Nominated by:

Galway County Library, Ireland

Biblioteca Daniel Cosío Villegas El Colegio de México

Publisher of nominated edition:

Pushkin Press, UK

Farrar, Straus & Giroux, USA

Traveller of the Century

Andrés Neuman      

Translated from the original Spanish by Nick Caistor and Lorenza Garcia

2014 Shortlist

Judges’ Comments

Rather like the traveller of its title, Andres Neuman’s sprawling novel takes us on a furious journey to strange, fascinating places, as if determined to chart unknown novelistic territory. Nineteenth century Prussia and Saxony are the novel’s setting, but they are merely a backdrop to the intense discussions on art, politics, language, culture and sex that occupy the foreground and infuse the novel with a thoroughly modern aesthetic. A novel of ideas that is also a love story, sprinkled with elements of a thriller, Traveller of the Century teases the contemporary novel into a new, exciting form.

About the Book

A novel of philosophy and love, politics and waltzes, history and the here-and-now, Andrés Neuman’s Traveller of the Century is a journey into the soul of Europe, penned by one of the most exciting South-American writers of our time.

A traveller stops off for the night in the mysterious city of Wandernburg. He intends to leave the following day, but the city begins to ensnare him with its strange, shifting geography.

When Hans befriends an old organ grinder, and falls in love with Sophie, the daughter of a local merchant, he finds it impossible to leave. Through a series of memorable encounters with starkly different characters, Neuman takes the reader on a hypothetical journey back into post-Napoleonic Europe, subtly evoking its parallels with our modern era.

At the heart of the novel lies the love story between Sophie and Hans. They are both translators, and between dictionaries and bed, bed and dictionaries, they gradually build up their own fragile common language. Through their relationship, Neuman explores the idea that all love is an act of translation, and that all translation is an act of love.

(From Publisher)

About the Author

Andrés Neuman was born in 1977 in Buenos Aires and now lives in Granada, Spain. He was selected one of Granta’s Best Young Spanish-Language Novelists, and included in Hay’s Bogotá 39 list. He has published numerous novels, short stories, essays and poetry collections. Traveller of the Century won the 2009 Alfaguara Prize and the National Critics Prize.

Librarian’s Comments

Andrés Neuman has had his work translated into English, French and Polish. He was awarded the Qwerty Prize for best book of fiction in the Spanish language and the Foundation Books & Letters Award for best book of fiction. He also received the 2011 Alfaguara Award, the Roger Caillois prize in 2012 and was a finalist for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize in the UK.

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