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    The shortlist for the 2024 International Booker Prize has landed.

    Brittany Allen

    April 9, 2024, 11:15am

    This morning, the International Booker Prize dropped its shortlist, and this year’s panel has nominated a pleasing panoply of novels from six different countries. There are debuts beside books from feted laureates. And these novels vary widely across style, too—the committee has recognized family epics, romantic tragedies, and diaristic tailspins. If there is a running motif in this crop of radical, formally varied books, it may be a sense of the personal occurring within the political. Many of these novels stage an intimate relationship against seismic events in world history. 

    Now, without further ado, the shortlist…

    Not a River, by Selva Almada, translated from the Spanish by Annie McDermott
    (Charco Press, Graywolf Press) 

    Almada’s compelling style is here applied to a “singular vision of rural Argentina,” in this novel about three men on a fraught fishing trip. Praised for its depth and gut-punching prose, you can find an excerpt here.

    Mater 2-10, by Hwang Sok-yong, translated from the Korean by Sora Kim-Russell, Youngjae Josephine Bae

    This multi-generational epic following a family of railway workers comes to us from one of South Korea’s most celebrated novelists. Charting Korea’s history over a century, this meaty, politically-inflected saga draws on the author’s personal experience “in labour and pro-democracy movements.”

    Kairos, by Jenny Erpenbeck, translated from the German by Michael Hofmann
    (New Directions) 

    This luminous novel tracing the end of a doomed love affair is set in East Berlin, in the 1980s. Erpenbeck is already a well-established chronicler of this tumultuous place-in-time. Find the author in her own words here.

    The Details, by Ia Genberg, translated from the the Swedish by Kira Josefsson
    (Wildfire Books) 

    Witty and lively, this unusual assemblage has been called a fever dream in the most literal sense. Narrated by a woman trapped in bed with, yes, a high fever, you can find an excerpt of this audacious and hard-to-classify book right here on Lit Hub.

    Crooked Plow, by Itamar Viera Junior, translated from the Portugese by Johnny Lorenz
    (Verso Fiction) 

    This “evocative journey into the heart of Brazil’s quilombos,” follows two sisters in and out of a pivotal incident. Praised for its nuanced portrait of a family in crisis, this one is supposed to haunt and stick.

    What I’d Rather Not Think About, by Jente Posthuma, translated from the Dutch by Sarah Timmer Harvey
    (Scribe UK) 

    This second novel examines both deep grief and identity via a set of twins, one of whom dies by suicide. Yet critics praise its absurd and “at times startling funny” navigation of difficult material.


    Eleanor Wachtel, author and internationally celebrated interviewer, is the chair of judges for this year’s award. She’s joined on the committee by poet Natalie Diaz, authors Romesh Gunesekera and Aaron Robertson, and the multi-media South African artist, William Kentridge.

    The ceremony will take place on May 21, at the Tate Modern in London.

    [via The Booker Prizes]

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