The Man Booker International Prize 2018 Longlist

by |March 13, 2018

The Man Booker International Prize 2018 Longlist

Overnight the longlist for the Man Booker International Prize has been announced. Featuring 13 books, the prize celebrates the finest works of translated fiction from around the world.

The prize is now awarded every year for a single book (both novels and short-story collections are eligible), which is translated into English and published in the UK. The prize of £50,000 is divided between both the author and the translator, ensuring that the work of the translator is equally rewarded. Shortlisted authors and translators are also awarded £1,000 each. This year, the judges considered 108 books before narrowing it down to the 13 in the longlist.

The shortlist announcement will be made on April 12th, ahead of the winner announcement on May 22nd. See all the longlisted books below.

The 7th Function of Language by Laurent BinetThe 7th Function of Language
by Laurent Binet, Sam Taylor (Translator)

Roland Barthes is knocked down in a Paris street by a laundry van. It’s February 1980 and he has just come from lunch with Francois Mitterrand. Barthes dies soon afterwards. History tells us it was an accident.

But what if it were an assassination? What if Barthes was carrying a document of unbelievable, global importance? A document explaining the seventh function of language – an idea so powerful it gives whoever masters it the ability to convince anyone, in any situation, to do anything.

Police Captain Jacques Bayard and his reluctant accomplice Simon Herzog set off on a chase that takes them from the corridors of power to backstreet saunas and midnight meetings. What they discover is a worldwide conspiracy involving the President, murderous Bulgarians and a secret international debating society. Learn More.

The Impostor by Javier CercasThe Impostor
by Javier Cercas, Frank Wynne (Translator)

A true story packed with fiction, from the admired Spanish writer, Javier Cercas.

Who is Enric Marco? An old man from Barcelona who claims to be a Nazi concentration camp survivor and rises to be president of Spain’s leading Holocaust survivor movement, the Friends of Mauthausen. By the time he is unmasked in Austria in 2005 on the eve of the seventieth anniversary of the liberation of the camp, he has become a civic hero, speaking at hundreds of conferences, granting dozens of interviews, receiving state honours, publishing a successful memoir and even moving Spanish congressmen to tears at a memorial homage to Republicans deported by the Third Reich. The case shocked the world, and Enric Marco was labelled a great imposter to which he responded: “I am an impostor, but not a fraud… Learn More.

Vernon Subutex One by Virginie DespentesVernon Subutex 1
by Virginie Despentes, Frank Wynne (Translator)

Vernon Subutex: the man, the myth, the punk-lit sensation.

Who is Vernon Subutex?

An urban legend.

A fall from grace.

The mirror who reflects us all.

Vernon Subutex was once the proprietor of Revolver, an infamous music shop in Bastille. His legend spread throughout Paris. But by the 2000s his shop is struggling. With his savings gone, his unemployment benefit cut, and the friend who had been covering his rent suddenly dead, Vernon Subutex finds himself down and out on the Paris streets… Learn More.

Go, Went, Gone by Jenny ErpenbeckGo, Went, Gone
by Jenny Erpenbeck, Susan Bernofsky (Translator)

One of the greatest European writers takes on one of Europe’s biggest issues.

In this radical, exquisite novel, the winner of the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize turns her attention to the contemporary refugee crisis and our responsibility in its creation.

Richard has spent his life as a professor at the university, immersed in the world of books and ideas, but now he is retired, his books remain in their packing boxes and his ideas about how society works begin to change. One day, he notices a group of African men staging a protest on the Alexanderplatz. His interest is piqued and he visits the tent city they’ve set up.

He meets Yussuf from Mali, Ali from Chad, Osarobo from Niger and Raschid, Yaya and Abdusalam. He fills his previously empty days helping his… Learn More.

The White Book by Han KangThe White Book
by Han Kang, Deborah Smith (Translator)

From the winner of the Man Booker International Prize for The Vegetarian comes a stunning and uncategorisable meditation on the colour white, about light, about death, ritual and the figure in the city.

Both the most autobiographical and the most experimental book to date from South Korean master Han Kang.

Written while on a writer’s residency in Warsaw, a city palpably scarred by the violence of the past, the narrator finds herself haunted by the story of her older sister, who died a mere two hours after birth. A fragmented exploration of white things – the swaddling bands that were also her shroud, the breast milk she did not live to drink, the blank page on which the narrator herself attempts to reconstruct the story – unfold in a powerfully poetic distillation. As she walks the unfamiliar, snow-streaked streets, lined by… Learn More.

Die, My Love by Ariana HarwiczDie, My Love
By Ariana Harwicz, Sarah Moses & Carolina Orloff (Translators)

In a patch of dilapidated French countryside, a woman struggles with the demons of her multitudinous internal conflicts. Embracing exclusion, yet desiring to belong, craving freedom whilst feeling trapped, yearning for family life and simultaneously wanting to burn the entire facade down. Learn More.

The World Goes On by Laszlo KrasznahorkaiThe World Goes On
by Laszlo Krasznahorkai, John Batki, Ottilie Mulzet & George Szirtes (Translators)  

A new work of fiction from the winner of the 2015 Man Booker International Prize.

A Hungarian interpreter obsessed with waterfalls, at the edge of the abyss in his own mind, wanders the chaotic streets of Shanghai. A traveller, reeling from the sights and sounds of Varanasi, encounters a giant of a man on the banks of the Ganges ranting on the nature of a single drop of water. A child labourer in a Portuguese marble quarry wanders off from work one day into a surreal realm utterly alien from his daily toils.

