow I am currently reading three books two are books I feel may make the longlist and the other is the first in the series because I feel the second book published first may make the longlist anyway reading this The foundling boy by Michel Deon just makes the list published in december and the first from one of France best known writers and member of the French academy .

alexNow I had this early last year but when I saw it was the second in the series and a comment at the time from a fellow blogger about the main character and something that had happened in his past I left it and am now reading Irene the follow-up in the uk but the first book out in the UK .

a french novelI read this also over the weekend a binge on Frank Wynne translations this one centre on the writer himself in a imagine childhood after an actual arrest a few years ago in a cell he relives his youth or what he felt was his youth all very french I feel .



A short french novel about a group of soldiers ,an escaped jewish prisoner and a Pole during a winters night in a house in the Polish countryside as the snow falls what is happening in the war ways heavy in the air .My review 

Devils WorkshopAnother big name this book by Topol deals with the history of the holocaust and how we treat it a very dark satire on what we take from the past and do with it in the present .My review 

my fathers' ghost is climbing in the rainNow my lost gem of last year a son returns home and discovers a lot of secrets about his fathers past as he does so his view of his father changes .My review 

in times of fading light

.Also from Faber whilst mention them is In times of fading light another book I am reading at the moment a from german book prize winner and all about the former east Germany .

revenge by Yoko OgawaA collection of interlocking stories from Japan dark and with a clever recurring motifs through them .My review

the briefcaseNow i did review this in 2012 as it was issued in the us with a different title the uk title is strange weather in Tokyo .a May to December love story Japanese style a former pupil and teacher find solace in one another .My review 

A man in LovePart two in the life of Karl Ove the memoir novel of the Norwegian writers life this time we find him dealing with the early years of his marriage .

the son Andrej NikolaidisAnother father and son tale this time from Montenegro ,we follow a son around his home town after falling out with father .A natural heir to Thomas Bernhard in some ways soul-searching stuff .My review .

Well that is it now a few outsiders I will mention in brief

White mask by Elias Khoury

Crow blue by Adriana Lisboa

The light and dark by Mikhail Shishkin

I will share Tonys list here my fellow shadow judge  a few difference between me and Tony ,he has chosen 8 books ,I have mention 16 books .















22 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. sakura
    Feb 27, 2014 @ 16:24:12

    Lots of interesting titles, Stu – only one of which I’ve read! I’ve marked some down for future reading.:)


  2. kaggsysbookishramblings
    Feb 27, 2014 @ 16:26:54

    Some great-looking books there Stu – but where are the Russians?! ;)))))


  3. hastanton
    Feb 27, 2014 @ 17:55:13

    My money is on The Infatuations or Mussel Feast….. both very thought provoking in their own way. I am a huge Javier Maria fan and really wish I could read him in Spanish.


  4. Tony
    Feb 27, 2014 @ 22:03:33

    I could live with your list – I’ve read eight, and I’ve got another three on my shelves 😉


  5. Judith (Reader in the Wilderness)
    Feb 27, 2014 @ 23:30:38

    I love this list! But I’m sad that next to none are available at all of the libraries I have access to. Short on cash this semester because I’m not teaching, but I will record this entire list for later. Wish I could be like Tony!


  6. MarinaSofia
    Feb 28, 2014 @ 09:53:50

    Rather a long longlist, but some very good books there – and what I haven’t read I definitely want to read! You were very wise to wait to read Pierre Lemaitre’s first, as Alex does give away what happened in the first book, but then again, the second book is much better than the first (which was the author’s debut). However, for a really, really fantastic book by Lemaitre, you should try ‘Au-revoir la haut’, his prize-winning book about returnees from the First World War (hopefully they will translate it soon): I was in tears through most of it!


  7. tolmsted
    Mar 01, 2014 @ 02:21:12

    Thanks for posting a wonderful list – and the covers are beautiful. I’m looking to see if An Englishman In Madrid is available in the States. (I love reading about the Spanish Civil War). It’s not looking good for e-book, but may be able to snag a UK hardback.

    Do you have a favorite, Stu, to take the whole thing?


  8. Vishy
    Mar 01, 2014 @ 08:02:11

    Wonderful IFFP shadow longlist, Stu! Looks like it is a bumper year for Italian literature 🙂 I want to read Elena Ferrante’s ‘My Brilliant Friend’, ‘Bridgit Vanderbeke’s ‘The Mussel Feast’ and Yoko Ogawa’s ‘Revenge’. Pierre Lemaitre’s ‘Alex’ and Hiromi Kawakami’s ‘The Briefcase’ seem to be getting a lot of rave reviews. I totally love the cover of Kawakami’s book. Can’t wait to find out what the IFFP longlist looks like next weekend. Thanks for this wonderful post!


  9. Annabel (gaskella)
    Mar 02, 2014 @ 16:25:56

    It’s hard for me to comment as I have only read one – Alex and that’s not really typical of the rest being a thriller. However, I do have two from your life in my TBR piles – Ammaniti and Carlos Acosta – shall look forward to them.


  10. Annabel (gaskella)
    Mar 02, 2014 @ 16:26:29

    Meant to say ‘list’ not ‘life’ ! 😉


  11. Bellezza
    Mar 04, 2014 @ 18:06:47

    Just found The Infatuations at the library last night, so that bodes well for me obtatining the IFFP books! Now, if only it’s also on their longlist; it looks fantastic!


  12. Trackback: Last week, Freight Books read… | Freight Books Blog
  13. Trackback: The longlist for the IFFP 2014 | Winstonsdad's Blog

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February 2014


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