The Birdcage Archives

Sunday 24 April 2022

– III –

Occupation. The entirety of existence revolves around the sun and sum of occupation. What your profession or vocation or trade is, is the uniform of your character. It is the introduction of yourself to the world. When you are a child the sum of your being is that singular fact. You are assessed on your grades, appraised for your hobbies, devalued for your dreams, and cheapened for your ambitions. As an adult you are your occupation incarnate. If you are introduced as an unpublished poet or a minor philosopher you are given wide berth, no questions asked, no inquires made. Best advice.

Sunday 10 April 2022

International Booker Prize Shortlist 2022

Hello Gentle Reader,
The shortlist for this years International Booker Prize has been considered as exciting as its longlist, which once embraces new literary perspectives, voices, and writers, while providing hallmark to both established and known writers and bringing to the forefront new and emerging voices in the world literary scene. The shortlist is also dominated by female writers, with the two front runners and favoured to win being: Olga Tokarczuk and Geetanjali Shree.
Without further delay, the shortlist is as follows:
Olga Tokarczuk – Poland – “The Book of Jacob,”
Geetanjali Shree – India – “Tomb of Sand,”
Bora Chung – (South) Korea – “Cursed Bunny,”
Mieko Kawakami – Japan – “Heaven,”
Jon Fosse – Norway – “A New Name: Septology VI-VII,”  
Claudia PiƱeiro – Argentina – “Elena Knows,”
Women dominate this year’s shortlist, with Jon Fosse being the only male contender for the award. Despite Olga Tokarczuk and Geetanjali Shree being the frontrunners for this year’s award, the International Booker Prize has a reputation for defying the critical expectations, and awarding another novel which orbited in the periphery, as in the case of 2019 with Jokha Alharthi’s novel “Celestial Bodies.” While last years favoured writer was Maria Stepanova with “Memory of Memory,” who in turn lost to David Diop with his novel “At Night All Blood is Black.”
The dark horse with this year’s award could be considered Mieko Kawakami’s novel “Heaven,” a topical novel about bullying in Japan and the strangely masochistic perspective one character takes with regards to the torment she suffers as purifying her. It is a novel that is socially engaged and has been praised for graceful and eloquent, but also being viewed as a junior novel, written relatively early in Kawakami’s literary career, and despite its raw sincerity, the writer often entered the realm of exaggeration or torture pornography to make their point regarding the torment and bullying been served the students. While on the contrary, the English did enjoy “The Lord of Flies,” and may view “Heaven,” as a similarly critical parable of youthful social Darwinism, power struggles, and societal demand for conformity within the Japanese context.
In all this years International Booker Prize has shaped up to being an exciting affair with a mix of both new and established writers.
Thank you For Reading Gentle Reader
Take Care
And As Always
Stay Well Read
M. Mary