23 August 16 | Hailey Dezort | Comments

Summer is on its way out and August is coming to an end, which means, for me, back to school (aka papers and not always reading for fun). With some time left, however, I plan on finishing off and enjoying a few books from my ever growing ‘To Read’ stack. A book that should be on everyone’s end of summer reading list is One of Us is Sleeping by Josefine Klougart. For one, August is Women in Translation month, so what better way to celebrate? Also, Lit Hub cited Klougart as one of the 13 translated women you should be reading. Publisher’s Weekly has even called One of Us Is Sleeping “a beguiling conjuring of consciousness.” With all this buzz and excitement, to celebrate Klougart’s English-language debut, we are sending her on a fall tour. Check out the dates below!



Monday, September 19th, 7:00 pm
Reading and Conversation with Maria Marqvard Jensen
Scandinavia House (58 Park Ave, New York, NY)

Wednesday, September 21st, 7:00 pm
Reading and Conversation with Josefine Klougart and Sarah Gerard
Community Bookstore (143 7th Ave, Brooklyn, NY)

Friday, September 23rd, 6:00 pm
Read Local Event with Josefine Klougart
Nox Cocktail Lounge (302 N. Goodman, Rochester, NY)

Saturday, September 24th, 3:00 pm
Reading and Conversation with Susan Harris
57th Street Books (1301 E 57th St, Chicago, IL)

Monday, September 26th, 7:00 pm
Reading and Conversation with Josefine Klougart
Brazos Bookstore (2421 Bissonnet Street, Houston, TX)

Tuesday, September 27th, 7:00 pm
Reading and Conversation with Josefine Klougart
Deep Vellum (3000 Commerce St, Dallas, TX)

Thursday, September 29, 7:30 pm
Reading and Conversation with Josefine Klougart
Powell’s Books (3723 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, OR)

Monday, October 3, 4:30-6:30 pm
Talk and Reading with the Department of Scandinavian
201 Moses Hall University of California (Berkeley, CA)

Tuesday, October 4, 7:30 pm
Reading and Conversation with Josefine Klougart
Green Apple Books on the Park (506 Clement St., San Francisco, CA)

22 July 16 | Kaija Straumanis | Comments

The latest addition to our Reviews section is a by Emma Ramadan on Virginie Despentes’s Bye Bye Blondie, published by The Feminist Press.

In addition to being a translator from the French (you may recognize her name from Anne F. Garréta’s Sphinx), Emma is one of two co-founders (along with Tom Roberge) of the brand-new and forthcoming Riffraff bookstore and bar, which will be located in Providence, RI.

Here’s the beginning of Emma’s review:

Many of Virginie Despentes’s books revolve around the same central idea: “To be born a woman [is] the worst fate in practically every society.” But this message is nearly always packaged in easy-to-read books that fill you with the pleasure of a trashy popular novel. The writing is straightforward, not overly literary, and yet by the end you realize all of Despentes’s complex feminist points have not only been made, but have found their way into your mind, have changed something about the way you think. This is her genius.

Despentes doesn’t merely explore what it’s like to be a woman in the world. Some of her books are about what it’s like to be anyone in a world that keeps people unequal, whether they be men or women, rich or poor. They’re about how everyone is affected, and affected negatively, by our society’s status quo. Bye Bye Blondie is one of these books.

Published by the Feminist Press earlier this month and translated from the French by Siân Reynolds, Bye Bye Blondie is a story about Gloria and Gloria’s rage. At first we are made to think Gloria’s outbursts are immature, the enactment of “the crazy girlfriend,” costing her relationships with lovers, friends, and family. We learn Gloria was previously placed in a psychiatric hospital by her parents because of these outbursts. And yet as the book goes on, we realize Gloria’s rage is incredibly right and true. It’s the only sane course of action for anyone who sees the world for what it is.


For the rest of the review, go here.

