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The 2018 Shortlist for the International Dublin Literary Award

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Now in its 23rd year, the 2018 shortlist for the International Dublin Literary Award includes six novels in translation. The award, known for its celebration of authors worldwide is sponsored by the Dublin City Council. Public libraries in Canada, Estonia, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Norway, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland and the USA nominated this year's titles.

The 2018 shortlist includes "issues of violence and crime, isolation and reconciliation, identity and family are set in contrasting urban and rural landscapes. For readers, these stories reveal unfamiliar cultures and countries through memorable characters and their literary narratives," said Margaret Hayes, Dublin City Librarian. 

The award is one of the world's most generous; the winner receives €100,000. If the book has been translated, the author receives €75,000 and the translator €25,000. In 2017 Daniel Hahn, who translated from Portuguese the winning book by José Eduardo Agualusa,  A General Theory of Oblivion, donated half of his award winnings to establish a new prize for debut literary translation.

The winner of the 2018 prize will be announced June 13th.

The Woman Next Door

Hortensia and Marion are next door neighbours in a charming, bougainvillea-laden Cape Town suburb. One is black, one white. Both are successful women with impressive careers behind them. Both have recently been widowed. Both are in their eighties. And both are sworn enemies, sharing hedge and hostility pruned with zeal. But one day an unforeseen event forces the women together. Could long-held mutual loathing transform into friendship? Love thy neighbour? Easier said than done.

My Name Is Lucy Barton

An exquisite story of mothers and daughters by the Pulitzer prize-winning Elizabeth Strout. Lucy is recovering from an operation in a New York hospital when she wakes to find her estranged mother sitting by her bed. They have not seen one another in years. As they talk Lucy finds herself recalling her troubled rural childhood and how it was she eventually arrived in the big city, got married and had children. But this unexpected visit leaves her doubting the life she's made: wondering what is lost and what has yet to be found.

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Solar Bones

Once a year, on All Souls Day, it is said that the dead may return; Solar Bones tells the story of one such visit. Set in the west of Ireland as the recession is about to strike, this novel is a portrait of one man's experience when his world threatens to fall apart. Wry and poignant, Solar Bones is an intimate portrayal of one family, capturing how careless decisions ripple out into waves, and how our morals are challenged in small ways every day.

The lesser bohemians

From the writer of one of the most memorable debuts of recent years, a story of first love and redemption. One night in London an eighteen year old girl, recently arrived from Ireland to study drama, meets an older actor and a tumultuous relationship ensues. Set across the bedsits and squats of mid-nineties north London, The Lesser Bohemians is a story about love and innocence, joy and discovery, the grip of the past and the struggle to be new again.

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Baba Dunja's Last Love

Government warnings about radiation levels in her hometown (a stone’s throw from Chernobyl) be damned! Baba Dunja is going home. And she’s taking a motley bunch of her former neighbors with her. With strangely misshapen forest fruits to spare and the town largely to themselves, they have pretty much everything they need and they plan to start anew. The terminally ill Petrov passes the time reading love poems in his hammock; Marja takes up with the almost 100-year-old Sidorow; Baba Dunja whiles away her days writing letters to her daughter. Life is beautiful. That is until one day a stranger turns up in the village and once again the little idyllic settlement faces annihilation. From the prodigiously talented Alina Bronsky, this is a return to the iron-willed and infuriatingly misguided older female protagonist that she made famous with her unforgettable Russian matriarch, Rosa Achmetowna, in The Hottest Dishes of the Tartar Cuisine. Here she tells the story of a post-meltdown settlement, and of an unusual woman, Baba Dunja, who, late in life, finds her version of paradise. Translated from the German by Tim Mohr.

The Transmigration of Bodies

A plague has brought death to the city. Two feuding crime families with blood on their hands need our hard-boiled hero, The Redeemer, to broker peace. Both his instincts and the vacant streets warn him to stay indoors, but The Redeemer ventures out into the city's underbelly to arrange for the exchange of the bodies they hold hostage.Yuri Herrera's novel is a response to the violence of contemporary Mexico. With echoes of Romeo and Juliet, Roberto Bolano and Raymond Chandler, The Transmigration of Bodies is a noirish tragedy and a tribute to those bodies - loved, sanctified, lusted after, and defiled - that violent crime has touched. Translated from the Spanish by Lisa Dillman.

The Unseen

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 Barroy 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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Human Acts

Gwangju, South Korea, 1980. In the wake of a viciously suppressed student uprising, a boy searches for his friend's corpse, a consciousness searches for its abandoned body, and a brutalised country searches for a voice. In a sequence of interconnected chapters the victims and the bereaved encounter censorship, denial, forgiveness and the echoing agony of the original trauma. Human Acts is a universal book, utterly modern and profoundly timeless. Already a controversial bestseller and award-winning book in Korea, it confirms Han Kang as a writer of immense importance. Translated from Korean by Deborah Smith.

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Ladivine

Clarisse Riviere's life is shaped by a refusal to admit to her husband Richard and to her daughter Ladivine that her mother is a poor black housekeeper. Instead, weighed down by guilt, she pretends to be an orphan, visiting her mother in secret and telling no-one of her real identity as Malinka, daughter of Ladivine Sylla. In time, her lies turn against her. Richard leaves Clarisse, frustrated by the unbridgeable, indecipherable gulf between them. Clarisse is devastated, but finds solace in a new man, Freddy Moliger, who is let into the secret about her mother, and is even introduced to her. But Ladivine, her daughter, who is now married herself, cannot shake a bad feeling about her mother's new lover, convinced that he can bring only chaos and pain into her life. When she is proved right, in the most tragic circumstances, the only comfort the family can turn to requires a leap of faith beyond any they could have imagined. Centred around three generations of women, whose seemingly cursed lineage is defined by the weight of origins, the pain of alienation and the legacy of shame, Ladivine is a beguiling story of secrets, lies, guilt and forgiveness by one of Europe's most unique literary voices. Translated from the French by Jordan Stump.

Distant Light

A man lives in total solitude in an abandoned mountain village. But a mystery disturbs his isolation: each night at the same hour a distant light appears on the far side of the valley. What is it? Someone in another deserted village? A forgotten street lamp? An alien being? Finally the man is driven to discover its source. There he finds a young boy who also lives alone in a house in the midst of the forest. But who really is this child? The answer at the secret heart of this novel is both uncanny and profoundly touching. Antonio Moresco’s work is a moving meditation on life and the universe we inhabit. Moresco reflects on the solitude and pain of existence, but also on what man shares with all around him, living and dead. Translated from Italian by Richard Dixon.

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Jacqueline is a journalist primarily, but not only, interested in fiction and non-fiction with equal passion.

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