Time Shelter by Georgi Gospodinov wins International Booker Prize
24 May 2023
Time Shelter by Georgi Gospodinov, book cover.
Georgi Gospodinov, described as the most translated and internationally awarded Bulgarian writer after 1989, has won the 2023 International Booker Prize, for his 2022 novel Time Shelter.
Translated by American literary translator Angela Rodel, Gospodinov’s fourth book features a curious medical facility that assists Alzheimer’s patients, by masquerading as a time machine:
In Time Shelter, an enigmatic flâneur named Gaustine opens a ‘clinic for the past’ that offers a promising treatment for Alzheimer’s sufferers: each floor reproduces a decade in minute detail, transporting patients back in time.
As Gaustine’s assistant, the unnamed narrator is tasked with collecting the flotsam and jetsam of the past, from 1960s furniture and 1940s shirt buttons to scents and even afternoon light. But as the rooms become more convincing, an increasing number of healthy people seek out the clinic as a ‘time shelter’, hoping to escape from the horrors of our present — a development that results in an unexpected conundrum when the past begins to invade the present.
The winning author and translator each receive half of the £50,000 prize money on offer. If there had been an award for best book cover of the International Booker Prize shortlist, I would have adjudged Time Shelter the winner at the time I wrote about the shortlist.
Georgi Gospodinov, International Booker Prize, literary awards, literature