‘Mend the Living’ is the first novel in translation to be awarded the prize, translated from French into English by the Canadian translator Jessica Moore. It is the second time a novel has been recognised in the prize’s history.
The judging panel praised Maylis de Kerangal’s beautiful style in this exploration of the emotional, physical and practical complexities of organ donation, reflecting the fragility and fluidity of life.
Concentrated across the span of a single day, ‘Mend the Living’ is a heart-breaking and gripping story of life-saving medical science: a 24-hour whirlwind of trauma and death, life and hope. It tells the story of Simon Limbeau’s heart, from the car accident that leaves him brain-dead and on life support, to the moment when Simon’s heart begins to beat again in the body of someone else.