15 July 16 | Chad W. Post | Comments

After an extended hiatus, Chad and Tom are back to discuss a slew of things that happened over the past couple months. These include Book Marks, what’s going to happen to B&N, and Tim Parks’s article on The Vegetarian. They also talk about some books they’ve read recently—including Zero K, which neither of them liked—before ending with a major announcement from Tom.

It’s worth mentioned that Alex Shephard wrote a couple of the articles discussed on this podcast, including one on Book Marks and one on B&N.

Also worth noting that there’s a glaring lack of sports talk in this podcast. A

Here are the books discussed this week:

I Love Dick by Chris Krause

The Motel Life by Willy Vlautin

Thus Bad Begins by Javier Marías

The Transmigration of Bodies by Yuri Herrera

The Island of Point Nemo by Jean-Marie Blas de Roblés

The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith

Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ All-Time Greatest Hits by Mark Binelli

Zero K by Don DeLillo

Also, just a reminder, since we changed our podcast feed, you may need to unsubscribe and resubscribe to the correct feed in iTunes at that link, or right here:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/three-percent-podcast/id434696686

Or, you can just put this feed link into whichever is your podcast app of choice:
http://threepercent.libsyn.com/rss

And, as always, feel free to send any and all comments or questions to: threepercentpodcast@gmail.com. Also, if you like the podcast, tell a friend and rate us or leave a review on iTunes.



15 July 16 | Chad W. Post | Comments

This video has been out for a couple of months, but just came to my attention recently. It’s of Angélica Freitas reading from Rilke Shake, translated from the Portuguese by Hilary Kaplan and published by Phoneme Media. It also won this year’s Best Translated Book Award. (Speaking of which, it’s about time to start planning and releasing info about next year . . . )


Rilke Shake from David Shook on Vimeo.

30 June 16 | Kaija Straumanis | Comments

The latest addition to our Reviews section is a piece by Anna Alden on La Superba by Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer, published this March by Deep Vellum Publishing.

Summer is in full hazy swing here in Rochester, but luckily we have a handful of great interns at Open Letter/Three Percent this summer, who are going to be helping us out with handfuls of great projects and terrible jokes, including Anna—who is about to start her senior year at the University of Rochester in English Literature.

Here’s the beginning of her review:

Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer’s La Superba is appropriately titled after the Italian city of Genoa, where, after escaping the pressures of fame in his own country, the semi-autobiographical narrator finds himself cataloguing the experiences of its mesmerizing inhabitants with the intention of writing a novel himself. Written in three parts, the novel narrates Ilja’s days as a Dutch foreigner in Genoa, describing the beautiful city which both frustrates and enthralls him. Unlike his own country, which runs systematically and smoothly, Ilja praises Italy for its “improvisation,” causing Italians to be “the most resourceful, resilient, and creative people I know.”

Often holed up in a bar enjoying an aperitif and claiming to write poetry, Ilja assumes the role of careful observer, creating caricatures and recording the stories of those around him. As a foreigner himself, Ilja presents us with a character who is simultaneously within and without— though he has seemingly mastered the Italian language, and purchased nice Italian suits beyond his means to traipse around the city in, Ilja is never fully integrated into the Genoese world he adores. He even identifies with tourists, describing their behaviors in connection to himself: “Incomprehension and insecurity are written all over their faces as they hesitantly wander around the labyrinth. I like them. They’re my brothers. I feel connected to them.”


For the rest of the review, go here.

16 June 16 | Kaija Straumanis | Comments

The latest addition to our Reviews section is by Vincent Francone on Intervenir/Intervene by Dolores Dorantes and Rodrigo Flores Sánchez, published by Ugly Duckling Presse.

It’s been slow on the review and post end this summer, while we’ve been busy around the offices here and elsewhere, but we hope you’ve all been enjoying your summers, and of course enjoying the Copa and Euro Cup games!

But literature in translation is as important as ever—so here’s the beginning of Vince’s review:

It took reading 44 pages of Intervenir/Intervene before I began to get a sense of what Dolores Dorantes and Rodrigo Flores Sánchez were up to. Recurring throughout these 44 pages—throughout the entire book—are shovels, shovel smacks to the face, lobelias—aha! Shovels and lobelias; gardening, violence, flowering plants. Buried secrets and blossoming. There seemed a sense to it all.

