Today, author Marieke Lucas Rijneveld and translator Michele Hutchison were awarded the Booker International Prize for the novel The Discomfort of Evening.
Each year the International Prize is given to a book translated into English in order to encourage more publishing and reading of quality fiction in translation.
The Discomfort of Evening by Marieke Lucas Rijneveld, translated by Michele Hutchison
Ten-year-old Jas lives with her strictly religious parents and her siblings on a dairy farm where waste and frivolity are akin to sin. Despite the dreary routine of their days, Jas has a unique way of experiencing her world: her face soft like cheese under her mother’s hands; the texture of green warts, like capers, on migrating toads in the village; the sound of “blush words” that aren’t in the Bible.
One icy morning, the disciplined rhythm of her family’s life is ruptured by a tragic accident, and Jas is convinced she is to blame. As her parents’ suffering makes them increasingly distant, Jas and her siblings develop a curiosity about death that leads them into disturbing rituals and fantasies. Cocooned in her red winter coat, Jas dreams of “the other side” and of salvation, not knowing where this dreaming will finally lead her.