Who’s going to win the Independent foreign fiction prize 2014

Well the shadow Jury announced their winner yesterday it was Sorrow of Angels ,one that missed the real shortlist .So as you read this I’m on a train heading to the Bg smoke as I was grateful to be invited to the 2014 award night for the Independent foreign fiction prize 2014 .Tony did his round-up and thought on the shortlist and whom he thought would win .So I decide to be rather fun and go for an if this book was a footballer post for fun  and whom I’d think will win .So here are the books from the shortlist .

The Iraqi Christ by Hassan Blassim

download (1)

A collection of short stories , brutal at times and surreal at others .

My review  

If the book was a player it be Younis Mahmoud ,I struggled to find a Iraqi that had played in the Uk there is one that had been at Spurs but hadn’t played for them ,so I cast my net further afield and found Younis Mahmoud one the most capped Iraqi ,players watching a couple of you tube clips ,rather like the book Younis remind me of a classic old fashion centre forward rather like Hassan prose remind me of classic short story writers .

A Man in Love by Karl Ove Knausgaard

A man in Love

The second in the six book stgory of Karl Ove life seems him coping with early adulthood and becoming a father .

My review 

If this book was a player ,well one struck me straight away and that was the baby face assassin Ole Gunnar  Solskjær .As a united fan ,he is a player rather like Karl Ove made an impact straight away when he usually came of the bench like when we won the champions league .A folk hero character ,rather like Karl Ove that has his own mythology around him .

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tsNLo_a65sY

Strange weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawkami

the briefcase

A may to december story of a former Pupil and her former teacher fall in love in a sort of shared loneliness  ,I ve chosen the US cover as this was the book I read

My review 

Now if this book was a player ,I’ve picked Shinji Kagawa ,the player who United brought from Dortmund ,he has yet to fit fully into the team but has shown flashes of brilliance at times and what is to come and that is like this book flashes of great thing to come from the writer .

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vb4XN4R6YCE

A meal in winter by Hubert Mingarelli

a-meal-in-winter

Two soldiers , a Jewish man and a Pole stuck in a room sort of microcosm of the war share an evening as the snow traps them .

My review  

Well I initially thought of King Eric but actually settled for Laurent Blanc , he had a cameo at united and rather like this book we hoped to have seen more of him like we hope to see more of Mingarelli .

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MslBpe0CcSY

Revenge by Yoko Ogawa

revenge by Yoko Ogawa

A collection of dark interlink through motifs stories from a master of the short story form .

My review 

Hidetoshi Nakata is the player I imagine for this book a clever midfield that broke out of Asian football and played in Italy for a number of seasons .Like the book Nakata was a player you just loved to watch playing for his silky skills like Ogawa writing is one I love reading .

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-6kuuV19Hs

The Mussel feast by Brigit Vanderbeke

the mussel feast

A family have cook a favourite meal of the absent father a book set just as the wall is falling in Berlin .

My review 

Well when I thought of this rather mad post ,this is the first player I thought of Matthias Sammer as one of the first East germans to player for the unified german team Sammer was amazing he was a commanding defender and sweeper that controlled games ,but had to retire early due to injury and maybe like this book as I’ve said what differenece would it have made coming out at the time ,what did we miss from Sammer due to that injury .

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gbd2yehoD1g

SO for me its between Mussl feast or A man in love to win ,I can not seperate those two and another is in with a chance which you may guess .Who do you fancy winning this year ?

 

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The winner of the Shadow IFFP 2014

In 2014, for the third year in a row, Chairman Stu gathered together a group of brave bloggers to tackle the task of shadowing the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize. It’s not a task for the faint of heart – in addition to having to second-guess the strange decisions of the ‘real’ panel, the foolhardy volunteers undertook a voyage around the literary world, all in a matter of months…

On our journey around the globe, we started off by eavesdropping on some private conversations in Madrid, before narrowly avoiding trouble with the locals in Naples. A quick flight northwards, and we were in Iceland, traipsing over the snowy mountains and driving around the iconic ring road – with a child in tow. Then it was time to head south to Sweden and Norway, where we had a few drinks (and a lot of soul searching) with a man who tended to talk about himself a lot.

Next, it was off to Germany, where we almost had mussels for dinner, before spending some time with an unusual family on the other side of the wall. After another brief bite to eat in Poland, we headed eastwards to reminisce with some old friends in Russia – unfortunately, the weather wasn’t getting any better.

We finally left the snow and ice behind, only to be welcomed in Baghdad by guns and bombs. Nevertheless, we stayed there long enough to learn a little about the customs involved in washing the dead, and by the time we got to Jerusalem, we were starting to have a bit of an identity crisis…

Still, we pressed on, taking a watery route through China to avoid the keen eye of the family planning officials, finally making it across the sea to Japan. Having arrived in Tokyo just in time to witness a series of bizarre ‘accidents’, we rounded off the trip by going for a drink (or twelve) at a local bar with a strangely well-matched couple – and then it was time to come home 🙂

Of course, there was a method to all this madness, as our journey helped us to eliminate all the pretenders and identify this year’s cream of the crop. And the end result? This year’s winner of the Shadow Independent Foreign Fiction Prize is:

SOrrow of angels

The Sorrow of Angels by Jón Kalman Stefánsson
(translated by Philip Roughton, published by MacLehose Press)

This was a very popular (and almost unanimous) winner, a novel which stood out amongst a great collection of books. We all loved the beautiful, poetic prose, and the developing relationship between the two main characters – the taciturn giant, Jens, and the curious, talkative boy – was excellently written. Well done to all involved with the book – writer, translator, publisher and everyone else 🙂

Some final thoughts to leave you with…

– Our six judges read a total of 83 books (an average of almost fourteen per person), and ten of the books were read and reviewed by all six of us.
– This was our third year of shadowing the prize and the third time in a row that we’ve chosen a different winner to the ‘experts’.
– After the 2012 Shadow Winner (Sjón’s From the Mouth of the Whale), that makes it two wins out of three for Iceland – Til hamingju!
– There is something new about this year’s verdict – it’s the first time we’ve chosen a winner which didn’t even make the ‘real’ shortlist…

Stu, Tony, Jacqui, David, Bellezza and Tony would like to thank everyone out there for all their interest and support over the past few months – rest assured we’re keen to do it all over again next year 🙂

A few thoughts from me ,I have loved hosting this year as everyone has made a real effort to read all the books and 83 reviews out there is a great acheivement and wonderful way to promote the IFFP to a wider readership .

