Book review: The Shape of the Ruins

The Shape of the Ruins

The Shape of the Ruins
by Juan Gabriel Vásquez
Translated by
Anne McLean
Riverhead Books

9/25/2018
Originally published as La forma de las ruinas
in 2015
Genre: Literary fiction/Historical fiction
528 pages

Goodreads

This Man Booker International 2019 longlist has definitely an issue with genre. I already presented a novel that was supposed to be a historical novel but was not; an autobiography included as a novel, though it was not a novel and even received a nonfiction award last year; and today I’m presenting The Shape of the Ruins, a novel that actually offers a sweeping modern history of the Republic of Colombia, with the author himself deeply inserted within the narrative.

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Book review: The Years

The Years

The Years
by Annie Ernaux
Translated by
Alison L. Strayer
Seven Stories Press

11/21/2017
Originally published as Les années
in 2008!
Genre: Nonfiction. Autobiography
237 pages

Goodreads

I already mentioned that The Man Booker International 2019 Shadow Panel made me discover a French author unknown to me. I’m very happy to present another one today. I had heard about Annie Ernaux, but had never read The Years, nor anything by her. It’s sad that in all my studies in France, I was not exposed to contemporary authors like her (she was born in 1940), even though she won a lot of literary awards.
And this is so good! Hang on, this is going to be a long review, but hopefully, you will jump on the book right after reading my prose!

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Book review: The Pine Islands

The Pine Islands

The Pine Islands
by Marion Poschmann
Translated by
Jen Calleja
Serpent’s Tail

3/21/2019
Originally published as Die Kieferninseln
in 2017
Genre: Literary fiction
192 pages

Goodreads

The Man Booker International 2019 longlist does not feature any book translated from the Japanese this year, which some members of our shadow panel found odd and disappointing. But The Pine Islands, even though it was originally written in German, is actually set in Japan! Really? That was my first reaction, but nice surprises were in store for me.

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