Foreign Fiction

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March 30, 2011 by markstani

I’m loving ploughing through the long-list for this year’s Independent Foreign Fiction Prize. There’s some great stuff, not least Villain by Shuichi Yoshida, Red April by Santiago Roncagliolo and Lovetown by Michal Witkowski. One is an ultra-modern Japanese noir, one is an exploration of the remnants of the Shining Path in Andean Peru, and one is a gaudy lament for a lost way of gay life in post-Communist Poland.
Foreign fiction throws you head-first into a world you maybe weren’t aware of. Its writing, often necessarily translated, is often sparse and measured but loses nothing. It doesn’t come lugged down by metaphors or literary pretension. Think of Junot Diaz’s Dominican Republic, Aravind Adiga’s Delhi, the Havana of Pedro Juan Gutierrez, Paulo Lins’ Rio favelas, and most recently the fantastical, brutal Chechnya described in Roman Sadulaev’s amazing I Am A Chechen. Foreign fiction is a gold-mine. This prize gives an overlooked genre its deserved day in the sun. Read the full long-list here.

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