2017 Man Booker International Prize Shadow Jury Winner

mbi2017-logoLater today the official judges of the Man Booker International Prize will announce their winner, and to steal a little of their thunder the Shadow Jury is a few hours ahead of the official jury in announcing our favoured book from the thirteen titles that made the longlist way back in March of this year. It is a blessing that we had a decent amount of time to work our way through all the nominated books as there were several weighty tomes in the list.

With eight members on the Shadow Jury the views were always going to be disparate, the debates and discussions lengthy and the observations into other’s reading tastes enlightening. I can assure you that there was healthy discussion on many titles, some of us hating one title, others ranking it highly, and vice versa.

Our shortlist was announced in early May and consisted of the following six titles:

“Compass” by Mathias Énard (France), translated by Charlotte Mandell

“The Unseen” by Roy Jacobsen (Norway), translated by Don Bartlett

“Fish Have No Feet” by Jón Kalman Stefánsson (Iceland), translated by Philip Roughton

“Bricks and Mortar” by Clemens Meyer (Germany), translated by Katy Derbyshire

“Judas” by Amos Oz (Israel), translated by Nicholas de Lange

“Fever Dream” by Samanta Schweblin (Argentina), translated by Megan McDowell

The official shortlist differing only slightly, with “A Horse Walks Into a Bar” by David Grossman (Israel), translated by Jessica Cohen and “Mirror, Shoulder, Signal” by Dorthe Nors (Denmark), translated by Misha Hoekstra taking the place of “Fish Have No Feet” and “Bricks and Mortar”.

After long, and frequent, deliberations the Shadow Jury was similar to election night in the United Kingdom and the last Australian election with the real possibility of a hung Parliament. With only a hair’s breadth separating four titles, the voting and deliberations continued.

However there can only be one winner and although it may have been tempting to name a “joint winner” the Shadow Jury has made a decision…

Highly, highly commended is “The Unseen” by Roy Jacobsen (Norway), translated by Don Bartlett

But close enough wasn’t quite good enough and we have decided that the 2017 Man Booker International Prize Shadow Jury winner is…. drum roll (don’t they do that in primary school?)…

 

“Compass” by Mathias Énard (France), translated by Charlotte Mandell

Compass1

Not speaking as part of a Jury here, however personally, I am extremely happy with this announcement, for me this was the standout book of the 2017 list, a work that includes a soundtrack (if you take the time to play the frequent musical references whilst reading you will notice another layer added to an already outstanding novel). With homage to other great literary works, through deft references and an engaging plot line this work encompasses you, makes you think of the possibilities of literature.

After four years of being a Shadow Jury member for both the Man Booker International Prize and the preceding Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, I think I will make this my last year of involvement. Whilst I enjoy the debate and the opinion of others, I feel a “jury” approach doesn’t really suit my opinionated behaviour. I will probably continue to read the longlist and post my views however I will be a “lone ranger”, blurting out my dislikes left right and centre without the fear of offending a fellow jury member.

It has been fun being involved, but time to move on…

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5 thoughts on “2017 Man Booker International Prize Shadow Jury Winner

  1. Well done to all of you, and yes, I can relate to your decision to move on. I admire Stu enormously for sticking with it year after year, because I found it stressful to have to read all the books and even more demanding to have to reach agreement with everyone else about what should win.
    And now I must get hold of the book and read it!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Such a pleasure to read with you and the others, Tony. And, you and I both suggest the playlist, which for me is a huge addition to the experience. Heck, I even like eating the food from the country of which I’m reading. This was a worthy winner, one I am quite content with.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. By the way, I like your “opinionated behavior.” It is hard for me to be a dissonant voice, I never want to offend anyone, but a jury needs several points of views. I have always valued yours.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know you appreciate it, I just felt very flat towards the end of this one & have for the last two years, I don’t want reading (or posting) to be a chore.

      Like

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