Butterflies in November by Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir

butterflies in november 2

Butterflies in November by Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir

Icelandic fiction

Original title – Rigning í nóvember

Translator – Brian Fitzgibbons

Source – personnel copy on kindle

Well I was pleased I choose to buy this earlier in the year on a kindle offer as I had it at hand when it made the IFFP longlist .Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir is an art history lecturer and has previously been the director of the art museum at Iceland university .She has written four novel this is her first to be translated into English .

I provide proof-reading services and revise BA theses and articles for specialized magazines and publications on any subject. I also revise electoral speeches, irrespective of party affiliations, and correct any revealing errors in anonymous complaints and/ or secret letters of admiration, and remove any inept or inaccurate philosophical or poetic references from congratulatory speeches and elevate obituaries to a higher (almost divine) level. I am fully versed in all the quotations of our departed national poets. I translate from eleven languages both into and out of Icelandic, including Russian, Polish and Hungarian. Fast and accurate translations. Home delivery service. All projects are treated as confidential.

 

Rather perfect passage for this blog I felt ,Iceland is so much better at this than us translating .

Butterflies in November starts in the Capital of Iceland Reykjavik ,we meet the narrator ,we never know her name but this is her story .Her marriage is falling apart ,her husband leaves her as she is a little on the odd side and he can’t take her idiosyncrasies any more .So we she her go out meet new men and move to a flat .At this point it seems like it is going be a tale of a women blooming after a failed marriage .Then her pregnant friend rings up ,she has a son who is deaf and she wants her friend to take her son on for a few days but as the two start to get along her friend is ok for the two to stay together as she is worried how her son will react to the new arrival  .The son Tumi and narrator struggle at first to communicate but she draws him in and they go on a road trip round Iceland along the way discovering a number of odd characters ,the narrator still meets men ,but now with this young child her priorities have changed some what  .End up in a distant and strange Village .Tumi also helped her winner the lottery

“Can you collect Tumi from the kindergarten for me and keep him over the weekend, I don’t want to involve Mum in any of this, not yet at least, her blood pressure is far too high. The only thing you need to watch out for is his sleepwalking, he’s been known to open doors and vanish behind corners, and even to put himself in danger. Once I found him down by the lake. Just make sure you don’t startle him when he’s in that state.”

So the pairs adventure starts with this brief phone call at the start .

Now this book is just what I expect from Icelandic fiction and that is a little kooky ,this book is tinge with a bit of magic realism ,there is also a recurring motifs of insects in the depth of winter . and also at times is rather like David Lynch ,also an undercurrent to the narrators past ,she isn’t a mother part of the reason she split with her husband ,but also something bad happened in the past .This is a book about fear the narrators fear ,but discovery as she connects with Tumi and maybe finds herself in the hinterland of Iceland in a rather quirky village the narrator spent her childhood in a small portable home her family own .I found the book a page turner maybe not the best translation but part of me wonders if this is also part of the charm as the narrator is a proofreader and maybe this is to test us as a reader ?Also an epilogue of recipes.

Do you like quirky character ?

The longlist for the IFFP 2014

Well iIguessed six in my post last week .I have four of the books I ve not read already after guessing that they may be on the verges .I like the list nice to see a Yale book the corpse washer there it a series I have enjoyed so looking forward to it a lot .My fellow jurors and I will be reviewing all the books on the longlisted the highlighted titles link to my reviews .

A man in Love
A Man in Love by Karl Ove Knausgaard and translated from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett (Harvill Secker)
A Meal in Winter by Hubert Mingarelli and translated from the French by Sam Taylor (Portobello Books)
Back to Back by Julia Franck and translated from the German by Anthea Bell (Harvill Secker)
Brief Loves that Live Forever by Andreï Makine and translated from the French by Geoffrey Strachan (MacLehose Press)
Butterflies in November by Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir and translated from the Icelandic by Brian FitzGibbon (Pushkin Press)
The Corpse Washer by Sinan Antoon and translated from the Arabic by the author (Yale University Press)
The Dark Road by Ma Jian and translated from the Chinese by Flora Drew (Chatto & Windus)
Exposure by Sayed Kashua and translated from the Hebrew by Mitch Ginsberg (Chatto & Windus?
The Infatuations by Javier Marías and translated from the Spanish by Margaret Jull Costa (Hamish Hamilton)
The Iraqi Christ by Hassan Blasim and translated from the Arabic by Jonathan Wright
(Comma Press)
The Mussel Feast by Birgit Vanderbeke and translated from the German by Jamie Bulloch (Peirene Press)
Revenge by Yoko Ogawa and translated from the Japanese by Stephen Snyder (Harvill Secker)
The Sorrow of Angels by Jón Kalman Stefánsson and translated from the Icelandic by Philip Roughton (MacLehose Press)
Strange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami and translated from the Japanese by Allison Markin Powell (Portobello Books)
Ten by Andrej Longo and translated from the Italian by Howard Curtis (Harvill Secker)

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