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Booker prize to German Jenny Erpenbeck

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Jenny Erpenbeck with the statuette showing that she is the winner of this year’s international Booker prize for the novel “Kairos” Photo: Alberto Pezzali / AP / NTB

Of NTB | 22.05.2024 00:29:33

Curiosities and celebrities: Erpenbeck shares the prize – which is 50,000 pounds or around NOK 680,000 – with translator Michael Hofmann. “Kairos” was one of five finalists selected from among 149 candidates.

The plot of the book is set in East Berlin in the 1980s, shortly before the fall of communism in Eastern Europe and the end of the East German state.

Jury chairman Eleanor Wachtel singles out Erpenbeck’s “luminous prose”, which evokes the “complexity of a relationship” and the atmosphere in East Berlin.

– Like GDR, the book begins with love and passion, but then it unravels, says Wachtel and adds that eventually it is at least as much about power, art and culture. She goes on to say that the English translation captures the good language and eccentricity of the original.

57-year-old Erpenbeck was himself born and raised in East Berlin and is thus roughly the same age as the young student who in the book begins a love affair with an older writer.

The International Booker Prize recognizes fiction translated into English and published in Great Britain or Ireland. It should encourage the publishing and reading of translated literature. The award was presented at a ceremony in London on Tuesday.

(© NTB)

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