Friday, May 15, 2009

Winner of the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize

As reported in the Guardian and elsewhere, the Arts Council England has announced the winner of the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize: The Armies by Evelio Rosero, translated by Anne McLean from the Spanish. Rosero is the first Colombian author to win the prize, and the judges described The Armies as "a beautifully wrought, gently spoken novel of love, war and grief." This year's prize is the second win for McLean, who first won in 2004 for her translation of Soldiers of Salamis by Javier Cercas.

The Armies is not yet available in the U.S. but will be published by New Directions in September. Thanks to Three Percent for digging up this description of the book:
In the village of San José in the remote mountains of Colombia, retired teacher Ismael spends his days gathering oranges in the sunshine and spying on his neighbour as she sunbathes naked in her orchard. It is a languid existence, pierced by his wife’s scolding, which induces in him the furtive guilt of an aging voyeur. Out walking one day, Ismael and his wife lose sight of each other. The old man is fearful, for San José has random kidnappings in its past, but reassured by others who have seen her in the village. Soon, though, more people begin to go missing, and gradually bursts of gunfire can be heard in the distance. As the attacks grow steadily more brutal, Ismael finds himself caught in the crossfire; an old man battered by a reality he no longer understands. This is a novel with no easy solutions, in which no-one is spared, no-one is protected.
The £10,000 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize (£5,000 for the author and £5,000 for the translator) celebrates a work of fiction by a living author, which has been translated into English and published in the UK in the last year.

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