Thursday, March 20, 2014

About Those Longlists

Whew!  I've just finished two of the books from the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize.  Two very bleak and dark tales.   

Back to Back by Julia Franck and translated from the German by Anthea Bell (Harvill Secker) and  The Dark Road by Ma Jian and translated from the Chinese by Flora Drew (Chatto & Windus).

I'm too spent to make comment about either one, except to say that of the two I thought The Dark Road was more well written.  

It didn't help that I was also finishing Uprising: A New Age is Dawning for Every Mother's Daughter by Sally Armstrong. This is a discussion of the progress on women's rights around the world.  Another difficult read.

These were such heavy narratives  that it was a relief to take breaks and read the pretty much plot-less  A Man in Love by Karl Ove Knausgaard and translated from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett (Harvill Secker).  This  one is on both the IFFP list and the BTBA list.  I'm taking it in small doses and probably won't finish it before the library reclaims it.  Knausgaard tells me more than I ever wanted to know about one man.  I find him much more interesting when he writes about literary topics than when he writes about himself and his rather mundane day-to-day activities.

I've made no progress on the Baileys Women's Prize longlist.  Right now I want something light and fluffy.

1 comment:

  1. I agree with you that The Dark Road was more well written. While both were horrific, yet enlightening in terms of the experience of others', I felt I learned more from Ma Jian's novel. That at least justified some of the bleakness.
    Of course, I never do well with suicide no matter what form it comes in; both Meili and the brother broke my heart with their hopelessness.