I made a snap decision today: I’ve decided to follow the Man Booker International Prize. I came to my decision, oh, about a half hour before the longlist was announced this morning. In my excitement, I filmed two videos before work: one about why I’m following the prize, and one reacting to the longlist. Scroll down to watch, if you wish.
Since my early morning burst of activity, though, I’ve learned some harsh lessons about following a UK prize from overseas: you can’t get the books.
Well, you *can*. And I knew it would be a pain – this isn’t my first rodeo (or my first Booker). But the combination of UK publication dates, translations, and this particular longlist’s preponderance of small press books makes the 2018 MBIP a real challenge. So, I did some research.
For each longlisted book, I’ve found your best bet for getting a hold of it, in Canada, before the shortlist is announced in April. I’ve noted which are available at my library; obviously your mileage will vary. Ebook and paper prices are from Amazon (more likely than Kobo to have an ebook available ahead of print pub date, and print prices are generally the same at Chapters and elsewhere). When Amazon doesn’t pan out, I look at publisher websites, and if all else fails, Book Depository (they are terrible with delivery times).
And please, if you can help with the ones that stumped me, get in touch!
- The 7th Function of Language by Laurent Binet, tr. Sam Taylor: Library. If not at yours, ebook is available for $14.99.
- The Imposter by Jarvier Cercas, tr. Frank Wynne: You can pre-order it, but it isn’t out till August 28. $22 at Book Depository.
- Vernon Subutex by Virginie Despentes, tr. Frank Wynne: This is a tricky one: plenty of French versions floating around. Some third party vendor on Amazon has it for $12.48, but the delivery time is into April, which makes me nervous. Book Depository has it for $13, released March 22.
- Go, Went, Gone by Jenny Erpenbeck, tr. Susan Bernofsy: Library, but a long hold list. $10.22 on Kindle, which is just over my ebook threshold.
- The White Book by Han Kang, tr. Deborah Smith: Library. $9.99 ebook if that fails.
- Die, My Love by Ariana Harwicz, tr. Sarah Moses & Carolina Orloff: $8.73 ebook is your best bet.
- The Word Goes On by László Krasznahorkai, tr. John Batki, Ottilie Mulzet & George Szirtes: Library. $16.05 for an ebook? Get outta here, László!
- Like a Fading Shadow by Antonio Muñoz Molina, tr. Camilo A. Ramirez: $14.99 ebook is a bit steep, and the hardcover isn’t out till July.
- The Flying Mountain by Christopher Ransmayr, tr. Simon Pare: All I can find is a $35.30 hardcover that comes out in April. Nothing at Book Depository, even!
- Frankenstein in Baghdad by Ahmed Saadaui, tr. Jonathan Wright: Library. Ebook ($13.99) and paper ($19.04) available too.
- Flights by Olga Tokarczuk, tr. Jennifer Croft: Can’t order it here till August, so I ordered it from the publisher for £12.99 + £4 shipping. If I pretend those are dollars, it’s not so bad.
- The Stolen Bicycle by Wu Ming-Yi, tr. Darryl Sterk: $9.99 ebook? Sold.
- The Dinner Guest by Gabriela Ybanna, tr. Natasha Wimmer: $12.99 ebook or $31.99 paper – widely available but a bit over my limit.
There’s only one Canadian connection on the longlist this year – the translator of The Stolen Bicycle, Darryl Sterk, was born in Edmonton. So, that seemed a good place to start for me. How about you? Will you read anything from the longlist?
My videos from early this morning: