Man Booker International 2017 Winner:
A Horse Walks into a Bar by David Grossman


Man Booker Internation Winner - Book Feature

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It’s our absolute pleasure to confirm David Grossman's A Horse Walks into a Bar as the winner of the Man Booker International Prize 2017. 

Another robust winner in the shape of David Grossman’s A Horse Walks into a Bar. As with 2016’s victor The Vegetarian, for the second year running the Prize equally recognises both author and translator, with Grossman and Jessica Cohen – who so expertly provided the translation – awarded £25,000 apiece.

 

"This isn’t just a book about Israel...it’s about people and societies horribly malfunctioning. Sometimes we can only apprehend these truths through story – and Grossman, like Dovaleh, has become a master of the truth-telling tale.’ "

The Guardian

 

Grossman - author, librettist, left-wing firebrand – here alights on the figure of a burning, raging, stand-up comic in crisis and spins a novel of extraordinary compassion and understanding. Over the course of his two-hour set, the comic – named Dovaleh G – gradually unspools, releasing demon after demon in what is almost a savage pantomime of humour; Grossman effortlessly embellishes his descent.

 

"David Grossman has attempted an ambitious high-wire act of a novel, and he’s pulled it off spectacularly... A Horse Walks into a Bar shines a spotlight on the effects of grief, without any hint of sentimentality. The central character is challenging and flawed, but completely compelling. We were bowled over by Grossman’s willingness to take emotional as well as stylistic risks: every sentence counts, every word matters in this supreme example of the writer’s craft."

Nick Barley - Chair of Judges

The 2017 Shortlist

2017’s five-strong panel  brings us a new bounty to explore, taking us from sleepless nights in Vienna to a divided Jerusalem of 1959.

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Two years ago, Mathias Enard’s Compass clinched the Prix Goncourt, France’s most prestigious literary award, another triumph for an author already well-regarded for his sheer technical virtuosity.

Here, across almost 500 pages, the reader is presented with a vast, discursive meditation on the very nature of Orientalism, as explored by the night-time thoughts of Austrian musicologist Franz Ritter.

His failure to sleep is our gain, with Enard conjuring a world still under the heady yet unconscious rhythms of the east, laying bare our fundamental cultural debt.

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‘This isn’t just a book about Israel,’ ran the Guardian, ‘it’s about people and societies horribly malfunctioning. Sometimes we can only apprehend these truths through story – and Grossman, like Dovaleh, has become a master of the truth-telling tale.’

In A Horse Walks into a Bar David Grossman - author, librettist, left-wing firebrand – here alights on the figure of a burning, raging, stand-up comic in crisis and spins a novel of extraordinary compassion and understanding.

Over the course of his two-hour set, the comic - Dovaleh G – gradually unspools, releasing demon after demon in what is almost a savage pantomime of humour; Grossman effortlessly embellishes his descent.

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As the novel De Usynlige in his native Norway, Roy Jacobsen’s The Unseen absolutely dominated their bestsellers in 2013.

Fate and the immutability of change nips at the heels of young Ingrid, a girl born into an impossibly tough, Norwegian island community of the early 20th century. Despite decades of tradition on an island that bears her family’s name, Ingrid is forced by circumstance to take on a very different life, only to be ultimately drawn back to its challenges when that same community is placed at palpable risk.

‘Yes, there is a terrific story but it is the writing that will cause most readers to read this book at one sitting… Ordinary human tragedy frequently intervenes in The Unseen. Life is relentless, as are the seasons.’ – The Irish Times

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As the novel De Usynlige in his native Norway, Roy Jacobsen’s The Unseen absolutely dominated their bestsellers in 2013.

Fate and the immutability of change nips at the heels of young Ingrid, a girl born into an impossibly tough, Norwegian island community of the early 20th century. Despite decades of tradition on an island that bears her family’s name, Ingrid is forced by circumstance to take on a very different life, only to be ultimately drawn back to its challenges when that same community is placed at palpable risk.

‘Yes, there is a terrific story but it is the writing that will cause most readers to read this book at one sitting… Ordinary human tragedy frequently intervenes in The Unseen. Life is relentless, as are the seasons.’ – The Irish Times

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Amoz Oz’s superb work of semi-autobiography A Tale of Love and Darkness established him as probably Israel’s most pre-eminent writer, an author who also ran as a Prize finalist in 2007.

Judas introduces us to the life the idealistic young student Shmuel, whose job as a live-in companion to the elderly Gershom opens a door to strange new possibilities, love and a radically revisionist take on the biblical Judas which contains echoes of Oz’s own political stance on the division of Israel.

‘Plotless novels about lost young men represent a tedious subgenre of contemporary literature,’ noted The Washington Post, ‘but, naturally, Oz rises above that by rendering his hapless hero so comically sympathetic.’

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‘In this dark, brilliantly controlled debut, the Argentinian Samanta Schweblin uses the fabric of a dream to weave a novel in which everything is at stake and at risk: identity, love and existence.’

So said The Spectator of Samanta Schweblin’s Fever Dream, the first novel from this Argentinian novelist so previously regarded for her short stories.

A young woman, Amanda, lies seemingly dying in a remote hospital clinic. Holding vigil is David, a boy whose relationship with Amanda is occluded by his endlessly probing questions.

It’s an insistent interrogation that, moment by moment, splits ever more widely open the trauma that brought Amanda to this place, and the revelations of her own past.

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The 2017 Longlist

Swallowing Mercury
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War and Turpentine
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Fish Have No Feet
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The Explosion Chronicles
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Black Moses
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Bricks and Mortar
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Mirror, Shoulder, Signal
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Fever Dream
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A Horse Walks into a Bar
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Judas
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The Unseen
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Compass
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The Traitor's Niche
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Previous Winners

Flights
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A Horse Walks into a Bar
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The Vegetarian
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A Girl in Exile
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Three Elegies For Kosovo
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Things Fall Apart
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Arrow of God
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Runaway
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Too Much Happiness
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American Pastoral
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The Plot Against America
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The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis
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The End of the Story
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The Melancholy of Resistance
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Satantango
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