Rocks in the Belly by Jon Bauer
Nominated by: The State Library of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia
Publishers of Nominated Editions: Scribe Publications, Australia Published in the UK by Serpent’s Tail
Rocks in the Belly is an impressive debut novel written in two voices of the same first person-narrator, the voice of a traumatized child and the voice of an equally traumatized adult. Jon Bauer’s is an exceptional and dangerous literary voice, which bravely deconstructs the theme of love between a child and a parent. Bauer does it in his unique way, mixing brutality and tenderness, toughness and vulnerability.
The Matter with Morris by David Bergen
Nominated by: Newfoundland & Labrador Public Libraries, Gander, Canada
Publisher of Nominated Edition: HarperCollins, Canada
How can one possibly react to meaningless catastrophe? When his son is killed by friendly fire in Iraq, a savvy Canadian columnist is plunged into an existential crisis that has him leaving home and job, beginning the most inappropriate romantic relationships and writing threatening lessons to politicians. The novel captures a sense of complete impotence before life’s casual cruelties.
A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
Nominated by: Bibliotheek Rotterdam, The Netherlands Boston Public Libary, USA Hartford Public Library, USA Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, USA Kansas City Public Library, USA
Publisher of Nominated Edition: Alfred A. Knopf, USA
With outstanding freshness of style this author makes it new. We are constantly surprised by how Jennifer Egan, jumping back and forth in time, makes her sentences burst with life. It is a rare performance where inventiveness in language comes with a true gift for the telling of a story.
The Memory of Love by Aminatta Forna
Nominated by: Auckland Libraries & Information, New Zealand
Publisher of Nominated Edition: Bloomsbury Publishing, UK
A truly rich novel about the post-war society of Sierra Leone that has to deal with the aftermath of a cruel civil war. We get psychological insights into the difficult process of having to reconcile with enemies, what it means to have failed by looking the other way. The Memory of Love is beautifully written, full of dramatic scenes and personal dramas.
Even the Dogs by Jon McGregor
Nominated by: M.I. Rudomino State Library for Foreign Literature, Moscow, Russia
Publisher of Nominated Edition: Bloomsbury Publishing, UK
Even the Dogs is a fearless experiment which shows us in close-up detail the lives of a gathering of homeless addicts as they go about their daily forage for shelter, drink or a fix. In a masterpiece of narrative technique the viewpoint shifts and morphs through the lives of a handful of derelicts who stumble and fall, stumble and fall as they seek to redeem themselves from addiction, homelessness and those impulses which too often rise up within them and defeat their best interests…….
Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes
Nominated by: Regional Library of Karviná, Karviná-Mizerov, Czech Republic Bibliotheek Rotterdam, The Netherlands Cork City Libraries, Ireland Houston Public Library, USA Laramie County Library System, Cheyenne, USA Lincoln Library, Springfield, USA Seattle Public Library, USA
Publisher of Nominated Edition: Atlantic Monthly Press, USA
Matterhorn is a gripping account of the horrors of the Vietnam War, with vivid images of the cruelties humans are capable of inflicting on their fellowmen when they are stripped of civilization’s restraints. Told from the point of view of Mellas, a young lieutenant, the novel spares no detail to give us graphic descriptions of guerrilla warfare, with all the stench, filth, and claustrophobia of the jungle, and the blood and gore of men dying under horrific circumstances. There are scenes of heroism and courage, though these are sometimes tainted by the racial tensions among the black and white soldiers. Authentic and realistic, Matterhorn is a cautionary tale about the tragic consequences of war.
Landed by Tim Pears
Nominated by: Tweebronnen Openbare Bibliotheek, Leuven, Belgium
Publisher of Nominated Edition: William Heinemann, UK
Pears’ remarkable evocation of the English landscape and his convincing understanding of the role it plays in the formation and dreams of his luckless central character, make Landed a remarkable and unusual read. Again and again one finds oneself rereading paragraphs of description and observation that offer a melancholy consolation for the bleak story here told.
Limassol by Yishai Sarid
Translated from the original Hebrew by Barbara Harshav
Nominated by: Stadtbibliothek Bremen, Germany
Publisher of Nominated Edition: Europa Editions, USA
Announced by its American publisher as “espionage in the tradition of John le Carre” Limassol by Yishai Sarid might slip into a wrong category and become invisible for readers who are not into a spy novels. Limassol is a remarkable short novel, with gripping plot and unusual characters. It is an intelligent and, above all, humane story about the people who live and grow in politically difficult circumstances.
The Eternal Son by Cristovão Tezza
Translated from the original Portuguese by Alison Entrekin
Nominated by: Biblioteca Demonstrativa de Brasília BDB, Brazil Biblioteca Municipal Central de Lisboa, Portugal
Publisher of Nominated Edition: Scribe Publications, Australia
A young, self-important, Brazilian intellectual is catapulted out of complacency by the birth of a son with Down’s syndrome. Ostensibly the story of a man coming to terms with a harsh reality, The Eternal Son is also a profound examination of the nature of identity and selfhood and a courageous acknowledgement of the limits of the intellectual and literary life.
Lean on Pete by Willy Vlautin
Nominated by: Bibliotheek Rotterdam, The Netherlands Waterford County Library, Ireland
Publisher of Nominated Edition: Faber & Faber, UK
In his third novel Willy Vlautin gives us a Huck Finn for the 21st century. In the character of fifteen-year-old Charley Thompson, we embark on an odyssey around the margins of the American Dream in an open hearted search for family and security. Through deserts, towns, highways and racetracks we fall into step beside Charley and Pete; we run, steal and sleep under the stars with him and his joys and disappointments become our own. In a novel which is unashamed of its own feelings Vlautin steers a true line of genuine compassion for a character whose search echoes the world’s deepest yearnings. The reader walks away from the book with the certainty that he has encountered one of those rare characters in literature whom he will remember with gratitude.