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Two Indians on Asian book prize shortlist

books Updated: Nov 25, 2008 17:20 IST

AFP
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A novel exploring India’s obsession with celebrity is one of five books shortlisted for a major Asian literary prize, organisers said on Wednesday.

The Lost Flamingoes of Bombay by Mumbai-based author Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi is among the titles shortlisted for the second Man Asian Literary Prize, which is open to novels that have not been published in English. The novel is “a sharp and ravishing examination of India’s perverse fascination with celebrity,” organisers said.

The other shortlisted books are The Story That Must not Be Told, by Indian author Kavery Nambisan, Illustrado by Filipino author Miguel Syjuco and The Music Child by Alfred A Yuson, also from the Philippines. Chinese author Yu Hua's Brothers — which follows two siblings over several decades of Chinese history — completes the list.

“All the books breathe with a vibrant sense of what the Asian world is today — modern, yet connected to tradition, aware of change but saturated with the past,” chair of the judges Adrienne Clarkson said in a statement. “I really had the sense that I could feel the living vibrant worlds these novels describe."

Last year's inaugural prize was won by Chinese author Jiang Rong for his novel Wolf Totem, which has since been published by Penguin. Jiang drew on his experience as one of the first intellectuals to move to the countryside during the Cultural Revolution for the novel.

The $10,000 prize will be announced at a ceremony in Hong Kong on November 13. It is backed by the company that sponsors the prestigious Booker prize, based in Britain.