The novel 2084, the latest from Algerian novelist Boualem Sansal — famous for his controversial statements and plottings — has made the longlists of both the 2015 Goncourt and the 2015 Renaudot, the two most prestigious French literary prizes:
Sansal’s is one of a handful of novels that have made both lists, as M.A. Orthofer has pointed out over at the Literary Saloon. Others include Liberati’s Eva and Delphine de Vigan’s D’après une histoire vraie.
2084 takes place 100 years after 1984. It takes Big Brother and places him in the fictional kingdom of “Abistan.”
Sansal is perhaps most well-known for his The German Mujahid, which somewhat heavy-handedly conflates Islamists and Nazis. According to a profile in Haaretz, the publication of this book led to his wife’s firing from her teaching job and his daughters being forced to leave Algeria. But as he’s been banned in Algeria, he’s been celebrated in Europe. In Germany, in 2011, he won the German Book Trade Peace Prize.
According to a recent review-interview in Haaretz:
Words cannot describe the beauty of the text. The few critics who have already read it speak of a masterpiece and the book of the year. Author Michel Houellebecq, who was interviewed last weekend on television, said Sansal had dared ‘to go much further than I did’ in Houellebecq’s controversial book ‘Submission.’ Other participants in the panel praised this courageous opus and predicted great success, perhaps the prestigious prizes awarded in the fall.
The full interview, titled “Arab World is Dead, Iran Will Lead Islam”