Mieko Kawakami is in a special kind of Heaven — one that unfortunately doesn’t involve querying Haruki Murakami about his fixation with breasts. Kawakami’s Heaven, translated by Samuel Bett and David Boyd, is one of 13 titles that earned a spot on this year’s International Booker Prize longlist, which includes fiction translated from 11 languages, including Hindi for the first time. Teenage angst and ennui course through several of the longlist picks. Fernanda Melchor’s Paradais follows a porn-addicted boy and his gardener as they drink in a luxury apartment complex, while Heaven tackles friendship born out of bullying and Sang Young Park’s Love in the Big City tracks a Korean student from his classes to the beds of his Tinder matches.
Previous winner Olga Tokarczuk reappeared in this year’s nominations with 912-page epic The Books of Jacob, which Jennifer Croft translated over the course of seven years. In addition to the aforementioned honorees, nine other author-translator duos earned a spot on the prestigious longlist: Norman Erikson Pasaribu, Happy Stories, Mostly (translated by Tiffany Tsao); Claudia Piñeiro, Elena Knows (translated by Frances Riddle); Violaine Huisman, The Book of Mother (translated by Leslie Camhi); David Grossman, More Than I Love My Life (translated by Jessica Cohen); Paulo Scott, Phenotypes (translated by Daniel Hahn); Jon Fosse, A New Name: Septology VI-VII (translated by Damion Searls); Jonas Eika, After the Sun (translated by Sherilyn Hellberg); Geetanjali Shree, Tomb of Sand (translated by Daisy Rockwell); and Bora Chung, Cursed Bunny (translated by Anton Hur). The longlist will be cut down to a six-book shortlist on April 7.