carátula de la edición en inglés
Habrá que esperar hasta fin de mes para tener completa la longlist (10 títulos) del premio The Guardian a mejor primera novela. Pero hoy en The Guardian dieron un nombre seguro: Fiesta en la Madriguera de Juan Pablo Villalobos, editada el años pasado en castellano por Anagrama y este año en inglés por And Other Stories (con prólogo del joven maravilla Adam Thirlwell) . Dice la nota que la novela ha impresionado mucho a los críticos que han debido seleccionar entre 136 debuts.
Dice la nota:
Mexican-born novelist Juan Pablo Villalobos has booked the first place on the Guardian first book award longlist with his debut novel about Latin American drug dealers, Down the Rabbit Hole ? one of the first titles published by new imprint And Other Stories.
Publishers submitted 136 debuts for the judges consideration in July, with the longlist due to be announced later this month. In a bid to open the prize up to new voices, however, the Guardian reserved one slot on the longlist for suggestions from the public.
Readers, bloggers and booksellers put forward a host of their favourite first books not submitted by publishers. Claire Armitstead, the Guardian books editor, singled out for praise Michael Stewart?s King Crow, the story of an alienated teenager and obsessive birder which she said reminded her of Kes ?both in its use of birds and in its setting?, and Penny Goring?s The Zoom Zoom, ?a really energetic and raw collection of poetry and short prose themed around a young woman with an abusive father?. Guardian books blogger Sam Jordison loved The Roost by Neil Butler, a short story collection set in the Shetlands, which he called ?wonderful! Strange, and bleak, but also uplifting ? It?s not quite Dennis Johnson, but it?s one of the closest things I?ve read.?
But it was Villalobos who ?particularly impressed us?, said Armitstead, and who has been chosen as this year?s 10th contender. His darkly comic novel tells the story of a drug baron?s son growing up in a luxury hideout surrounded by guns, hit men and dealers, longing for a pygmy hippopotamus for his private zoo. Down the Rabbit Hole has garnered effusive praise in its Spanish edition, with El Mundo commending it as ?a brief and majestic debut that converts the ?drug novel? into a fascinating narrative?. Published in the UK by new Arts Council-funded publisher And Other Stories, and translated by Rosalind Harvey, the work is described by Adam Thirlwell in his introduction as ?a miniature high-speed experiment with perspective ? a deliberate, wild attack on the conventions of literature?.
Commenter Teregarciadiaz, who tipped the book as a potential contender for the Guardian prize, said that ?reading this novel in the bloody climate that rains and thunders every day in Mexico is like walking a tightrope ? Villalobos reminds us that we are vulnerable on the tightrope, but that the strength, imagination and humour it?s spun from hold us up over the abyss of reality and, in spite of atrocity, prevent us from falling.?
Armitstead said that the search for the 10th book ?brought a lot of alternative publishing strategies to light?, from Villalobos?s own publisher And Other Stories, which is funded partly through subscribers, to self publishers, ?the most impressive of which has to be Mark MacNicol, who not only published the novel Coconut Badger, but put it on as a play as well. Judging by the comments on the thread, that really paid off in terms of bringing theatre-goers to the novel.?
Despite ?a fair amount of logrolling?, Armitstead said she had ?learned a lot? from the process.
?I will be keeping an eye open for the next works by several of the writers I have discovered through this process. We?ve also commissioned reviews of some of them,? she said. ?The one downside I observed was the absence of strong editing in a lot of the work I read. It confirmed for me that every writer, however talented, needs an editor.?
A further nine titles for the longlist will be announced later this month.