The Man Booker International Prize revealed its shortlist recently, 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:
‘This exhilarating shortlist will take readers both around the globe and to every frontier of fiction. In first-class translations that showcase that unique and precious art, these six books tell unforgettable stories from China and Angola, Austria and Turkey, Italy and South Korea. In setting, they range from a Mao-era re-education camp and a remote Alpine valley to the modern tumult and transformation of cities such as Naples and Istanbul. In form, the titles stretch from a delicate mosaic of linked lives in post-colonial Africa to a mesmerising fable of domestic abuse and revolt in booming east Asia. Our selection shows that the finest books in translation extend the boundaries not just of our world – but of the art of fiction itself. We hope that readers everywhere will share our pleasure and excitement in this shortlist.’
As noted on The Man Booker Prize’s website, “The Man Booker International Prize has revealed the shortlist of six books in contention for the 2016 Prize, celebrating the finest in global fiction. Each shortlisted author and translator will receive £1,000, while the £50,000 prize will be divided equally between the author and the translator of the winning entry.”
Congrats, Robert and Charlotte! The judges will announce a winner on May 16th, 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.