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Shadow Man Asian Literary Prize 2011: Reviews from the week December 26-31

January 1, 2012
Shadow Man Asian Literary Prize 2011 Badge

Image created by Matt Todd of A Novel Approach

Week 7 of our Shadow Man Asian Literary Prize 2011 longlist reviewing project and we’re moving along with less than two weeks now to the shortlist announcement. This week’s reviews are:

  • Jahnavi Barua‘s Rebirth (India) by Fay of Read, Ramble who thinks it has some interesting things to say about women’s lives in contemporary India but feels that it’s not fully successful as a novel
  • Amitav Ghosh‘s River of smoke (India) by Mark of Eleutherophobia. Mark liked it, with some reservations. He feels it’s a little overambitious, trying to do too much, but nonetheless calls it an “epic, intense, richly rewarding novel”.
  • Haruki Murakami‘s IQ84 (Japan) by Lisa of ANZLitLovers. Lisa didn’t like it much, echoing many of the bloggers’ reviews I’ve read, including Matt who has also reviewed it for our project.
  • Kyung-Sook Shin’s Please look after mother (Korea) by Mark of Eleutherophobia who liked it, calling it “a quaintly crafted story”.

And, of course, if you missed it, I posted my second review for the project this week: Banana Yoshimoto‘s The lake. My next one will be Jamil Ahmad’s The wandering falcon.

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. January 1, 2012 10:43 pm

    Goodness, Week 7 already! It seems like only yesterday that we decided to do this!

  2. January 2, 2012 7:24 am

    It’s lovely to become familiar with these books in this way. I’d be very curious to know what you think about IQ84, the only one on my shelf so far. I enjoyed The Slap, very readable although some of the characters were a little stereotypical and this disturbed. I loved the contrasting voices and the very real social commentary, thought the ending a bit weak and muffled, but loved the energy and directness of the writing. Glad it did so well. Now reading The Book of Daniel in spurts! Hope you’re well ciao cat

    • January 2, 2012 10:38 am

      You might have to wait Catherine! The reviews coming in from around the blogs are not generally positive and it is SO long! I might look at a Kindle version though – particularly if it is shortlisted.

      Thanks for your comments on The slap. I found it readable too. I would describe the characters as exaggerated rather than stereotypical – but perhaps that’s really saying the same thing! “Muffled” is a good word for the ending … and I feel that the TV adaptation was even moreso. I thought the book was saying, if I remember correctly, that we are all flawed but we can work through things. It’s a non-romantic, rather realistic view of life and relationships. The writing is engaging though isn’t it.

      I don’t know The book of Daniel. Who wrote that?

      • January 3, 2012 3:49 am

        E.L.Doctorow. I read Peter Salmon’s The Coffee Story this year and he waxed about it so I ordered it up. Language is luscious and rather tricky viewpoints.

        • January 3, 2012 7:31 am

          Ah, now he’s a writer I’ve yet to read Catherine. I’ve come close, but never quite made it. Sounds like a good challenge.

  3. January 2, 2012 3:30 pm

    Hmm, things aren’t looking good for poor old IQ84!

    • January 2, 2012 10:42 pm

      No, they’re not are they! I’m not getting the “must read” vibe, I must say.

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