Intervenir/Intervene is being sold as a book of poetry. That is true. But then again, this is not poetry that obeys the rules poetry are supposed to follow. I state this in the year 2016, long after free verse and post modernism have done their best to ruin formal poetry. Even in the age of facile “performance art” and hollow “experimentalism,” there is work that reminds jaded readers like myself that there is value in some of what stands under the all too wide umbrella of avant-garde. Intervenir/Intervene is that sort of work.


For the rest of the review, go here.

25 May 16 | Kaija Straumanis | Comments

Last Thursday, May 19th, CLMP held the (new) 2nd Annual Firecracker Awards. Presented by the Community of Literary Magazines and Presses (CLMP) with the American Booksellers Association, the Firecracker Awards for independently and self-published literature are a revitalized iteration of the Firecracker Alternative Book Award originally established in 1996.

What we’re particularly pleased to announce is that Open Letter’s edition of The Things We Don’t Do by Andrés Neuman, translated from the Spanish be Nick Caistor and Lorenza Garcia, was announced the winner for the Fiction category!



The lineup of finalists for the Fiction category was amazing, and included such titles as American Meteor by Norman Lock (Bellvue Literary Press), The Sleep of the Righteous by Wolfgang Hibig (Two Lines Press), and Home by Leila S. Chudori (Deep Vellum). From the CLMP website:

At an Awards Ceremony hosted by Poets House in New York City featuring Master of Ceremonies Dorothea Lasky (Rome), CLMP’s esteemed panel of judges were pleased to reveal the winners of the 2016 Firecracker Awards for Independent Literary Publishing in four categories:

FICTIONThe Things We Don’t Do by Andrés Neuman, translated from the Spanish by Nick Caistor & Lorenza Garcia (Open Letter Books)

About this title, Brad Johnson, bookseller and manager for Diesel Bookstore (Oakland), writes: “At a time when so much of the world is talking about the policing of borders and the construction of walls, Andrés Neuman’s playful and philosophical stories in The Things We Don’t Do are refreshing. For Neuman, there is no simple divide between one self and another; love and hate; or even life and death. We find that what occurs ‘between’ two people is not so different from what occurs within one. The Things We Don’t Do is an achievement, and an extension of the Latin American tradition blazed by the likes of Cortázar and Bolaño.”


We are incredibly grateful to CLMP and the jury, and excited for Andrés, Nick, and Lorenza!

For more information on CLMP and the Firecracker Awards, as well as a full list of the finalists, and a full list of the winners, go here.

9 May 16 | Kaija Straumanis | Comments

The latest addition to our Reviews section is a piece by Lori Feathers on Peter Stamm’s All Days are Night, published last year by Other Press.

Here’s the beginning of Lori’s review:

As presaged by its title, contradiction is the theme of Peter Stamm’s novel, All Days Are Night. Gillian, a well-known television personality, remains unknowable to herself. And Hubert, a frustrated artist and Gillian’s lover, creates art through the process of destruction. Gillian’s and Hubert’s struggles to understand the emotional basis of these incongruities provide dramatic tension in this taut and provocative novel.

Although Gillian survives an auto accident that kills her husband, the crash damages and permanently alters her face. As she convalesces, she recalls the weeks leading up to the accident, in particular her televised interview with Hubert, a local artist, and her post-interview request that he paint her portrait. Gillian shares with Hubert the hope that his painting of her will reveal truths to which she has been blind. All that she understands about herself is derivative of others’ impressions and reactions, and she longs for Hubert to interpret and reveal to her, her true self. Instead, Hubert soon becomes frustrated with his subject. “I don’t see anything in you. I’ll be pleased if I manage the exterior half decently,” he tetchily tells Gillian during a sitting. He accuses her of intentionally concealing her inner self, of “acting,” and of an unwillingness to reveal any vulnerability, an accusation that is not new to her.

