Saturday, April 16, 2022

National Bestseller Award Ends 2022 Season With Sort of a Shortlist

In an unusual but – considering the times – unsurprising turn of events, the National Bestseller Award announced a six-book shortlist on April 11, adding that no prize will be awarded this year. Vladislav Tolstov’s commentary on the shortlist (which he says, in my paraphrase, is not so much a shortlist as final ratings of books that attracted jurors’ attention) ends with uncertainty about the future of NatsBest.

Have written (and attempted to digest) that, I think I’ll just stick to what we know, which is that the six books I’ll list below tallied the most points when NatsBest’s “big jury” voted. I’ll also remind readers that the NatsBest site archives jury members’ reviews.

Here’s the not-a-shortlist for 2022:

  • Kirill Ryabov’s Фашисты (Fascists) is a collection of short stories. (7 points) 
  • Sofia Sinitskaya’s Хроника Горбатого (The Hunchback’s Chronicle?) sounds like it combines history and fiction; it’s apparently set in Vyborg, a place I’ve ridden through on trains once or twice. (7 points)
  • Islam Khanipaev’s Типа я (The first-person narrator constantly uses “типа,” which is like “like,” so maybe Like, Me or something similar, though this title makes my head ache!) is the diary of an eight-year-old boy trying to figure out the world. It was a NOS(E) Award shortlister last season. (7 points)
  • Pavel Basinsky’s Подлинная история Анны Карениной (The Real Story of Anna Karenina) is apparently just what it purports to be. (6 points)
  • Yulia Kisina’s Бубуш (Bubush) is an abstract, metaphysical sort of book… (6 points)
  • Sergei Avilov’s Капибару любят все (Everybody Loves a/the Capybara, I guess?) involves a forty-year old man who goes to the Barents Sea with a woman. It sounds like there may not be any capybaras in the book. No wonder it totaled… (5 points) rather than 50!


Up Next: Well, yes, I think I’m back, at least sort of. I have been reading, albeit not at my usual pace and generally preferring novels that are heavy on plot since this year’s been a tough one from the very first week and never quite seems to get much easier. In any case, I do hope to at least write a roundup post soon! 

Disclosures and Disclaimers: The usual. And knowing a few people involved with some of these books.