Georgi Gospodinov, Angela Rodel: NPR
David Parry/The Booker Award
This year’s winner of The International Booker Prize is a unique take on time travel. The novel Temporal Shelter by Georgi Gospodinov, with a translation by Angela Rodel, imagines the “first clinic of the past”, in which patients with Alzheimer’s disease can visit different periods of their lives on different floors.
“One day, when this business really takes off”, therapist Gaustine tells the narrator, writer, “we will create these clinics or these sanatoriums in different countries. The past is also a local affair. There will be houses of different years everywhere, small neighborhoods, one day we’ll even have small towns, maybe even a whole country. of their past.”
In his review of Temporal Shelter, The Guardian wrote: “From communism to the Brexit referendum and conflict in Europe, this funny but chilling Bulgarian novel explores the weaponization of nostalgia.”
Gospodinov’s novel was chosen from a shortlist of six books from around the world.
“Intricately crafted and eloquently translated by Angela Rodel,” wrote the International Booker Prize jury, “Temporal Shelter cements Georgi Gospodinov’s reputation as one of the indispensable writers of our time and a major voice in international literature.”
Unlike the original Booker Prize which rewards novels written in English, the International Booker Prize rewards fiction translated into English from all over the world. This is the first time that a Bulgarian novel has won a prize.
Gospodinov and translator Angela Rodel will equally share the prize money of approximately $62,000. Additionally, shortlisted authors and translators each receive approximately $3,000.
Temporal Shelter is Gospodinov’s third novel to be published in English. Poet and playwright, he is the most translated Bulgarian writer since the fall of communism.
Literary translator Angela Rodel is originally from Minnesota and lives in Bulgaria. In addition to Temporal Sheltershe translated Gospodinov’s novel The Physics of Griefas well as a collection of short stories by the Bulgarian writer Georgi Tenev.
In a statement, Gospodinov said: “It is commonly accepted that ‘great themes’ are reserved for ‘great literatures’, or literatures written in large languages, while small languages, in one way or another other by default, end up with the local and the exotic. Like the International Booker Prize are changing that status quo, and that’s very important.”