For the rest of the review, go here.

5 May 16 | Chad W. Post | Comments

This week’s podcast opens with Chad and Tom discussing the 2016 Best Translated Book Award winners and their thoughts on how to evaluate books for the prize. Then, in a separately recorded podcast, Chad and visiting guest George Carroll talk with Juan Villoro about his new book on soccer, God Is Round.

Also, due to summer travel and other obligations, it looks like the podcast will go on a short hiatus. In the meantime, you can catch up on past episodes, and/or read a bunch of great books in translation. (Especially Open Letter titles!)

This week’s music is 1804 by The Range.

Also, just a reminder, since we changed our podcast feed, you may need to unsubscribe and resubscribe to the correct feed in iTunes at that link, or right here:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/three-percent-podcast/id434696686

Or, you can just put this feed link into whichever is your podcast app of choice:
http://threepercent.libsyn.com/rss

And, as always, feel free to send any and all comments or questions to: threepercentpodcast@gmail.com.



4 May 16 | Chad W. Post | Comments

May 4, 2016—The ninth annual Best Translated Book Awards were announced this evening at The Folly in New York City, and at The Millions with Yuri Herrera’s Signs Preceding the End of the World, translated from the Spanish by Lisa Dillman, winning for fiction, and Angélica Freitas’s Rilke Shake, translated from the Portuguese by Hilary Kaplan, winning for poetry.

This is the ninth iteration of the BTBA and the fifth in which the four winning authors and translators will receive $5,000 cash prizes thanks to funding from the Amazon Literary Partnership program.

“As it nears its tenth year, the Best Translated Book Awards has become an annual literary highlight, shining an important spotlight on great international works that deserve to be introduced to U.S. readers,” said Neal Thompson, Amazon’s director of Author and Publishing Relations. “The Amazon Literary Partnership is proud to support international authors and their translators and to have contributed more than $100,000 over the past five years to the Best Translated Book Awards.”



Despite the prevelance of Spanish-language authors published in translation—and who have made the BTBA longlist—Yuri Herrera is the first Spanish-language writer to win the award for fiction. According to BTBA judge Jason Grunebaum, “Translator Lisa Dillman has crafted a dazzling voice in English for Yuri Herrera’s Signs Preceding the End of the World, a transformative tale of a young woman’s trip on foot from Mexico to the U.S. to deliver a package and find a brother. This novel of real pathos and unexpected displacement in self, place, and language achieves a near perfect artistic convergence of translator and author, while giving readers an urgent account from today’s wall-building world.”



Lisa Dillman has translated almost a dozen books over the past few years, including works by Andrés Barba and Eduardo Halfon, and teaches Spanish at Emory College. Her translation of Herrera’s next novel, The Transmigration of Bodies (also published by And Other Stories), comes out in July.



With Rilke Shake taking home the poetry award, Phoneme Media becomes the first press to win for poetry in back-to-back years. (Diorama by Rocío Cerón, translated from the Spanish by Anna Rosenwong, won last year). Hilary Kaplan also received a PEN/Heim Translation Fund grant to work on this collection.



BTBA judge Tess Lewis praised the collection, saying, “[Kaplan] has done the grant and Freitas’s poems justice, capturing the many shifts in tone in and between the lines, from playful to wry to sardonic to pathetic, even sentimental, to deadpan and back to playful, sometimes within a single poem. For all of Freitas’s lyric clowning, it’s clear she takes poetry too seriously not to dismantle it and use it to her own purposes.”

Next Wednesday, May 11th, from 5-6:30pm, 57th Street Books in Chicago will be hosting a BTBA party at the store. The event—which will feature a number of BTBA judges—is free and open to the public.

This year’s fiction jury is made up of: Amanda Bullock (Literary Arts, Portland), Heather Cleary, (translator, co-founder of the Buenos Aires Review), Kevin Elliott (57th Street Books), Kate Garber (192 Books) Jason Grunebaum (translator, writer), Mark Haber (writer, Brazos Bookstore), Stacey Knecht (translator), Amanda Nelson (Book Riot), and P. T. Smith (writer and reader).

