Ten shortlisted for IMPAC literary award


AT FIRST glance Jon McGregor and Willy Vlautin stand out from the 10 shortlisted for this year’s International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award that was announced yesterday.

British writer McGregor has been shortlisted for his magnificent third novel Even The Dogs, which traces the paths of several marginalised characters and how they arrived at their respective hells.  Another deserved contender is the US writer/musician Vlautin’s coming- of- age- narrative in which Charley Thompson looks for love and finds it in the form of an exploited race horse.

By far the most important book may well be Karl Marlantes’s debut Matterhorn, based on his experiences in the Vietnam War. In 2009 another US writer, Denis Johnson was shortlisted for Tree of Smoke, an impressionistic, elliptic war novel: Matterhorn is far more direct.

The success of the most overrated US novel of recent years, Jennifer Egan’s A Visit from the Goon Squad continues to bewilder.

Australian Jon Bauer sets out to shock with Rocks in the Belly. Previously IMPAC nominated British-born African writer Aminatta Forna has been celebrated for her second novel The Memory of Love, set largely in Sierra Leone.*

The presence of Israeli writer, Yishai Sarid’s competent thriller, Limassol, translated from the Hebrew, is a surprise particularly in the absence of his countryman David Grossman’s To the End of the Land. The Brazilian Cristovao Tezza’s The Eternal Son, the shortlist’s only other title in translation, is an unconvincing autobiographical novel based on his experiences following the birth of his special needs son.

* This article was amended on 12/04/12 to correct a factual error.