A Whole Life Longlisted for the 2016 The Man Booker International Prize
The Man Booker International Prize revealed its longlist yesterday, and we’re trilled that A Whole Life by Robert Seethaler and translated by Charlotte Collins — published in Canada by House of Anansi — made the list! Like John Williams’ Stoner or Denis Johnson’s Train Dreams, A Whole Life is a tender book about finding dignity and beauty in solitude. An exquisite novel about a simple life, it has already demonstrated its power to move thousands of readers (being a 200,000-copy German bestseller) with a message of solace and truth. It looks at the moments, big and small, that make us what we are.
On the Man Booker International Prize, Boyd Tonkin, chair of the 2016 Man Booker International Prize judging panel, says:
‘For the first longlist in its new form, the Man Booker International Prize invites readers to share a thrilling journey of discovery across the finest fiction in translation. The 13 books that the judges have chosen not only feature superb writing from Brazil to Indonesia, from Finland to South Korea, from Angola to Italy. Our selection highlights the sheer diversity of great fiction today. From intense episodes of passion to miniature historical epics; from eerie fables of family strife to character-driven chronicles of urban life, this list showcases fiction that crosses every border. It also pays tribute to the skill and dedication of the first-rate translators who convey it to English-language readers.’
As noted on The Man Booker Prize’s website, “this is the first longlist ever to have been announced for the Man Booker International Prize, which has joined forces with the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize and is now awarded annually on the basis of a single book. The £50,000 prize will be divided equally between the author of the winning book and its translator. The judges considered 155 books.”
Congrats, Robert and Charlotte! The judges will announce a shortlist of six books on April 14th, 2016.
Andreas lives his whole life in the Austrian Alps, where he arrives as a young boy taken in by a farming family. He is a man of very few words and so, when he falls in love with Marie, he doesn’t ask for her hand in marriage, but instead has some of his friends light her name at dusk across the mountain. When Marie dies in an avalanche, pregnant with their first child, Andreas’ heart is broken. He leaves his valley just once more, to fight in WWII — where he is taken prisoner in the Caucasus — and returns to find that modernity has reached his remote haven . . .
Like John Williams’ Stoner or Denis Johnson’s Train Dreams, A Whole Life is a tender book about finding dignity and beauty in solitude. An exquisite novel about a simple life, it has already demonstrated its power to move thousands of readers with a message of solace and truth. It looks at the moments, big and small, that make us what we are.