In The World Goes On, a narrator first speaks directly, then tells twenty-one unforgettable stories, and then bids farewell (‘for here I would leave this earth and these stars, because I would take nothing with me’). As Laszlo Krasznahorkai himself explains: ‘Each text is about drawing our attention away from this world, speeding our body toward… Learn More.

Like a Fading Shadow by Antonio Munoz MolinaLike a Fading Shadow
by Antonio Munoz Molina, Camilo A. Ramirez (Translator)

A taut, true-crime retelling of James Earl Ray’s assassination of Martin Luther King; the hypnotic new novel by one of Spain’s most important contemporary authors, explores the borders between the imagined, the reported, and the experienced past in the construction of identity.

On April 4th 1968, Martin Luther King was murdered by a man named James Earl Ray. Before Ray’s capture and sentencing to 99 years’ imprisonment, he evaded the FBI for two months as he crossed the globe under various aliases. At the heart of his story is Lisbon, where he spent ten days attempting to acquire an Angolan visa.

Like a Fading Shadow traces three journeys to the city: Ray’s desperate attempt to evade justice in 1968; a research trip undertaken by the young Munoz Molina for his breakthrough novel Winter in Lisbon in 1987; and the… Learn More.

The Flying Mountain by Christoph RansmayrThe Flying Mountain
by Christoph Ransmayr, Simon Pare (Translator)

In a publishing world that is all too full of realist novels written in undistinguished prose, discernible only by their covers, The Flying Mountain stands out – if for no other reason than that it consists entirely of blank verse. And that form is most suitable for the epic voyage Christoph Ransmayr relates.

The Flying Mountain tells the story of two brothers who leave the southwest coast of Ireland on an expedition to Transhimalaya, the land of Kham, and the mountains of eastern Tibet – looking for an untamed, unnamed mountain that represents perhaps the last blank spot on the map.

As they advance toward their goal, the brothers find their past, and their rivalry, inescapable, inflecting every encounter and decision as they are drawn farther and farther from the world they once knew… Learn More.

Frankenstein in Baghdad by Ahmed SaadawiFrankenstein in Baghdad
by Ahmed Saadawi, Jonathan Wright (Translator)

From the rubble-strewn streets of U.S.-occupied Baghdad, Hadi a scavenger and an oddball fixture at the local cafe collects human body parts and stitches them together to create a corpse.

His goal, he claims, is for the government to recognize the parts as people and to give them a proper burial. But when the corpse goes missing, a wave of eerie murders sweeps the city, and reports stream in of horrendous-looking criminals who, though shot, cannot be killed. Hadi soon realizes he’s created a monster, one that needs human flesh to survive.

As the violence escalates and Hadi’s acquaintances a journalist, a government worker, a lonely older woman become involved, the Whatsitsname and the havoc it wreaks assume a magnitude far greater than anyone could have imagined. An extraordinary achievement, at once horrific… Learn More.

Flights by Olga TokarczukFlights
by Olga Tokarczuk, Jennifer Croft (Translator)

Flights is a series of imaginative and mesmerising meditations on travel in all its forms, not only the philosophy and meaning of travel, but also fascinating anecdotes that take us out of ourselves, and back to ourselves.

Olga Tokarczuk brilliantly connects travel with spellbinding anecdotes about anatomy, about life and death, about the very nature of humankind. Thrilling characters and stories abound- the Russian sect who escape the devil by remaining constantly in motion; the anatomist Verheyen who writes letters to his amputated leg; the story of Chopin’s heart as it makes its journey from Paris to Warsaw, stored in a tightly sealed jar beneath his sister’s skirt; the quest of a Polish woman who emigrated to New Zealand as a teen but must now return in order to poison her terminally ill high-school sweetheart.

You will never read anything like this… Learn More.

The Stolen Bicycle by Wu Ming-YiThe Stolen Bicycle
by Wu Ming-yi, Darryl Sterk (Translator)

On a quest to explain how and why his father mysteriously disappeared twenty years ago, a writer embarks on an epic journey in search of a stolen bicycle and soon finds himself immersed in the strangely overlapping histories of the Japanese military during World War II, Lin Wang, the oldest elephant who ever lived, and the secret world of antique bicycle collectors in Taiwan. The result is a surprising and moving meditation on memory, loss, and the bonds of family.

Award-winning novelist Wu Ming-Yi is regarded in Taiwan as the leading writer of his generation. His work, noted for its depth, complexity and vividly observed natural detail, has been compared to that of distinguished writers as diverse as Margaret Atwood, Haruki Murakami, W.G. Sebald, David Mitchell and Yann Martel. Learn More.

The Dinner Guest by Gabriela YbarraThe Dinner Guest
by Gabriela Ybarra, Natasha Wimmer (Translator)

The story goes that in my family there’s an extra dinner guest at every meal. He’s invisible, but always there. He has a plate, glass, knife and fork. Every so often he appears, casts his shadow over the table, and erases one of those present.

The first to vanish was my grandfather.

Gabriela Ybarra first heard about her grandfather’s kidnap and murder by terrorists when she was eight. Through snippets of stories and family conversation, she made up her own version of the events behind the handcuffs on the mantelpiece.

But after her mother’s death, she felt the need to go deeper. She searched the internet and visited newspaper archives, taking notes, discovering her family’s past.

In this autobiographical novel Ybarra tries to understand her relationship with death and its emotional aftermath… Learn More.

View all the longlisted books here.

The Man Booker International Prize 2018 Longlist

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About the Contributor

Tanaya has been a lover of books for as long as she can remember. Now, her book collection is a little out of control, mostly consisting of YA fiction and pretty hardcovers. When she’s not reading, she spends a lot of her time taking photos of books for her bookstagram account, @prettypagesblog. She also has a love of Disneyland, bullet journaling and cats.

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