This years winner of the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award is 'Man Gone Down' by Michael Thomas.
The Judges commented
“We never know his name. But the African-American protagonist of Michael Thomas’ masterful debut, Man Gone Down, will stay with readers for a long time. He lingers because this extraordinary novel comes to us from a writer of enthralling voice and startling insight. Tuned urgently to the way we live now, the winner of the International Dublin IMPAC Prize 2009 is a novel brilliant in its scope and energy, and deeply moving in its human warmth.”
This book is an extraordinary debut that tackles race, wealth and family head on as a young black man finds the American Dream dissolving around him. On the eve of this thirty-fifth birthday, the unnamed black narrator of "Man Gone Down" finds himself broke, estranged from his white wife and three children, and living in the bedroom of a friend's six-year-old child. He has four days to come up with the money to keep his kids in school and make a down payment on an apartment for them to live in. As we slip between his childhood in inner city Boston and present-day New York City, we discover a life marked by abuse, abandonment, raging alcoholism, and the best and worst intentions of a supposedly integrated America. This is a story of the American Dream gone awry, about what it's like to feel preprogrammed to fail in life and the urge to escape that sentence.
The other novels nominated were:
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz; The Burnt-Out Town of Miracles by Roy Jacobsen, in translation; Ravel by Jean Echenoz, in translation; Animal’s People by Indra Sinha; The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid; The Archivist’s Story by Travis Holland and The Indian Clerk by David Leavitt.