Looking for a great book? Earlier this week, the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award announced its 2013 shortlist.
The selection process for this award is unusual because it begins with libraries. Each year over one hundred public libraries from around the world each nominate up to three novels of “high literary merit” written in or translated into English--alas, this effort does not include Oakland Public Library. (It is worth noting that the list of countries represented by these libraries weighs heavily European, and so do the finalists.) The shortlist and the winner are then selected by a panel of judges which varies every year. This year’s winner will be announced on Thursday, June 6.
The International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award was established in 1994 and first awarded in 1996. Past winners include Let The Great World Spin by Colum McCann, Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson, The Known World by Edward P. Jones, and My Name is Red by Orhan Pamuk.
Check out a contender! Here is the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award 2013 Shortlist, with descriptions from our catalog:
City of Bohane
by Kevin Barry
The once-great city of Bohane on the west coast of Ireland is in terminal decline, infested by vice and split along tribal lines. For years, it has been under the control of Logan Hartnett, the godfather of the Hartnett Fancy gang. But now his old nemesis is back in town, his henchman are becoming ambitious, and his wife wants him to give it all up and go straight.
The Map and the Territory
by Michel Houellebecq
Translated from the original French by Gavin Bowd
Traces the experiences of artist Jed Martin, who rises to international success as a portrait photographer before helping to solve a heinous crime that has lasting repercussions for his loved ones.
by Andrew Miller
Engineer Jean-Baptiste Baratte is tasked with emptying an overflowing cemetery in Paris in 1785, work he considers noble until he begins to suspect that the destruction of the cemetery parallels his own fate and the demise of social order.
by Haruki Murakami
Translated from the original Japanese by Jay Rubin and Philip Gabriel
An ode to George Orwell's "1984" told in alternating male and female voices relates the stories of Aomame, an assassin for a secret organization who discovers that she has been transported to an alternate reality, and Tengo, a mathematics lecturer and novice writer.
The Buddha in the Attic
by Julie Otsuka
Presents the stories of six Japanese mail-order brides whose new lives in early twentieth-century San Francisco are marked by backbreaking migrant work, cultural struggles, children who reject their heritage, and the prospect of wartime internment.
The Tragedy of Arthur
by Arthur Phillips
When their long-imprisoned con-artist father reaches the end of his life, Arthur and his twin sister become the owners of an undiscovered play by William Shakespeare that their father wants published, a final request that represents either a great literary gift or their father's last great heist.
by Karen Russell
The Bigtree children struggle to protect their Florida Everglades alligator-wrestling theme park from a sophisticated competitor after losing their parents.
From the Mouth of the Whale*
Translated from the original Icelandic by Victoria Cribb
The year is 1635. Iceland is a world darkened by superstition, poverty, and cruelty. Men of science marvel over a unicorn's horn, poor folk worship the Virgin in secret, and both books and men are burnt. Jonas Palmason, a poet and self-taught healer, has been condemned to exile for heretical conduct, having fallen foul of the local magistrate. Banished to a barren island, Jonas recalls his gift for curing "female maladies," his exorcism of a walking corpse on the remote Snjafjoll coast, the frenzied massacre of innocent Basque whalers at the hands of local villagers, and the deaths of three of his children.
The Faster I Walk, The Smaller I Am*
by Kjersti Skomsvold
Translated from the original Norwegian by Kerri A. Pierce
Mathea Martinsen has never been good at dealing with other people. After a lifetime, her only real accomplishment is her longevity: everyone she reads about in the obituaries has died younger than she is now. Afraid that her life will be over before anyone knows that she lived, Mathea digs out her old wedding dress, bakes some sweet cakes, and heads out into the world--to make her mark. She buries a time capsule out in the yard. (It gets dug up to make room for a flagpole.) She wears her late husband's watch and hopes people will ask her for the time. (They never do.) Is it really possible for a woman to disappear so completely that the world won't notice her passing? The Faster I Walk, the Smaller I Am is a macabre twist on the notion that life "must be lived to the fullest."
Caesarion (Little Caesar)*
by Tommy Wieringa
Translated from the original Dutch by Sam Garrett
Pianist Ludwig, whose life was derailed when his artist father left his family when he was a boy, embarks on a journey around the world, while coping with the discovery of his mother's former career as a pornographic actress.
*Most of these finalists are available at Oakland Public Library and the rest can be borrowed through Link+. If you haven’t tried Link+, you can read more about it here.
Posted on 4/12/2013 by Christy Thomas, Librarian, Main Library.