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Man Booker International 2017 Longlist Announced

The longlist for the Man Booker International Prize has been revealed. Known as the Man Booker Dozen, the longlist includes 13 titles from the 126 submissions. The prize rewards fiction that has been translated into English and published in the UK. It was established to put a spotlight on the best of translated fiction and the importance of the role translators play in transmitting stories around the world, and so the £50,000 prize is divided equally between the author and the translator of the winning entry.

The 2017 judging panel is chaired by Nick Barley, Director of the Edinburgh International Book Festival, and includes editor and translator Daniel Hahn; award-winning poet Helen Mort; Turkish prize winning author Elif Shafak and Nigerian-born author Chika Unigwe. The shortlist of six books will be announced on 20 April and the winner of the 2017 prize will be announced on 14 June.

This year’s longlist includes books from 11 different languages – the titles are largely European, along with two Israeli titles, and one each from Albania, Argentina and China. Although short story collections are up for consideration, none appear on this year’s list. The longlisted stories range from a Congolese retelling of Robin Hood to an exploration of the sex trade in Germany. 

Explore the titles below.

Compass

As night falls over Vienna, Franz Ritter, an insomniac musicologist, takes to his sickbed with an unspecified illness and spends a restless night drifting between dreams and memories, revisiting the important chapters of his life: his ongoing fascination with the Middle East and his numerous travels to Istanbul, Aleppo, Damascus, and Tehran, as well as the various writers, artists, musicians, academics, Orientalists, and explorers who populate this vast dreamscape. At the centre of these memories is his elusive, unrequited love, Sarah, a fiercely intelligent French scholar caught in the intricate tension between Europe and the Middle East. An immersive, nocturnal, musical novel, full of generous erudition and bittersweet humour, Compass is a journey and a declaration of admiration, a quest for the otherness inside us all and a hand reaching out - like a bridge between West and East, yesterday and tomorrow. Winner of the 2015 Prix Goncourt, this is Mathias Enard's most ambitious novel since Zone.

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Swallowing Mercury

Wiola lives in a close-knit agricultural community. Wiola has a black cat called Blackie. Wiola's father was a deserter but now he is a taxidermist. Wiola's mother tells her that killing spiders brings on storms. Wiola must never enter the seamstress's 'secret' room. Wiola collects matchbox labels. Wiola is a good Catholic girl brought up with fables and nurtured on superstition. Wiola lives in a Poland that is both very recent and lost in time.Swallowing Mercury is about the ordinary passing of years filled with extraordinary days. In vivid prose filled with texture, colour and sound, it describes the adult world encroaching on the child's. From childhood to adolescence, Wiola dances to the strange music of her own imagination.

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A Horse Walks into a Bar

WINNER OF THE INTERNATIONAL MAN BOOKER PRIZE 2017 The setting is a comedy club in a small Israeli town. An audience that has come expecting an evening of amusement instead sees a comedian falling apart on stage; an act of disintegration, a man crumbling, as a matter of choice, before their eyes. They could get up and leave, or boo and whistle and drive him from the stage, if they were not so drawn to glimpse his personal hell. Dovaleh G, a veteran stand-up comic - charming, erratic, repellent - exposes a wound he has been living with for years: a fateful and gruesome choice he had to make between the two people who were dearest to him. A Horse Walks into a Bar is a shocking and breathtaking read. Betrayals between lovers, the treachery of friends, guilt demanding redress. Flaying alive both himself and the people watching him, Dovaleh G provokes both revulsion and empathy from an audience that doesn't know whether to laugh or cry - and all this in the presence of a former childhood friend who is trying to understand why he's been summoned to this performance.

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War and Turpentine

LONGLISTED FOR THE 2017 MAN BOOKER INTERNATIONAL PRIZE Selected as a Book of the Year 2016 in The Times, Sunday Times and The Economist, and one of the 10 Best Books of 2016 in the New York Times Shortly before his death at the age of 90, Stefan Hertmans' grandfather Urbain gave his grandson a set of notebooks. As Stefan began to read, he found himself drawn into a conversation across the centuries, as Urbain - so quiet and reserved in life - revealed his eloquence and his private passions on the page. Gradually, as he learned of his grandfather's heroics in the First World War, the loss of his great love, and his later years spent seeking solace in art and painting, a portrait emerged of the grandfather he had never fully known. War and Turpentine is an exquisite, loving reconstruction of a man's interior life, at once deeply personal and yet so evocative of many of his generation, affected by the long shadow of war. In beautiful, glimmering prose, Hertmans shows us how our experiences shape us all, and how, even in a life of sorrow and heartache, dignity can be found.

