International Booker Prize 2022 shortlist: first Hindi novel makes the cut

The finalists are translated novels from six countries including South Korea

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Geetanjali Shree's Tomb of Sand is the first Hindi-language novel shortlisted for the International Booker Prize.

The 2018 novel, translated into English by Daisy Rockwell, is one of six finalists that include translated works from South Korea, Japan, Norway, Spain and Poland.

The prestigious literary competition is an accompaniment to the Booker Prize and is awarded annually to a single book that is translated into English and published in the UK or Ireland.

In addition to worldwide attention for the celebrated work, the author and translator of the International Booker Prize-winning novel will share a cash prize of £50,000 ($65,272).

The announcement was made on Thursday at The London Book Fair and this year’s competition achieved another first by appointing Irish translator Frank Wynne to chair the jury.

“It is impossible to overstate the importance of translation. It is a practice and art that predates all living languages,” Wynne said.

“It is the way that people have communicated and told stories since the dawn of time.”

Wynne said the six shortlisted novels were chosen from 135 submissions, 13 of which made it to the longlist in March.

"During which time we had the pleasure of reading many extraordinary books, choosing a shortlist from among them was both difficult and sometimes a little heartbreaking," he said.

"The six titles from six languages explore the borders and boundaries of human experience, whether haunting and surreal, poignant and tender or exuberant and capricious in their differences, they all offer glimpses of literature from around the world, but all share a fierce and breathtaking originality that is a testament to the endless inventiveness of fiction.”

Six shortlisted novels for the International Booker Prize 2022:

1. ‘Tomb of Sand’

Written by Geetanjali Shree and translated by Daisy Rockwell

'Tomb of Sand' by Geetanjali Shree has made the International Booker Prize 2022 shortlist

Originally published as Ret Samadhi in 2018, the novel tells the story of an Indian woman who, at the age of 80, slips into depression after her husband’s death and travels to Pakistan to confront, as the book’s blurb describes, “the unresolved trauma of her teenage experiences of Partition, and re-evaluating what it means to be a mother, a daughter, a woman, a feminist".

2. ‘Heaven’

Written by Mieko Kawakami, translated by Samuel Bett and David Boyd

Told through the eyes of a boy aged 14 who's relentlessly bullied, the stark and haunting Japanese novel questions modern day notions of masculinity and the fate of the meek in societies that champion the strong.

3. ‘Elena Knows’

Written by Claudia Pineiro and translated by Frances Riddle

A soulful Spanish crime-fiction novel beginning with a suspicious death at a church. Not satisfied by how the investigation is conducted, the victim's mother takes matters into her own hands and her inquiries reveal heartbreaking secrets.

4. ‘A New Name: Septology VI-VII’

Written by Jon Fosse and translated by Damion Searls

Written in a prose described as "incantatory, hypnotic and utterly unique", the Norwegian novel is the final instalment of Fosse's Septology series.

The mind-bending plot explores the relationship between Asle and Asleik, a pair of doppelgangers living in the city and the coast. The novel grapples with existential questions relating to life, authenticity and identity.

5. ‘The Books of Jacob’

Written by Olga Tokarczuk and translated by Jennifer Croft

Set in mid-18th-century Europe, the novel follows the colourful life of Jacob Frank, a Mr Ripley-esque character who travels across the continent taking on different guises, spiritual beliefs and personalities, much to the chagrin of the authorities who view him as a heretic.

6. ‘Cursed Bunny’

Written by Bora Chung and translated by Anton Hur

A South Korean collection of genre-bending short stories with elements of soft surrealism, science fiction and horror. Bringing those strands together is Chung's overarching theme of how patriarchy and capitalism corrupt modern society.

More information on the International Booker Prize is available at www.thebookerprizes.com

Updated: April 07, 2022, 1:14 PM