Tuesday, April 01, 2008

A cure for literary sickness

Some welcome book news today. The four judges of the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize have made a surprise move by adding a title to the shortlist announced in February. Boyd Tonkin, literary editor of the Independent, announced that he and his colleagues - Kate Griffin of Arts Council England, novelist and University of Kent professor Abdulrazak Gurnah and Le Monde's literary editor Florence Noiville - were now including Enrique Vila-Matas' Montano's Malady because, on reflection, they realised that the award, and each one of them, would lose all credibility and respect had it failed to include this unusually sweet, funny and profound novel beside their more serious literary choices. Read more about the judges' penitence here.


  1. Anonymous3:05 pm

    Good news. I read and enjoyed Bartleby & Co but haven't got Montano's Malady yet. Will correct soon.

  2. Anonymous3:06 pm

    Oh. Er. Ahum. (blush smilie)

    My excuse is that I read this after midday when strictly speaking, all such japes are invalid!

  3. Anonymous5:10 pm

    Aha, my favorite book!

  4. An interesting alternative shortlist might be the one consisting of Those That Aren't There Because They Haven't Been Translated. Lists like the Independent's (which is a great thing) are dependent on the accident of what gets translated and it would be fascinating to hear from readers or critics in half a dozen major European languages of what they thought were the key books of the year. Contemporary French writing, for example, seems to be very weirdly represented in English translation just now.

  5. Scribbling that too quickly between two long train journeys I missed the joke but, joking apart, what I said I think still holds. (Sometimes life is too short to click on all links).



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