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The Unseen

Shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize 2017 Nobody can leave an island. An island is a cosmos in a nutshell, where the stars slumber in the grass beneath the snow. But occasionally someone tries ...Ingrid Barr y is born on an island that bears her name - a holdfast for a single family, their livestock, their crops, their hopes and dreams. Her father dreams of building a quay that will connect them to the mainland, but closer ties to the wider world come at a price. Her mother has her own dreams - more children, a smaller island, a different life - and there is one question Ingrid must never ask her. Island life is hard, a living scratched from the dirt or trawled from the sea, so when Ingrid comes of age, she is sent to the mainland to work for one of the wealthy families on the coast. But Norway too is waking up to a wider world, a modern world that is capricious and can be cruel. Tragedy strikes, and Ingrid must fight to protect the home she thought she had left behind. Translated from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett and Don Shaw

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The Traitor's Niche

LONGLISTED FOR THE 2017 MAN BOOKER INTERNATIONAL PRIZE At the heart of the Ottoman Empire, in the main square of Constantinople, a niche is carved into ancient stone. Here, the sultan displays the severed heads of his adversaries. People flock to see the latest head and gossip about the state of the empire: the province of Albania is demanding independence again, and the niche awaits a new trophy... Tundj Hata, the imperial courier, is charged with transporting heads to the capital - a task he relishes and performs with fervour. But as he travels through obscure and impoverished territories, he makes money from illicit side-shows, offering villagers the spectacle of death. The head of the rebellious Albanian governor would fetch a very high price. The Traitor's Niche is a surreal tale of rebellion and tyranny, in a land where armies carry scarecrows, state officials ban entire languages, and the act of forgetting is more complicated than remembering.

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Fish Have No Feet

Longlisted for the Man Booker International Prize 2017.Keflavik: a town that may be the darkest place in Iceland, surrounded by black lava fields, hemmed in by a sea that may not be fished, and site of the U.S. military base, whose influence shaped Icelandic culture from the '50s to the dawning of the new millennium. Ari - a writer and publisher - lands back in Keflavik from Copenhagen. His father is dying, and he is flooded by memories of his youth in the '70s and '80s, listening to Pink Floyd and the Beatles, raiding American supply lorries and discovering girls. And one girl he could never forget. Layered through Ari's story is that of his grandparents in a village on the eastern coast, a world away from modern Keflavik. For his grandfather Oddur, life at sea is a destiny; for Margret its elemental power brings only loneliness and fear.Fish Have No Feet is a novel of profound beauty and wisdom by a major international writer. By the author of the acclaimed trilogy Heaven and Hell, The Sorrow of Angels and The Heart of Man

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The Explosion Chronicles

Man Booker International finalist Yan Lianke has been lauded for his imaginative satire and insightful cultural critique as "one of China's greatest living authors" (Guardian). His internationally bestselling new novel, The Explosion Chronicles, follows the excessive expansion of a rural community from small village to megalopolis. With the Yi River on one side and the Balou Mountains on the other, the village of Explosion was founded more than a millennium ago by refugees fleeing a seismic volcanic eruption. But in the post-Mao era the name takes on a new significance as the community grows explosively from a small village to a vast metropolis. Behind this rapid expansion are members of the community's three major families, including the four Kong brothers; Zhu Ying, the daughter of the former village chief; and Cheng Qing, who starts out as a secretary and goes on to become a powerful political and business figure. Linked together by a complex web of loyalty, betrayal, desire, and ambition, these figures are the driving force behind their hometown's transformation into an urban superpower. Brimming with absurdity, intelligence, and wit, The Explosion Chronicles considers the high stakes of passion and power, the consequences of corruption and greed, the polarizing dynamics of love and hate between families, as well as humankind's resourcefulness through the vicissitudes of life.

