LONDON — “A Horse Walks Into a Bar,” a novel that centers on a stand-up routine that goes off the rails as a comic dredges up ghosts from his past, won the Man Booker International Prize, for work written in a language other than English, on Wednesday night.
The Israeli author David Grossman shared the £50,000 (or roughly $63,600) prize with the book’s English-language translator, Jessica Cohen.
The Man Booker International Prize is given by the Man Group, which also awards the Man Booker Prize for fiction. Last year, the South Korean author Han Kang’s novel “The Vegetarian” won the award.
Mr. Grossman, 63, was born and lives in Jerusalem. His other novels include “Falling Out of Time” and “To the End of the Land,” about a mother who hikes across Israel to avoid receiving possible news of her soldier son’s death on the front lines. Mr. Grossman’s own son Uri, a soldier, died in 2006 in Lebanon, when a tank he was on was hit by a missile, while Mr. Grossman was still completing the novel.
In a review of “A Horse Walks Into a Bar” in The New York Times in February, the novelist Gary Shteyngart called the work a “magnificently comic and sucker-punch-tragic excursion into brilliance,” and praised the book, which takes place over the course of about two hours as the comic delivers his routine to a crowd in a basement club, for its “technical proficiency.”
“There is nothing extraneous, not one comma, not one word, not one drop of a comic’s sweat,” Mr. Shteyngart wrote.
Other books shortlisted for this year’s prize included the French author Mathias Énard’s “Compass”; The Norwegian author Roy Jacobsen’s “The Unseen”; the Israeli author Amos Oz’s “Judas”; the Danish author Dorthe Nors’s “Mirror, Shoulder, Signal”; and the Argentine author Samanta Schweblin’s “Fever Dream.”
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