Israeli author wins Man Booker International Prize
David Grossman honored for his satirical novel 'A Horse Walks into a Bar.'
"A Horse Walks into a Bar" is not the beginning of a good joke. It's the name of an award-winning novel which just garnered its author the prestigious Man Booker International prize.
The Jerusalem-born David Grossman was named the winner at an event held Wednesday night in London for his book about an Israeli comedian named Dov Greenstein, who enters a comedy club in the coastal town of Netanya, Israel, and completely messes up his routine. As the jokes get worse and the monologues turn more personal and insulting, the audience can't help but be captivated by the awkward and depressing scene playing out before them.
"The winner of this prize will have an extraordinary impact in the bookshops," said Nick Barley, the chair of the Judges.
"It takes some time after a trauma to start to be able to make fun of it," Grossman said, explaining the book's premise. "And yet it has a kind of a healing aspect to it, the fact that people are able to laugh again."
"'A Horse Walks into a Bar' is a novel as beautiful as it is unusual, and it's nearly impossible to put down," wrote NPR critic Michael Schaub. "In the end, it's not as much about comedy as it is about witness: Greenstein needs someone to validate his pain, to let him know that he really has survived a life that's kicked him time and time again."
Grossman, a alumnus of Hebrew University in Jerusalem, has had his work translated into 36 different languages.
In presenting the award to Grossman, the judges declared: "Written with empathy, wisdom and emotional intelligence, 'A Horse Walks into a Bar' is a mesmerizing meditation on the opposite forces shaping our lives: humor and sorrow, loss and hope, cruelty and compassion, and how even in the darkest hours we find the courage to carry on.”
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