LONDON: David Grossman’s ‘A Horse Walks into a Bar’, which is set around a standup comic’s confessional routine in an Israeli comedy club, bagged the Man Booker International prize for the year’s best fiction in translation.
Set in a small Israeli town, the novel is focused on the act of comedian Dovaleh Greenstein. Taking to the stage to annoy his audience with vulgar and aggressive jokes, Greenstein’s repugnant performance begins to crumble as he reveals a ghastly decision he once made, which has haunted him ever since, reports the Guardian.
Grossman was announced as the winner at a ceremony at the V&A Museum here on Wednesday night.
His novel was selected as the winner from 126 works, which were cut down to a 13-book longlist and a six-book shortlist, putting him against writers from Denmark, France, Norway and Argentina.
Fellow Israeli heavyweight Amos Oz was among the final contenders, who also included the Norwegian Dorthe Nors and Argentinian debut author Samanta Schweblin.
This is only the second year that the Man Booker International prize has been awarded to a single book.
Last year, the prize was won by South Korean novelist Han Kang and translator Deborah Smith for 'The Vegetarian'.
Prior to 2016, the prize was awarded biennially to a writer for an entire body of work and was won by Ismail Kadare in 2005, Chinua Achebe in 2007, Alice Munro in 2009, Philip Roth in 2011, Lydia Davis in 2013 and László Krasznahorkai in 2015.
The bestselling writer of fiction, nonfiction and children’s books, whose works have been translated into 36 languages, will share the £50,000 prize with his English translator, Jessica Cohen.
Born and still based in Jerusalem, Grossman is recognised as one of the world’s great novelists, with awards including the French Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, Germany’s Buxtehuder Bulle, Rome’s Premio per la pace e l’azione umanitaria, the Frankfurt peace prize, and Israel’s Emet prize.