I have a few books to add on to my wish list – all inspired by reviews on other book blogs and prize lists that seem to be coming in abundance this month.
The first on my list is Traveller of the Century by Andrés Neuman which I first read about on Winstonsdad’s blog. It is on the shortlist for the International Foreign Fiction Prize (IFFP) and I think it sounds like a wonderful – and weighty – read. I’m a stickler for Spanish and Latin American fiction as I love the culture although this novel does span several different countries. The blurb on the back of the US edition:
Searching for an inn, the enigmatic traveler Hans stops in a small city on the border between Saxony and Prussia. The next morning, Hans meets an old organ-grinder in the market square and immediately finds himself enmeshed in an intense debate—on identity and what it is that defines us—from which he cannot break free.
Indefinitely stuck in Wandernburg until his debate with the organ-grinder is concluded, he begins to meet the various characters who populate the town, including a young freethinker named Sophie. Though she is engaged to be married, Sophie and Hans begin a relationship that defies contemporary mores about female sexuality and what can and cannot be said about it.
Read the review on Winstonsdad’s blog here.
And see what else is on the shortlist over on the Booktrust’s website.
This also leads onto another author involved in this year’s IFFP, as one of the judges. Elif Şafak is of Turkish descent and I am quite intrigued by her novel Honour. I actually read a review of this a month or so ago on JoV’s Book Pyramid and had mentally added it to my list then. I haven’t read any Turkish fiction and I would like to do so – I have visited the country several times and love learning about the language and culture of other countries – which is why foreign fiction is always so interesting to me. Turkey is the market focus country for this year’s London Book Fair (happening this week) so I expect there will be lots of people talking about Turkish fiction this year. There is also an interesting article in The Telegraph today which discusses Turkey, literature and censorship which you can read here.
This book is also on the longlist for this year’s Women’s Prize for Fiction – the shortlist is announced this afternoon so I will be looking out for that!
My mother died twice…. And so begins the story of Esma a young Kurdish woman in London trying to come to terms with the terrible murder her brother has committed. Esma tells the story of her family stretching back three generations; back to her grandmother and the births of her mother and Aunt in a village on the edge of the Euphrates. Named Pembe and Jamila, meaning Pink and Beautiful rather than the names their mother wanted to call them, Destiny and Enough, the twin girls have very different futures ahead of them all of which will end in tragedy on a street in East London in 1978.
Read the review of Honour on JoV’s Book Pyramid blog here.
I also was intrigued by Savidge Reads’ review of The Panopticon by Jenni Fagan which you can read here. She is a Scottish writer and one whose name I have seen popping up more and more. In fact, she was named just yesterday as one of Granta’s 20 brightest young writers. The full list is here – it will be interesting to see how this affects the writers’ careers and to watch out for them in the future. The blurb from Fagan’s The Panopticon:
Fifteen-year old Anais Hendricks is smart, funny and fierce, but she is also a child who has been let down, or worse, by just about every adult she has ever met. Sitting in the back of a police car, she finds herself headed for the Panopticon, a home for chronic young offenders where the social workers are as suspicious as its residents. But Anais can’t remember the events that have led her there, or why she has blood on her school uniform…
These all sound like great reads – I’ll be adding them to my Wish List today!