Sunday, September 10, 2017

The 2017 Russian Booker Prize Longlist

I was planning to blog today about Vladimir Medvedev’s Заххок (Zahhak), which is very good… but then the Booker longlist popped up last week. The Yasnaya Polyana shortlist will be on the way soon, too, so award season is definitely upon us.

And so. Here are some of the nineteen books that hit the 2017 Booker longlist. The shortlist will be announced on October 26 and the award ceremony is scheduled for December 5.

First off, here are books that have already won or been shortlisted (Big Book shortlist) (National Bestseller shorlist) for other large awards that I track. A reminder: you can read Big Book finalists (other than the Pelevin novel) for free on Bookmate.
  • Mikhail Gigolashvili’s Тайный год (The Mysterious Year). Won the Russian Prize; Big Book shortlist.
  • Anna Kozlova’s F20. Won the NatsBest.
  • Igor Malyshev’s Номах (Nomakh). Big Book shortlist.
  • Andrei Rubanov’s Патриот (The Patriot). Big Book and NatsBest shortlists.
  • Aleksei Slapovsky’s Неизвестность (Uncertainty). Big Book shortlist (previous post).
A few other books are already on my shelves:
  • Andrei Volos’s Должник (a chapter from it) (The Debtor). Book three of a tetralogy. I read the very beginning of this novel about a man who’s drafted and sent to Afghanistan. It looks promising.
  • Vladimir Medvedev’s afore-mentioned Заххок (part one) (part two) (Zahhak). An excellent, harrowing (how often do I get to say that?) polyphonic novel about Tajikistan in the early 1990s.
  • Aleksandr Melikhov’s Свидание с Квазимодо (A Meeting [not sure what kind] with Quasimodo) is about a criminal psychologist.
  • Dmitrii Novikov’s Голомяное пламя (hmm, the first word is an adjectival form of “голомя,” a Pomor word that means open sea or distant sea… so maybe something like Flame Out at Sea or Flame Over the Open Sea…). This book has hit about a million longlists but hasn’t made any of the major award shortlists yet. About the Russian North.
There are several books by authors I’ve read before – Irina Bogatyreva, Sasha Filipenko, and Elena Chizhova – and several others I’m interested in but since learning about new writers from longlists has become something of a hobby, I’ll mention three books by authors I’d never heard of. Based on brief looks, none of these are calling out to me. Then again, several books that became big favorites had the same initial (lack of) effect on me.
  • Kalle Kasper’s Чудо: Роман с медициной (The Miracle: A Novel with Medicine).
  • Vladimir Lidskii’s Сказки нашей крови (literally Tales of Our Blood). About/related to the 1917 revolution. (Oops, this one turns out to be a cheat! I wondered if something sounded familiar here and saw that the book was already a runner-up for the Russia Prize.)
  • Aleksandra Nikolaenko’s Убить Боборыкина. История одного убийства (Killing Boborykin. The Story of One Murder). (Also a bit of a cheat: I forgot this title was on the NatsBest longlist, too. I guess there really is nothing new under the sun.)
Up Next: Medvedev’s Zahhak. Shamil Idiatullin’s Brezhnev City, which got off to a slow start for me… but reads very differently now that I’m reading it as a novel-in-stories. And the Yasnaya Polyana Award shortlist, which I’m looking forward to very much.

Disclaimers: The usual. I’m translating excerpts from Zahhak. (How could I turn down polyphony!?)

0 comments:

Post a Comment