The Independent Foreign Fiction Prize: My Very Own Royal Rumble

on Saturday, April 13, 2013
I am nothing if not a keen prize-spotter, so you will not be surprised to read that I am drooling over my desk at the announcement of the shortlist for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize. This time round, it's an embarrassment of riches with no less than four of the six being favourites of mine. If you haven't had a chance to catch up on the titles, those that have made the cut are:

Fall Of The Stone City by Ismail Kadare (Albanian)
Trieste by Dasa Drndic (Croation)
Dublinesque by Enrique Vila-Matas (Spanish)
The Detour by Gerbrand Bakker (Dutch)
Bundu by Chris Barnard (Afrikaans)
Traveller Of The Century by Andres Neuman (Spanish)

Granted I haven't read two of them (and I hadn't even heard of Bundu) but I will still unequivocally state that this is one of the best prize shortlists I've come across in years. Choosing a winner for me would be kind of like choosing between my children. Kadare really came back into his own with Fall Of The Stone City. Dublinesque was not my favourite Vila-Matas (that goes to Montano's Malady) but the guy is amazing even when not in full flight. The Detour is a deeply haunting novel, well worth a gong or seven. However, it almost goes without saying, that I will be crossing my fingers, toes, eyes and nostrils for Dasa Drndic. Trieste was by far my favourite novel of 2012 and deserves an abundance of prizes, not to mention an extremely wide readership. In my humble opinion, it is the standard bearer for Holocaust literature as we approach the post-survivor era and ought to be recognised as such. To be fair, I intend to read the other two novels before the prize is announced on 20 May, but I doubt my position will change.

Well, there you go. Turns out it isn't so hard to choose between your children!


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