Dutch author becomes youngest International Booker Prize winner at 29 - GulfToday

Dutch author becomes youngest International Booker Prize winner at 29

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“The Discomfort of Evening” by Marieke Lucas Rijneveld.

Marieke Lucas Rijneveld has become the youngest author to ever win the International Booker Prize, taking the award of their debut novel “The Discomfort of Evening.

The winner of the International Booker Prize (formerly known as the Man Booker International Prize), was due to be announced on May 19, however, due to the impact of coronavirus, this was postponed until Aug.26.

Chair of judges for the prize, Ted Hodgkinson, said: "This book astounded us all when we first encountered it early in the judging process, and our fascination has only deepened on a second and third rereading."


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Describing the book as a "tender and visceral evocation of the strangeness of a childhood caught between shame and salvation," Hodgkinson added that the novel is an "undeniable force by a writer of thrilling talent and ability."

Marieke Lucas Rijneveld beat five other finalists spanning from North and South America, the Middle East, South East Asia, and Europe. Each of these brilliant shortlisted novels share common themes of trauma, loss, and illness.

The award was open to any work of fiction, written in any language, and published over the past year in English in the UK or Ireland.

It honours the best fiction from around the world, with previous winners including Korean author Han Kang, as well as Polish laureate Olga Tokarczuk.

The prize acts as an important reminder that storytelling transcends languages, cultures, and ways of experiencing the world, and gives us access to different places and characters.

'The Discomfort of Evening' tells the story of Jas and her devout farming family in a strict Christian community in rural Netherlands.

One winter's day, her older brother joins an ice-skating trip. Resentful at being left alone, she attempts to bargain with God pitting the life of her pet rabbit against that of her brother; he never returns.

As grief overwhelms the farm, Jas succumbs to a vortex of increasingly disturbing fantasies, watching her family disintegrate into a darkness that threatens to derail them all.

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