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Novels that depict people struggling with the forces of nature, history or economics in settings from rural Argentina to Communist East Germany are among six finalists announced Tuesday for the International Booker Prize for translated fiction.

The shortlist for the £50,000 ($86,000) award includes Argentine writer Selva Almada’s Not a River, a fishing story with troubling undercurrents; German author Jenny Erpenbeck’s Kairos, a doomed love story set in the final years of East Germany’s existence; and Brazilian writer Itamar Vieira Junior’s tale of subsistence farmers, Crooked Plow.

Human relationships are at the centre in The Details by Ia Genberg of Sweden, intergenerational epic Mater 2-10 by Korean writer Hwang Sok-yong and sibling saga What I’d Rather Not Think About by Dutch novelist Jente Posthuma.

“These books bear the weight of the past while at the same time engaging with current realities of racism and oppression, global violence and ecological disaster,” said broadcaster Eleanor Wachtel, who is chairing the judging panel.

The winner will be announced May 21 at a ceremony in London.

The International Booker Prize is awarded every year to a book of fiction in any language that is translated into English and published in the U.K. or Ireland. It is run alongside the Booker Prize for English-language fiction.

The prize was set up to boost the profile of fiction in other languages – which accounts for only a small share of books published in Britain – and to salute the underappreciated work of literary translators. The prize money is split between the winning author and their translator.

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