Friday, May 27, 2011

Big Book 2011 Shortlist

I’m a couple days late in writing about the Big Book Award shortlisters but think I have a good excuse: the list was announced on Wednesday, and my day ended with an event that included a reading from Ol’ga Slavnikova’s Лёгкая голова (Lightheaded), one of the 10 finalists.

I’m still feeling rather lightheaded myself after days of meetings and events, then a trip home that took many times longer than it should have, so I’ll just list the basics for now. Here’s the shortlist in Russian alphabetical order:

  • Iurii Arabov: Орлеан (Orleans) (read part 1) (read part 2)
  • Iurii Buida: Синяя кровь (Blue Blood)
  • Dmitrii Bykov: Остромов, или Ученик чародея (Ostromov, or the Sorcerer’s Apprentice)
  • Dmitrii Danilov: Горизонтальное положение (Horizontal Position)
  • Sergei Kuznetsov: Хоровод воды (Water’s Round Dance or maybe The Round Dance of Water)
  • Ol’ga Slavnikova: Лёгкая голова (Lightheaded or A Light Head) (read part 1) (read part 2) (previous post) Also: I asked Slavnikova how much the journal version of the novel varies from the print version, and she said, essentially, that it’s shorter but covers the same material. She made the cuts herself.
  • Aleksei Slapovskii: Большая книга перемен (The Big Book of Changes) (read part 1) (read part 2)
  • Sergei Soloukh: Игра в ящик (The Box Game…the boxes are evidently coffins)
  • Vladmir Sorokin: Метель (The Blizzard) (previous post)
  • Mikhail Shishkin: Письмовник (Letter-Book) (read part 1) (read part 2) (previous post)

Here’s the list, with publishers noted, on the Big Book site. Winners will be announced in November. I’ll leave analysis of age and previous prizes to the Russian blogger known as заметилпросто. Among the observations: there are no young writers (though three are in their 40s, hmm), no nonfiction made the list, and Bykov has already won the Big Book. And Arabov has won an award for screenwriting – at Cannes, no less – but never for a book.

Update: All the books are available online, in Bookmate for four platforms, on IMHOnet in coordination with Big Book.

Up Next: A bit of news from this week’s BookExpo America then Vsevolod Benigsen’s ГенАцид (GenAcide).


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