These are just three of the books shortlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize 2013. Follow the links on the right to find out more about the prize and to follow our Mobile Library Reading Group as they shadow the celebrity judges and vote for the Independent Foreign Fiction Readers' Prize.
The Fall of Stone City - Ismail Kadare
Truth and myth, historical fiction and political satire are cleverly woven together in this novel set in Albania. The story begins in 1943 when German soldiers enter the ancient stone city of Gjirokaster, under the guise of liberating the people from their Italian occupiers. We then follow the fates of two of the city doctors, very different men who coincidentally have the same name. Big Dr Gurameto turns out to be a friend of the Nazi commander from university days and becomes a hero when he uses his influence to protect the city from violence. However, after the war, under communist rule his actions look very different. A dark and witty read that has been translated from the Albanian by John Hodgson.
The Detour - Gerbrand Bakker
This is the unusual and fascinating story of a Dutch woman calling herself Emily who arrives in a remote part of Wales, looking for something, or running from something or someone. She tries to avoid contact with other human beings, working quietly in the garden and watching the geese in the nearby field, but the outside world slowly creeps in. Meanwhile, back in Amsterdam, her husband forms a strange relationship with the detective he’s employed to track her down. A haunting and atmospheric tale of loss, longing and Emily Dickinson, translated from the Dutch by David Colmer.
Dublinesque by Enrique Vila-Matas
Published last Bloomsday (a day of celebration of the life and works of James Joyce) this novel follows publisher Samuel Riba on a spur-of-the-moment trip to Dublin, on a mission to hold a funeral for the printed word. Riba has given his life to editing the most important writers of his generation and as his sixtieth birthday approaches he is growing increasingly anxious about the future of the book. Populated with a cast of real and fictional writers this novel of ideas asks what it means to be alive now that books are dead. Translated from the Spanish by Rosalind Harvey and Anne McLean.