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Black Moses

It's 1970, and in the People's Republic of Congo a Marxist-Leninist revolution is ushering in a new age. But over at the orphanage on the outskirts of Pointe-Noire where young Moses has grown up, the revolution has only strengthened the reign of terror of Dieudonné Ngoulmoumako, the institution's corrupt director. So Moses escapes to Pointe-Noire, where he finds a home with a larcenous band of Congolese Merry Men and among the Zairian prostitutes of the Trois-Cents quarter. But the authorities won't leave Moses in peace, and intervene to chase both the Merry Men and the Trois-Cents girls out of town. All this injustice pushes poor Moses over the edge. Could he really be the Robin Hood of the Congo? Or is he just losing his marbles? Black Moses is a larger-than-life comic tale of a young man obsessed with helping the helpless in an unjust world. It is also a vital new extension of Mabanckou's extraordinary, interlinked body of work dedicated to his native Congo, and confirms his status as one of our great storytellers.

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Bricks and Mortar

Bricks and Mortar is the story of the sex trade in a big city in the former GDR, from just before 1989 to the present day, charting the development of the industry from absolute prohibition to full legality in the twenty years following the reunification of Germany. The focus is on the rise and fall of one man from football hooligan to large-scale landlord and service-provider for prostitutes to, ultimately, a man persecuted by those he once trusted. But we also hear other voices: many different women who work in prostitution, their clients, small-time gangsters, an ex-jockey searching for his drug-addict daughter, a businessman from the West, a girl forced into child prostitution, a detective, a pirate radio presenter...In his most ambitious book to date, Clemens Meyer pays homage to modernist, East German and contemporary writers like Alfred Doblin, Wolfgang Hilbig and David Peace but uses his own style and almost hallucinatory techniques.Time shifts and stretches, people die and come to life again, and Meyer takes his characters seriously and challenges his readers in this dizzying eye-opening novel that also finds inspiration in the films of Russ Meyer, Takashi Miike, Gaspar Noe and David Lynch.

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Mirror, Shoulder, Signal

'Dorthe Nors is fantastic!' Junot Diaz'Nors' writing is by turns witty, gut wrenching, stark and lyrical.' Los Angeles TimesSonja's over forty, and she's trying to move in the right direction. She's learning to drive. She's joined a meditation group. And she's attempting to reconnect with her sister.But Sonja would rather eat cake than meditate.Her driving instructor won't let her change gear.And her sister won't return her calls. Sonja's mind keeps wandering back to the dramatic landscapes of her childhood - the singing whooper swans, the endless sky, and getting lost barefoot in the rye fields - but how can she return to a place that she no longer recognises? And how can she escape the alienating streets of Copenhagen?Mirror, Shoulder, Signal is a poignant, sharp-witted tale of one woman's journey in search of herself when there's no one to ask for directions.

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Judas

SHORTLISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER INTERNATIONAL PRIZE 2017 Amos Oz's first major novel in a decade - since A Tale of Love and Darkness, which sold over 100,000 copies Selected as a Book of the Year 2016 in the Times Literary Supplement Shmuel, a young, idealistic student, is drawn to a mysterious handwritten note on a campus noticeboard. This takes him to a strange house, where an elderly invalid man requires a paid companion, to argue with and read to him. But there is someone else in the house, too... A woman, who is trailed by ghosts from her past. Shmuel is captivated by her, a sexual obsession which evolves into gentle love and devotion; and he is pulled to the old man, an intellectual obsession which also evolves into gentle love and devotion. Shmuel begins to uncover the house's tangled history and, in doing so, reaches an understanding that harks back not only to the beginning of the Jewish-Arab conflict, but also the beginning of Jerusalem itself - to Christianity, to Judaism, to Judas. Set in the still-divided Jerusalem of 1959-60, Judas is an exquisite love story and coming-of-age tale, and a radical rethinking of the concept of treason. It is a novel steeped in desire and curiosity from one of Israel's greatest living writers.

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Fever Dream

A young woman named Amanda lies dying in a rural hospital clinic. A boy named David sits beside her. She’s not his mother. He's not her child. Together, they tell a haunting story of broken souls, toxins, and the power and desperation of family. Fever Dream is a nightmare come to life, a ghost story for the real world, a love story and a cautionary tale. One of the freshest new voices to come out of the Spanish language and translated into English for the first time, Samanta Schweblin creates an aura of strange psychological menace and otherworldly reality in this absorbing, unsettling, taut novel.

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I love to read, cook, and travel. My favourite books are anything Jane Austen or Georgette Heyer, but I also love non-fiction history and self-help.