2021 Longlist

The Pine Islands


Translated from the Dutch by Jen Calleja

2021 Longlist

When Gilbert wakes one day from a dream that his wife has cheated on him, he flees – immediately and inexplicably – for Tokyo, where he meets a fellow lost soul: Yosa, a young Japanese student clutching a copy of The Complete Manual of Suicide. Together, Gilbert and Yosa set off on a pilgrimage to see the pine islands of Matsushima, one looking for the perfect end to his life, the other for a fresh start. Playful and profound, The Pine Islands is a beautiful tale of friendship, transformation and acceptance in modern Japan.

About the Author

Marion Poschmann was born in Essen in 1969. A prize-winning poet and novelist, she has won both of Germany’s premier poetry prizes and the Berlin Prize for Literature. Poschmann has been shortlisted for the German Book Prize on three occasions and won the 2013 Wilhelm Raabe Literature Prize.

Jen Calleja is a writer and literary translator based in London. Her fiction, creative non-fiction and poetry have appeared in The London Magazine, Ambit, Another Gaze, 3:AM, Somesuch Stories, Hotel, and in the anthologies On Relationships (3 of Cups, 2020) and Spells: 21st Century Occult Poetry (Ignota, 2018). Her reviews and articles have been published by the TLS, History Today, Modern Poetry in Translation and the New Statesman, and she has had long-running columns on literature in translation in The Quietus and the Brixton Review of Books. She has translated over a dozen works of German-language literature, specialising in contemporary literary fiction and literary non-fiction. She was the inaugural Translator in Residence at the British Library, and her translations have featured in The New Yorker, Granta, The White Review, Literary Hub and elsewhere. She was shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize 2019 for her translation of  The Pine Islands (Serpent’s Tail), and for the Schlegel-Tieck Prize 2018 for Kerstin Hensel’s Dance by the Canal (Peirene Press).


Librarian’s Comments

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Serpent’s Tail


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