The shortlist for the 2010 Dublin IMPAC Literary Award has been announced. As you may already know, this the literary prize that is awarded based on nominations from public libraries from around the world.
The 2010 shortlisted titles are:
The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery (Moroccan / French) in translation.
“Tender and satirical in its overall tone, yet most absorbing because of its reflections on the nature of beauty and art, the meaning of life and death…. The intelligent Muriel Barbery has served readers well by giving us the gently satirical, exceptionally winning and inevitably bittersweet Elegance of the Hedgehog.” – publisher
In Zodiac Light by Robert Edric (British)
“It is December 1922 and the aftershocks of the First World War continue to make themselves felt. Ex-soldier, poet and composer Ivor Gurney, suffering from increasingly frequent and deepening bouts of paranoid schizophrenia, is transferred to the City of London Mental Hospital, Dartford. Neglected by the military and by his own family, and abandoned by all but a notable handful of his friends, Gurney begins a descent into the madness and oblivion which he believes has long been waiting to claim him. Yet following his arrival at Dartford, there are still those who continue to believe in Gurney’s capabilities – in his ‘wayward genius’.” – publisher
The Believers by Zoë Heller (British).
“A comic, tragic, supremely entertaining novel about one family’s struggles with the consolations of faith and the trials of doubt. When New York radical lawyer, Joel Litvinoff falls gravely ill, his wife Audrey uncovers a secret that forces her to re-examine both her belief in him and her commitment to their forty-year marriage. Meanwhile, her ne’er-do-well adopted son, Lenny, is back on drugs again and her daughters, Karla and Rosa, are grappling with their own catastrophes and dilemmas. Rosa, a disillusioned revolutionary socialist, has found herself increasingly beguiled by the world of Orthodox Judaism; now she is being pressed to make a commitment and must decide if she is really ready to forsake all her cherished secular values for a Torah-observant life. Karla, an unhappily married hospital social worker and union activist, falls into a tumultuous affair with a conservative shop-keeper: can she really love a man whose politics she reviles? And how to choose between a life of duty and principle and her own happiness.” – publisher
Netherland by Joseph O’Neill (Irish)
“‘Netherland’ is a novel of belonging and not belonging, and the uneasy state in between. It is a novel of a marriage foundering and recuperating, and of the shallows and depths of male friendship. With it, Joseph O’Neill has taken the anxieties and uncertainties of our new century and fashioned a work of extraordinary beauty and brilliance” – publisher
God’s Own Country by Ross Raisin
“Recently expelled from school, Sam Marsdyke spends his days working the sheep on his father’s farm and his nights up on the bleak Yorkshire moors, watching the steady invasion of daft ramblers and well-heeled ‘towns’, who are feverishly buying up the houses left empty by bankrupt farmers. Then, one day, the fifteen year-old daughter of one of the smart new families catches his eye. Attracted by his gruff, sardonic wit and bruising turn of phrase, she strikes up an unlikely, touching friendship with him – one that will unhinge Sam’s obsessive imagination and eventually lead to his macabre undoing.” – publisher
Home by Marilynne Robinson (American)
“A brilliantly imagined retelling of the prodigal son parable, set at the same moment and in the same Iowa town as Gilead. The Reverend Boughton’s hell-raising son, Jack, has come home after twenty years away. Artful and devious in his youth, now an alcoholic carrying two decades worth of secrets, he is perpetually at odds with his traditionalist father, though he remains his most beloved child. As Jack tries to make peace with his father, he begins to forge an intense bond with his sister Glory, herself returning home with a broken heart and turbulent past. Home is a luminous and healing book about families, family secrets, and faith from one of America’s most beloved and acclaimed authors.”– publisher
The Twin by Gerbrand Bakker (Dutch) in translation. (to be ordered)
“When his twin brother dies in a car accident, Helmer is obliged to return to the small family farm. He resigns himself to taking over his brother’s role and spending the rest of his days ‘with his head under a cow. Ostensibly a novel about the countryside, as seen through the eyes of a farmer, The Twin is, in the end, about the possibility or impossibility of taking life into one’s own hands. It chronicles a way of life which has resisted modernity, is culturally apart, and yet riven with a kind of romantic longing” – publisher
Settlement by Christoph Hein (German) in translation. (to be ordered)
“Provincial Guldenberg is still reeling from World War II when a flood of German refugees arrives from the east, Bernhard Haber’s family among them. Life is hard enough—Bernhard’s father has lost an arm and his carpenter’s income. But added to this injury comes an accumulation of insults, as the upright town turns hostile toward the newcomers. After a string of mysterious losses—from the killing of the boy’s dog to the unexplained death of his father—Bernhard is set on extracting revenge… …As the socialist state gives way to reunification and the capitalism of the 1990s, Hein’s masterful, multivoiced narration charts the transformation not just of one man but of an entire nation struggling to leave history behind and claim a home.” – Times Literary Supplement