All the links to affiliates, ads etc on my blog generate income. I donate 100% of ALL income to various charities. So buy books using links on my blog - they cost you no more - but the affiliate fee I receive is donated to various charities (to see which charities visit

Monday 7 April 2014

Independent Foreign Fiction Prize 2014 - The Shadow Jury votes - what's our shortlist?

The great minds of the 2014 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize Shadow Jury have conferred, our mutual love for translated fiction our only commonality, and the democratic way of handling the fifteen titles from the long list was such that not a ripple was caused, even if we didn’t fully agree. We still remain friends and are all looking forward to a similar debate when picking our winner – and most of us (if not all) are already looking forward to 2015 so we can do this all over again.

The journey across the long list has been a wonderful trip, one that I’ve relished and thoroughly enjoyed, even though a couple of the books weren’t to my liking the list this year appears a very strong one with numerous possible contenders for the shortlist and prize.

As the Shadow Jury we judged each work on the “book/story”, the translation and the longevity – scoring each work out of a possible 30 points. As not every jury member got to every book (I’m guilty there having only got through eleven of the fifteen) the scores were then averaged to give us our select six works.

As mentioned before I personally thought this year’s list was a very strong one and personally only disliked “Exposure” and “Back to Back”, other Shadow Jury members of course did not agree.

So without further ado I should reveal the Shadow Jury’s shortlist for 2014:

The Infatuations by Javier Marias - a deep lamentation on death and the transient nature of relationships as well as love and a slow burn on envy, loss, jealousy, Balzac, “The Three Musketeers” and fiction itself.

Brief Loves That Live Forever by Andei Makine – Totalitarianism in decay a complex and beautiful work, we follow our first person narrator from his post World War 2 life in an orphanage through to old age as he reflects on those brief moments where he has experienced “love” the magical times where the mundane and the structured is lost, if even for a fleeting moment, those times he cherishes forever

The Sorrow Of Angels by Jon Kalman Stefansson - Review coming later this week. 

The Mussel Feast by Birgit Vanderbeke - Review coming later this week.

A Man In Love by Karl Ove Knausgaard - Book two of Karl Ove’s six book series sees him moving from Norway to Sweden and his falling in love and having children. The outpourings of the soul, to his partner, friends, and family are all on the pages to see, raw and exposed.

The Corpse Washer by Sinan Antoon - Our narrator is Jawad and we follow him through his first experiences at the mghaysil (the washing temple), to university to study fine arts, his loves and the catastrophic changes that he must undergo as a citizen of Iraq whilst the regime of Saddam Hussein is toppled. This is a horrific tale, one that takes you to places where you never thought you’d have to go. A short history of the occupation of Iraq.

All very fine works indeed, works that lovers of translated fiction will adore, but will the official jury think the same way? Tomorrow we will find out.

Please take the time to have a look at the reviews and comments from the other members of the Shadow Jury, we have all put out sincerest love of translated works first into the venture and this group of bloggers are ones you should have on your “follow” list.
Dolce Bellezza – (twitter @bellezzamjs)
David Hebblethwaite's blog about books – (twitter @David_Heb)
Tony’s Reading List – (twitter @tony_malone)
Winstonsdad’s Blog – (twitter @stuallen)
And the blog free Jacqui Wine (she has guest blogged on a few of the above blogs and will be joining me later this week for a guest spot) twitter @jacquiWine

Let's not forget the great blog "The Mookse and the Gripes" for their fantastic support of us, posing links to all our reviews and more. A great blog to visit

1 comment:

Bellezza said...

I feel the same way that you do; this was a marvelous way to read, with like-minded bibliophiles who love translated fiction, and nary a ripple among us.

It's amazing to me how closely our top six aligned with one another, yet not amazing afterall as we are readers who care about literature first.

Thanks for the links to the blogs. With going back to work today after Spring Break, I have not had time to put up my Shadow Jury post. Perhaps tonight.

Can't wait to go forward, to the announcement of the prize and to 2015!