Reader Zone: Reviews and Award Winners
Juan Gabriel Vásquez wins the 2014 Impac Award for The Sound of Things Falling
The shortlist of ten novels, as chosen by an international panel of judges included novels from five continents. Juan Gabriel Vásquez is the first South American author to win the prize in its 19 year history.
Commenting on his win, Juan Gabriel Vásquez said:
For me, it’s all about the names: the names of writers who have received the award before me and whose work I’ve admired and looked up to; but particularly the name of James Joyce. I have often said that there are two books that made me want to become a writer: One Hundred Years of Solitude, which I read when I was 16, and Ulysses, which I read three years later. I’ve always felt at home in Dublin and in Irish literature. So in more ways than one, this prize is a sort of homecoming.
The winning novel was translated from Spanish by Canadian translator, Anne McLean who said “It’s such a thrill to see a novel I translated win the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. I love that libraries nominate the books eligible for this prize and that translated novels are considered on an equal footing with books originally written in English. The Sound of Things Falling is a wonderful and important novel and I hope this will mean it can reach even wider readership in the English-speaking world.”
The Sound of Things Falling is the eighth novel in translation to win the award since its inception in 1996.
The judges commented:
“The Sound of Things Falling is a consummate literary thriller that resonates long after the final page. Through a masterly command of layered time periods, spiralling mysteries and a noir palette, it reveals how intimate lives are overshadowed by history; how the past preys on the present; and how the fate of individuals as well as countries is moulded by distant, or covert, events.”
The International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award 2014 shortlist included authors from Australia (Michelle de Kretser); Argentina (Andrés Neuman); France (Marie NDiaye); Ireland (Donal Ryan); Malaysia (Tan Twan Eng); The Netherlands (Gerbrand Bakker); Northern Ireland (David Park); Norway (Karl Ove Knausgaard); and the USA (Patrick Flanery).
First-time novelist Eimear McBride wins the 2014 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction with her novel A Girl is a Half-formed Thing.
Eimear McBride’s debut tells the story of a young woman’s relationship with her brother and the long shadow cast by his childhood brain tumour. It is not so much a stream of consciousness as an unconsciousness railing against a life that makes little sense, forming a shocking and intimate insight into the thoughts, feelings and chaotic sexuality of a young and isolated protagonist. To read A Girl is a Half-formed Thing is to plunge inside into the narrator’s head, experiencing her world first-hand.
Eimear was born in 1976 in Liverpool to Northern Irish parents. Much of her twenties were spent temping and travelling. At twenty-seven she wrote A Girl is a Half-formed Thing and spent many years thereafter trying to have it published. She moved to Cork in 2006, and Norwich in 2011, where she currently lives with her husband and daughter.
This year’s judges – Mary Beard, Denise Mina, Caitlin Moran, Sophie Raworth and chair Helen Fraser – had the unenviable task of narrowing down the six shortlisted books to just one winner.
Helen Fraser, chair of judges, says of McBride’s startling debut: “An amazing and ambitious first novel that impressed the judges with its inventiveness and energy. This is an extraordinary new voice – this novel will move and astonish the reader.”
Hosted by best-selling novelist and co-founder of the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction, Kate Mosse, 2014 chair of judges Helen Fraser, presented Eimear with the £30,000 prize and the ‘Bessie’, a limited edition bronze figurine, both of which are anonymously endowed.