And this year’s poetry jury is made up of: Jarrod Annis (Greenlight Bookstore), Katrine Øgaard Jensen (Council for European Studies), Tess Lewis (writer and translator), Becka McKay (writer, translator), and Deborah Smith (writer, translator, founder of Tilted Axis).

For more information, visit the official Best Translated Book Award site and the official BTBA Facebook page, and follow the award on Twitter.

Bye Bye Blondie
Bye Bye Blondie by Virginie Despentes
Reviewed by Emma Ramadan

Many of Virginie Despentes’s books revolve around the same central idea: “To be born a woman [is] the worst fate in practically every society.” But this message is nearly always packaged in easy-to-read books that fill you with the pleasure. . .

Read More >

La Superba
La Superba by Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer
Reviewed by Anna Alden

Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer’s La Superba is appropriately titled after the Italian city of Genoa, where, after escaping the pressures of fame in his own country, the semi-autobiographical narrator finds himself cataloguing the experiences of its mesmerizing inhabitants with the intention. . .

Read More >

Intervenir/Intervene
Intervenir/Intervene by Dolores Dorantes; Rodrigo Flores Sánchez
Reviewed by Vincent Francone

It took reading 44 pages of Intervenir/Intervene before I began to get a sense of what Dolores Dorantes and Rodrigo Flores Sánchez were up to. Recurring throughout these 44 pages—throughout the entire book—are shovels, shovel smacks to the face, lobelias—aha!. . .

Read More >

All Days Are Night
All Days Are Night by Peter Stamm
Reviewed by Lori Feathers

As presaged by its title, contradiction is the theme of Peter Stamm’s novel, All Days Are Night. Gillian, a well-known television personality, remains unknowable to herself. And Hubert, a frustrated artist and Gillian’s lover, creates art through the process of. . .

Read More >

The Seven Good Years
The Seven Good Years by Etgar Keret
Reviewed by Vincent Francone

It’s a rare and wonderful book that begins and ends with violence and humor. At the start of Etgar Keret’s The Seven Good Years, Keret is in a hospital waiting for the birth of his first child while nurses, in. . .

Read More >

Human Acts
Human Acts by Han Kang
Reviewed by J.C. Sutcliffe

Last year, Han Kang’s The Vegetarian was an unexpected critical hit. Now, it’s just been published in the U.S. and has already received a great deal of positive critical attention. The Vegetarian was a bold book to attempt as an. . .

Read More >

Nowhere to Be Found
Nowhere to Be Found by Bae Suah
Reviewed by Pierce Alquist

It’s been almost a year since the publication of Nowhere to Be Found by Bae Suah, but despite being included on the 2015 PEN Translation award longlist, and some pretty vocal support from key indie presses, the book has. . .

Read More >

La paz de los vencidos
La paz de los vencidos by Jorge Eduardo Benavides
Reviewed by Brendan Riley

Jorge Eduardo Benavides’ novel La paz de los vencidos (The Peace of the Defeated) takes the form of a diary written by a nameless Peruvian thirty-something intellectual slumming it in Santa Cruz de Tenerife in Spain’s Canary Islands. Recently relocated. . .

Read More >

Souffles-Anfas: A Critical Anthology
Souffles-Anfas: A Critical Anthology by Various
Reviewed by Emma Ramadan

Anyone with any interest at all in contemporary Moroccan writing must start with Souffles. A cultural and political journal, Souffles (the French word for “breaths”) was founded in 1966 by Abdellatif Laâbi and Mostafa Nissabouri. Run by a group of. . .

Read More >

Berlin
Berlin by Aleš Šteger
Reviewed by Vincent Francone

Randall Jarrell once argued a point that I will now paraphrase and, in doing so, over-simplify: As a culture, we need book criticism, not book reviews. I sort of agree, but let’s not get into all of that. Having finished. . .

Read More >

The next few events from our Translation Events Calendar: See More Events >