Georgi Gospodinov’s Time Shelter, translated by Angela Rodel, has become the first Bulgarian novel to win the International Booker Prize.
The novel is about “a ‘clinic for the past’ [that] offers a promising treatment for Alzheimer’s sufferers: each floor reproduces a decade in minute detail, transporting patients back in time. But soon the past begins to invade the present,” said the International Booker Prize website. Full of irony and melancholy, the novel deals with a contemporary question: what happens to us when our memories disappear?
“Georgi Gospodinov succeeds marvellously in dealing with both individual and collective destinies and it is this complex balance between the intimate and the universal that convinced and touched us,” said Leïla Slimani, chair of judges, International Booker Prize, about Time Shelter.
Gospodinov is a Bulgarian poet, writer and playwright. Reports say that when Time Shelter was published in Bulgaria, it topped the book charts and won the Strega European Prize.
International Booker Prize is meant specifically for books written in other languages and translated into English. Last year, Geetanjali Shree’s Tomb of Sand, translated by Daisy Rockwell, had become the first Hindi novel to win the International Booker. The prize is awarded annually for the finest single work of fiction from around the world that has been translated into English and published in the UK and Ireland.