Yet the danger appears to come from within. Published by Faber & Faber. Norton. Viet Thanh Nguyen, the author of The Sympathizer. Cue the outrages committed in the name of religion in this ponderous yet addictive read. The Green Road by Anne Enright (Irish ) Published by Jonathan Cape & W.W. Golden age
Valeria Luiselli, author of The Story of my Teeth.
Mexican writing is enjoying a golden age, and Valeria Luiselli’s The Story of My Teeth is playful and confident. A plaintive beauty shapes Austrian Robert Seethaler’s elegiac A Whole Life, which is translated by Charlotte Collins. The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen (Vietnamese/American) First novel. Translated by Ekin Oklap, it is Dickensian in execution, an everyman marshmallow of a saga more to love than admire. Shortlisted for the Man Booker International prize, the small human tragedy of one lonely man already has a huge readership. This year’s shortlist, six of which are in translation, is drawn from 149 titles nominated by 109 libraries in 40 countries. It features seven men and three women and includes few surprises. This is an inspired choice from the judging panel and, with six of the 10 books in translation, it has certainly testified to the quality of international fiction. It is a profound and demanding work of art. Anne Enright is the only Irish finalist with The Green Road. Enright is a shrewd and unflinching observer of human behaviour. Nigeria’s Chinelo Okparanta confronts the legacy of war in Under the Udala Trees which is the story of two girls in love. Most of the books have already been widely celebrated and one of them, The Sympathizer by Vietnamese American Viet Thanh Nguyen, won the Pulitzer Prize and is already an international bestseller. Place your bets on this likely winner, as Nguyen looks to Catch-22 and beyond. Turkish writer and 2006 Nobel Prize for Literature winner Orhan Pamuk’s A Strangeness in My Mind is a meandering, likable and complacent reiteration of his favourite theme, his love of Istanbul. On a wider level it is also about the emergence of Nigeria; the vision is bold, yet the prose can be flat. Published by Grove/Atlantic & Corsair. The Story of My Teeth by Valeria Luiselli (Mexican) Translated from the Spanish by Margaret Christina MacSweeney. Photograph: Oriana Koren/The New York Times
The Vietnam war in all its squalor is revisited with satiric panache. Published by Picador. Jude is a successful lawyer with so many agonies stored in his memories that at times, to my shame, I laughed. Translated from the Spanish by Christina MacSweeney, it follows the antics of Highway, auctioneer and teller of stories, as he strives to improve his smile. Enjoying a wide appeal among critics and readers, this most readable of narratives could make its presence felt. International Dublin Literary Award shortlist
A General Theory of Oblivion by José Eduardo Agualusa (Angolan) Translated from the Portuguese by Daniel Hahn. A Whole Life by Robert Seethaler (Austrian) Translated from the German by Charlotte Collins. Published by Coffee House Press & Granta Books. Published by Atlantic Books & W.W. The harsh realities of civil war and the abuse inflicted on the weak make this a daunting book as Couto’s powerful message is filtered through the pages of diaries kept by two of the characters, each with demons of their own. The Prophets of Eternal Fjord by Kim Leine (Danish/Norwegian) Translated from the Danish by Martin Aitken. Published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux & Harvill Secker. Confession of the Lioness by Mia Couto (Mozambican) Translated from the Portuguese by David Brookshaw. A Strangeness in My Mind by Orhan Pamuk (Turkish) Translated from the Turkish by Ekin Oklap. For the first few years of her epic isolation, she has her dog for company; later she has his ghost. Published by Harvill Secker & Archipelago Books. Four adult siblings come together at Christmas as a prelude for what is a profound act for their bewildered mother: the sale of the family home. Irrelevant if it wins or not, this gentle work is greatly loved. Agualusa is an artist whose genius lies in his empathy. Hanya Yanagihar, author of A Little Life
The same cannot be said of American Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life, a gigantic slog through the life of another lonely man. A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara (American) Published by Doubleday & Picador While The Sympathizer dominates, a threat is presented by Danish storyteller Kim Leine’s fourth novel The Prophets of Eternal Fjord, translated by Martin Aitkin. ‘Home is the most difficult of imaginings, perhaps, after love itself’
Nothing on Earth: a kind of ghost story on a ghost estate
AEIOU: Ireland’s debt to George Russell
Mia Couto from Mozambique leads a formidable African trio with his remarkable literary parable Confessions of the Lioness, translated from the Portuguese by David Brookshaw. The Green Road has been widely read and has featured on “international books of the year” selections. A lone Irish writer and one previous winner are among the 10 contenders battling, politely, for the International Dublin Literary Award. In 1787 a new priest sets off to Greenland to convert the native Inuit. Yanagihara delivers a masterclass in clunky bathos. Photograph: Getty Images
In it a traumatised woman retreats from the world in her apartment in an Angola poised on the brink of independence. When an African village experiences attacks by lions, many of the victims are women. Under the Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta (Nigerian-American) Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt & Granta Books. Norton. José Eduardo Agualusa, author of A General Theory of Oblivion. Angolan José Eduardo Agualusa’s beautiful tale, A General Theory of Oblivion, translated from the Portuguese by Daniel Hahn, was shortlisted for last year’s Man Booker International prize.