5 contenders for the 2012 Man Asian Literary Prize

The Man Asian Literary Prize announced its shortlist in Hong Kong Wednesday evening, a quintet of novels by authors across Asia, from Istanbul to Pakistan to Tokyo. The list includes a Nobel laureate, a debut novelist, and two writers shortlisted for the Man Booker prize. A final prize winner will be awarded $30,000 March 14, 2013, at a black tie dinner in Hong Kong. In the meantime, readers can enjoy their own prize: a few months to savor some of Asia’s best novels. Here’s a preview.

1. 'Between Clay and Dust,' by Musharraf Ali Farooqi (Pakistan)

Set in post-partition Pakistan, Farooqi’s second novel explores the lives of two characters, a wrestler and a courtesan, for whom livelihood, and the city in which they live, is being slowly destroyed by Pakistan’s independence. Man Asian judge Maya Jaggi called it “an elegiac but unromanticized evocation of a dying culture... more moving for the spareness and restraint with which it is told.”

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