The 2019 Shortlist

These six books lead us far afield, from the Mexican countryside, the Australian border districts and the Serbia of the Yugoslav War and the present day to Israel and Poland’s Holocaust memorial sites. And they lead us into the innermost regions of the human soul, to the dungeons of memory and the liminal realm where dying passes into death and finally into emptiness. There is little to laugh at in these books, whose authors were born between 1937 and 1982, but none of them is resigned to its fate: targeted anger, black humour and introspection oriented beyond the self all act as sources of empowerment. These six books are thus, each in its own way, also inspiring tributes to the enduring power of literature. — The Jury