The immense longlist for the 2009 IMPAC award was announced yesterday. As always with the IMPAC, the list is all over the place and almost too long (146 novels!) to really mean something.
The process for awarding the IMPAC goes on for almost a year, with the shortlist being announced on April 2nd, and the winner on June 11th.
Nominations for the list come from 157 libraries in 117 cities and 41 countries worldwide. On the IMPAC site, there’s a bit about how this longlist breaks down:
“The 156 authors [sic — or 146, it’s hard to keep track] hail from 41 countries. The books span 18 languages, 29 of which are translated from languages such as Arabic, Japanese, Russian, Slovenian and Hebrew. 19 [sic] of them are first novels. These are books that might not otherwise come to the attention of Irish readers”, says Deirdre Ellis-King, Dublin City Librarian. “The spread of languages and the number of books in translation continues to grow”.
Translated authors include Peter Høeg, Jan Echenoz, Lars Saabye Christensen, Laura Restrepo and Haruki Murakami.
Afghan/American writer, Khalid Hosseini is the libraries favorite with 18 nominations for A Thousand Splendid Suns. Divisadero by Australian Michael Ondaatje [sic — maybe they meant this Michael Ondaatje was nominated by 13 libraries and Ian McEwan’s On Chesil Beach received 10 nominations.
Despite the significant money that comes with this award (€100,000 that is split between author and translator if the book is in translation), I have a hard time paying much attention to this award. It’s cool in theory, but would be better served by having a shorter longlist (you could release a list of all nominated books separately), and a shorter time between events so as to build some momentum for the prize. There should be a word for something like this . . . something brilliant in concept, but fucked in execution.
Randall Jarrell once argued a point that I will now paraphrase and, in doing so, over-simplify: As a culture, we need book criticism, not book reviews. I sort of agree, but let’s not get into all of that. Having finished. . .
Like any good potboiler worth its salt, Fuminori Nakamura’s The Gun wastes no time setting up its premise: “Last night, I found a gun. Or you could say I stole it, I’m not really sure. I’ve never seen something so. . .
Heiner Resseck, the protagonist in Monika Held’s thought-provoking, first novel, This Place Holds No Fear, intentionally re-lives his past every hour of every day. His memories are his treasures, more dear than the present or future. What wonderful past eclipses. . .
If you’ve ever worked in a corporate office, you’ve likely heard the phrase, “Perception is reality.” To Björn, the office worker who narrates Jonas Karlsson’s novel The Room, the reality is simple: there’s a door near the bathroom that leads. . .
I recently listened to Three Percent Podcast #99, which had guest speaker Julia Berner-Tobin from Feminist Press. In addition to the usual amusement of finally hearing both sides of the podcast (normally I just hear parts of Chad’s side. . .
Let’s not deceive ourselves, man is nothing very special. In fact, there are so many of us that our governments don’t know what to do with us at all. Six billion humans on the planet and only six or seven. . .
“Rambling Jack—what’s that?”
“A novel. Novella, I guess.”
“Yeah, it looks short. What is it, a hundred pages?”
“Sorta. It’s a duel language book, so really, only about… 50 pages total.”
“And this—what. . .
Many authors are compared to Roberto Bolaño. However, very few authors have the privilege of having a Roberto Bolaño quote on the cover of their work; and at that, one which states, “Good readers will find something that can be. . .
In Josep Maria de Sagarra’s Private Life, a man harangues his friend about literature while walking through Barcelona at night:
When a novel states a fact that ties into another fact and another and another, as the chain goes on. . .
César Aira dishes up an imaginative parable on how identity shapes our sense of belonging with Dinner, his latest release in English. Aira’s narrator (who, appropriately, remains nameless) is a self-pitying, bitter man—in his late fifties, living again with. . .