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“Ebola 76” by Amir Tag Elsir [Why This Book Should Win]

Today’s first entry into the Why This Book Should Win series is from Riffraff co-owner, Three Percent podcast co-host, and French translator, Tom Roberge. Ebola 76 by Amir Tag Elsir, translated from the Arabic by Chris Bredin and Emily Danby (Sudan, Darf Publishers) Sudanese writer (and doctor) Amir Tag Elsir’s ...

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Three Percent #135: Polish Reportage and a Lot of Sci-Fi Talk

After discussing the incredibly long Dublin Literary Prize longlist, Chad and Tom discuss Polish Reportage, Stanislaw Lem’s book covers, ordering books for Riffraff, and a serial killer. UPDATE: Here’s a link to all of the new Polish Lem covers. And the one for His Master’s Voice. This week’s ...

“French Perfume” by Amir Tag Elsir [Why This Book Should Win]

This entry in the Why This Book Should Win series is by Najeebah Al-Ghadban. We will be running two (or more!) of these posts every business day leading up to the announcement of the finalists.   French Perfume by Amir Tag Elsir, translated from the Arabic by William M. Hutchins (Sudan, Antibookclub) It may be ...

2013 Susan Sontag Prize for Translation

The 2013 Susan Sontag Prize for Translation was just announced, with Nathaniel Rudavsky-Brody receiving this year’s honors for his translation of Benjamin Fondane’s Ulysse. Not much info up on the Sontag site yet, although I think this literally just went online. (I’ve been refreshing that page like a ...

Susan Sontag 2012 Prize for Translation

The Susan Sontag Foundation recently announced Julia Powers and Adam Morris as the winners of their 2012 Prize for Translation. Every June, the $5,000 prize is awarded to a literary translator under the age of 30 over the course of five months, during which the proposed project must be completed. The award was established to ...

"Upstaged" by Jacques Jouet [25 Days of the BTBA]

As with years past, we’re going to spend the next three weeks highlighting the rest of the 25 titles on the BTBA fiction longlist. We’ll have a variety of guests writing these posts, all of which are centered around the question of “Why This Book Should Win.” Hopefully these are funny, accidental, ...

Juan Gabriel Vasquez's "The Secret History of Costaguana"

This may be thanks to Bolano and his massive appeal, but it seems (to me at least), like Spanish literature is going through a sort of a “Second Boom.” Not so much in terms of a shared aesthetic, but in terms of having captured the imaginations of American publishers. In addition to standards like Javier Marias ...

On Translating for the Stage

Click here for Joanne Pottlitzer’s introduction to her essay. This piece was delivered last month at an event at the Americas Society in NYC. It is my pleasure to share a few words with you on translating for the stage and on the journey of translating José Triana’s Palabras comunes. One of the ongoing debates ...

Intro to "On Translating for the Stage"

Jon Peede, formerly of the NEA, put Joanne Pottlitzer in touch with me in hopes that we could help publicize her recent essay “On Translating for the Stage.” The essay—which will go up in about 10 minutes—is very interesting, and discusses one of the singular challenge of translating drama. In order to ...

PEN: Get Super Lit: Comic Books Come Alive on Stage

Where: The Cooper Union, Frederick P. Rose Auditorium, 41 Cooper Sq., New York City Critics like to point out “comic books are not just superheroes,” that they’re also heartrending memoirs, important nonfiction, and even avant-garde art. True. But you can’t throw this baby out with the bathwater because it’s got ...

2011 Susan Sontag Prize for Translation [Young Italian Translators]

I’ve been meaning to post this for a month now . . . At least there’s still some time before the March deadline: THE 2011 SUSAN SONTAG PRIZE FOR TRANSLATION $5,000 grant for a literary translation from Italian into English: PLEASE POST & DISTRIBUTE PLEASE NOTE: The deadline is March 1, ...

Susan Sontag Prize Award Winners

Another day, another post that should’ve been written weeks ago . . . (In case you haven’t noticed, today is themed. And this extends beyond the blog to responding to dozens of e-mails I should’ve responded to way back when.) Last month, the Susan Sontag Foundation announced that Benjamin Mier-Cruz won the 2010 award ...

Genres, Tags, and Why Don't We Subcategorize Books?

Today’s piece in the New York Times on indie rock sub-categorization isn’t particularly interesting . . . although when you apply what’s been happening in music to the world of books, there are a few intriguing outcomes. The main thrust of Ben Sisario’s Times piece is that indie music has atomized ...

Susan Sontag Foundation Crushes on My Crushes

The call for submissions for the 2010 Susan Sontag Prize for Translation was posted last week, and this year the focus is on translations from Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, and Icelandic. This prize was launched two years ago to encourage the development of young literary translators. Applicants must be under the age of 30 ...

Susan Sontag Award: Year Two

I don’t think I received a press release about this, but the 2009 Susan Sontag Prize for Translation has been awarded to Roanne Sharp for her proposed translation of La Mayor by Juan Jose Saer. Which is fantastic—we’re actually publishing three Saer books over the next few years, but not this one. . . . At ...

Sebald on Stage

Thanks to Conversational Reading (and Vertigo before that) for bringing “i-witness” to our attention. From Wales Online Like most of us, Paul Davies and Fern Smith enjoy immersing themselves in a good book. [Ed. Note: That use of “like most of us” signals that we’re not reading a U.S. ...

Susan Sontag Translation Prize

The Susan Sontag Foundation recently released information about their 2009 translation prize, this time awarding young translators working on Spanish into English projects: This $5,000 grant will be awarded to a proposed work of literary translation from Spanish into English and is open to anyone under the age of 30. The ...

Susan Sontag Prize for Translation

We posted about the Susan Sontag Prize for Translation when the call for submissions went out, and it was just announced that Kristin Dickinson (who did her undergrad work at the University of Rochester), Robin Ellis, and Priscilla Layne won for their collaborative translation of Koppstoff: Kanaka Sprak vom Rande der ...

2008 Susan Sontag Prize for Translation

We actually posted about the Susan Sontag Prize for Translation back before Three Percent went live, but with the deadline approaching, I think it’s worth bringing up again, especially since it’s such a cool prize. One of the first activities of the newly-established Susan Sontag Foundation, this Prize for ...

Hispanic Heritage Month Reading Program

From GalleyCat The Association of American Publishers announced that it has joined forces with Las Comadres Para Las Americas, an informal internet-based group that meets monthly in over 50 US cities and growing, to build connections and community with other Latinas, to launch Reading with Las Comadres. The program is ...

2018 Best Translated Book Award Finalists

May 15, 2018—Ten works of fiction and six poetry collections remain in the running for this year’s Best Translated Book Awards following the announcement of the two shortlists at The Millions website this morning. Featuring a blend of contemporary writers and modern classics, of writers from cultures around the world, ...

“The Last Bell” by Johannes Urzidil [Why This Book Should Win]

This entry in the Why This Book Should Win series (almost done!) is from Abe Nemon who writes essays and reviews of old and out-of-print books at OldBookAppreciator.com, as well as daily bios of obscure authors on their birthdays on Twitter at the handle @bookappreciator. The Last Bell by Johannes Urzidil, translated ...

“The Magician of Vienna” by Sergio Pitol [Why This Book Should Win]

This entry in the Why This Book Should Win series is from P.T. Smith. A full-time writer of WTBSW entries. The Magician of Vienna by Sergio Pitol, translated from the Spanish by George Henson (Mexico, Deep Vellum) Books that are part of a series have a tough time getting the recognition they deserve, in general and ...

“August” by Romina Paula [Why This Book Should Win]

This entry in the Why This Book Should Win series is from BTBA judge and University Bookstore bookseller Caitlin Baker. August by Romina Paula, translated from the Spanish by Jennifer Croft (Argentina, Feminist Press) I initially picked up August because of its beautiful cover and then I read the first ...

“Beyond the Rice Fields” by Naivo [Why This Book Should Win]

This entry in the Why This Book Should Win series is from reader, reviewer, and BTBA judge P.T. Smith.  Beyond the Rice Fields by Naivo, translated from the French by Allison M. Charette (Madagascar, Restless Books) Naivo’s Beyond the Rice Fields is the first Malagasy novel ever translated into English. That’s ...

“Savage Theories” by Pola Oloixarac [Why This Book Should Win]

This entry in the Why This Book Should Win series is from George Carroll, former and future BTBA judge, soccer fanatic, world literature correspondent for Shelf Awareness, and curator of litintranslation.com. Savage Theories by Pola Oloixarac, translated from the Spanish by Roy Kesey (Argentina, Soho Press) I would ...

“I Am the Brother of XX” by Fleur Jaeggy [Why This Book Should Win]

This entry in the Why This Book Should Win series is from BTBA judge, reader, and reviewer P.T. Smith.  I Am the Brother of XX by Fleur Jaeggy, translated from the Italian by Gini Alhadeff (Switzerland, New Directions) Instant love is well and good. Confident and rejection is the same, if you’re the one doing the ...

“Suzanne” by Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette [Why This Book Should Win]

The Why This Book Should Win entry for today is from literary translator Peter McCambridge, fiction editor at QC Fiction (a new imprint of the best of contemporary Quebec fiction in translation) and founding editor of Québec Reads. Suzanne by Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette, translated from the French (Québec) by Rhonda ...

What if Writers Were Treated Like Soccer Players?

Told you I'd be back soon to catch up on these weekly posts! Next week I'll put together a recap linking to all of the posts in the series so far, and including a line or two about what they cover. And then, in addition to writing about one (or two) new books, next week I'll also post a May overview with some more data, a ...

“Bergeners” by Tomas Espedal [Why This Book Should Win]

This entry in the Why This book Should Win series is from BTBA judge Patrick Smith, who is scrambling to finish covering all the books in this series. If you want to write about one of the remaining few, please get in touch! Bergeners by Tomas Espedal, translated from the Norwegian by James Anderson (Norway, Seagull ...

“Iron Moon: An Anthology of Chinese Worker Poetry” [Why This Book Should Win]

This Why This Book Should Win entry is from Raluca Albu, BTBA judge, and editor at both BOMB and Guernica.  Iron Moon: An Anthology of Chinese Worker Poetry, translated from the Chinese by Eleanor Goodman (China, White Pine Press) “Iron Moon” is an anthology of Chinese migrant  worker poetry that transports ...

“Incest” by Christine Angot [Why This Book Should Win]

Today's second Why This Book Should Win post is from Bradley Schmidt, a translator of contemporary German literature, most recently of Philipp Winkler’s Hooligan (Arcade), who also teaches writing and translation at Leipzig University. More at bradley-schmidt.com. Incest by Christine Angot, translated from the ...

“Fever Dream” by Samanta Schweblin [Why This Book Should Win]

This entry in the Why This Book Should Win series is from former BTBA judge and founder of the Literary License blog, Gwendolyn Dawson, who lives in Houston, TX and is a practicing lawyer. She is a longtime supporter of literature in translation and all literary arts. Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin, translated from ...

“My Heart Hemmed In” by Marie NDiaye [Why This Book Should Win]

With the May 15th announcement of the finalists just over a week away, these Why This Book Should Win entries are coming fast and furious. This one is by Lori Feathers, BTBA judge and co-owner of Interabang Books.  My Heart Hemmed In by Marie NDiaye, translated from the French by Jordan Stump (France, Two ...

“The Iliac Crest” by Cristina Rivera Garza [Why This Book Should Win]

First Why This Book Should Win entry for today is from Tim Horvath. Tim Horvath is the author of Understories (Bellevue Literary Press) and Circulation (sunnyoutside), as well as fiction in Conjunctions, AGNI, Harvard Review, and elsewhere. He teaches in the Creative Writing BFA/MFA programs at the New Hampshire ...

“Third-Millennium Heart” by Ursula Andkjær Olsen [Why This Book Should Win]

This entry in the Why This Book Should Win series is from poet, translator, editor, and BTBA judge, Aditi Machado.  Third-Millennium Heart by Ursula Andkjær Olsen, translated from the Danish by Katrine Øgaard Jensen (Denmark, Broken Dimanche Press/Action Books) What’s a translated book got to do to ...

“Old Rendering Plant” by Wolfgang Hilbig [Why This Book Should Win]

Now that the new website is up and working, we can start catching up on the Why This Book Should Win series. (And I can go back to writing my unhinged weekly missives about literature in translation.) Today's first post is from Joseph Schreiber, writer, editor at 3:AM Magazine, maintains literary blog, ...

“Hackers” by Aase Berg [Why This Book Should Win]

This entry in the Why This Book Should Win series is from BTBA judge and Greenlight Bookstore bookseller Jarrod Annis.  Hackers by Aase Berg, translated from the Swedish by Johannes Göransson (Sweden, Black Ocean)   Stark and minimal, Hackers thrums with a biology inherent to Berg's poetics, an exoskeleton of ...

“Compass” by Mathias Énard [Why This Book Should Win]

This entry in the Why This Book Should Win series is from former BTBA judge and founder of the Literary License blog, Gwendolyn Dawson, who lives in Houston, TX and is a practicing lawyer. She is a longtime supporter of literature in translation and all literary arts. Compass by Mathias Énard, translated from the ...

“I Remember Nightfall” by Marosa di Giorgio [Why This Book Should Win]

This entry in the Why This Book Should Win series is from BTBA judge and Greenlight Bookstore bookseller Jarrod Annis.    I Remember Nightfall by Marosa di Giorgio, translated from the Spanish by Jeannine Marie Pitas (Uruguay, Ugly Duckling Presse) Dark, ethereal, and sensuous, Marosa di Giorgio's prose ...

“For Isabel: A Mandala” by Antonio Tabucchi [Why This Book Should Win]

This entry in the Why This Book Should Win series is from BTBA judge Jeremy Keng. For Isabel: A Mandala by Antonio Tabucchi, translated from the Italian by Elizabeth Harris (Italy, Archipelago Books) The photographer shifted positions and lit another cigarette in his long ivory holder. He seemed uneasy. Silent, he ...

“Chasing the King of Hearts” by Hanna Krall [Why This Book Should Win]

This entry in the Why This Book Should Win series is from Ruchama Johnston-Bloom, who writes about modern Jewish thought and Orientalism. She has a PhD in the History of Judaism from the University of Chicago and is the Associate Director of Academic Affairs at the London center of CAPA: The Global Education ...

“Return to the Dark Valley” by Santiago Gamboa [Why This Book Should Win]

Final entry today in the Why This Book Should Win series is from BTBA judge and curator of “Reader-at-Large,” Tara Cheesman. Return to the Dark Valley by Santiago Gamboa, translated from the Spanish by Howard Curtis (Colombia, Europa Editions) One of the characters in Return to the Dark Valley is a “crazy and ...

“Directions for Use” by Ana Ristović [Why This Book Should Win]

Today’s poetry entry into the Why This Book Should Win series is from BTBA judge—and Riffraff co-owner—Emma Ramadan. Directions for Use by Ana Ristović, translated from the Serbian by Steven Teref and Maja Teref (Serbia, Zephyr Press) Very occasionally, reading a book in translation can feel like I’m ...

“You Should Have Left” by Daniel Kehlmann [Why This Book Should Win]

This entry in the “Why This Book Should Win” series is from Jenny Zhao, an undergrad student here at the University of Rochester. You Should Have Left by Daniel Kehlmann, translated from the German by Ross Benjamin (Germany, Pantheon) The premise of You Should Have Left is a familiar one, not all that different ...

“Radiant Terminus” by Antoine Volodine [Why This Book Should Win]

Today’s “Why This Book Should Win” fiction entry is from Rachel Cordasco, former BTBA judge, and curator of Speculative Fiction in Translation. Radiant Terminus by Antoine Volodine, translated from the French by Jeffrey Zuckerman (France, Open Letter Books) In Radiant Terminus, we have a novel that disturbs ...

Spanish Literature Is Our Favorite Scene

Last week, the 2018 longlists for the Best Translated Book Award were released and were loaded with books translated from the Spanish. Eight works of fiction and one poetry collection. Nine titles total out of the thirty-seven on the combined longlists. That’s just a smidge under 25%. Twenty-five percent! One-quarter of the ...

“Astroecology” by Johannes Heldén [Why This Book Should Win]

This morning’s poetry entry into the Why This Book Should Win series is from BTBA judge—and Riffraff co-owner—Emma Ramadan. Astroecology by Johannes Heldén, translated from the Swedish by Kirkwood Adams, Elizabeth Clark Wessel, and Johannes Heldén (Sweden, Argos Books) Johannes Heldén’s Astroecology is an ...

“Affections” by Rodrigo Hasbún [Why This Book Should Win]

Mark Haber of the BTBA jury and Brazos Bookstore has today’s fiction entry in the “Why This Book Should Win” series. Affections by Rodrigo Hasbún, translated from the Spanish by Sophie Hughes (Bolivia, Simon & Schuster) There is a lot to be said for subtlety, the quiet ability to tackle the heavy ...

“Remains of Life” by Wu He [Why This Book Should Win]

This afternoon’s entry in the “Why This Book Should Win” series is from BTBA judge Adam Hetherington. Remains of Life by Wu He, translated from the Chinese by Michael Berry (China, Columbia University Press) I’m not sure how to define historical fiction. How true does regular fiction need to be to become ...

“Before Lyricism” by Eleni Vakalo [Why This Book Should Win]

This morning’s entry in the “Why This Book Should Win” series is from BTBA judge and Riffraff co-owner, Emma Ramadan. Before Lyricism by Eleni Vakalo, translated from Greek by Karen Emmerich (Greece, Ugly Duckling Presse) I would happily and readily make the argument that of all the books on the BTBA poetry ...

“Tómas Jónsson, Bestseller” by Guðbergur Bergsson [Why This Book Should Win]

This afternoon’s entry in the “Why This Book Should Win” series is from writer and Russian translator, Andrea Gregovich. She also interviews literary translators about their new books for the Fiction Advocate blog. Tómas Jónsson, Bestseller by Guðbergur Bergsson, translated from Icelandic by Lytton Smith ...

“The Invented Part” by Rodrigo Fresán [Why This Book Should Win]

Between now and the announcement of the BTBA finalists on May 15th, we’ll be highlighting all 37 longlisted books in a series we call “Why This Book Should Win.” The first post is from BTBA judge and Ebenezer Books bookseller P.T. Smith. The Invented Part by Rodrigo Fresán, translated from the Spanish by Will ...

A Quantum Spiral by Another Name (Part VII, Pgs 201-236)

Last week, Chad and Brian were joined by Rachel S. Cordasco of Speculative Fiction in Translation as they discussed Part VII, “Global Autumn,” of Georgi Gospodinov’s Physics of Sorrow. This section hits us from too many angles, from the relatable hilarity of having a phobia of being asked “how are you?” to trying ...

Best Translated Book Award 2018: Fiction Longlist

  Incest by Christine Angot, translated from the French by Tess Lewis (France, Archipelago) Suzanne by Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette, translated from the French by Rhonda Mullins (Canada, Coach House)   Tómas Jónsson, Bestseller by Guðbergur Bergsson, translated from the Icelandic by Lytton Smith (Iceland, ...

Best Translated Book Award 2018: The Longlists!

April 10, 2018—Celebrating its eleventh consecutive year of honoring literature in translation, the Best Translated Book Awards is pleased to announce the 2018 longlists for both fiction and poetry. Announced at The Millions, the lists include a diverse range of authors, languages, countries, and publishers. On the ...

Two Month Review: #4.08: The Physics of Sorrow (Part VII: “Global Autumn”)

This week, Rachel Cordasco from Speculative Fiction in Translation and the Wisconsin Historical Society Press joined Chad and Brian for a fun conversation about part VII of Georgi Gospodinov’s The Physics of Sorrow. They talked about how this book invokes a variety of memories, hotel rooms, Eastern European self-deprecating ...

Two Month Review: #4.06: The Physics of Sorrow (Part V: “The Green House”)

In addition to ripping on Chad and the poor showing by the Michigan State Spartans in the NCAA Tournament, Brian Wood and Tom Flynn (from Volumes Bookcafe) discuss the morality of animals, how this section of The Physics of Sorrow focuses more on the “animal” side of the minotaur, the mixture of lightness and sorrow in ...

9 Moments That Make “Tomb Song” the Frontrunner for the National Book Award in Translation

  Tomb Song by Julián Herbert, translated from the Spanish by Christina MacSweeney (Graywolf Press) Moment Number One “Technique, my boy,” says a voice in my head. “Shuffle the technique.” To hell with it: in her youth, Mamá was a beautiful half-breed Indian who had five husbands: a fabled pimp, a ...

Two Month Review: #4.05: The Physics of Sorrow (Part IV, Pgs 119-150)

This week, Patrick Smith joined Chad and Brian to talk about time capsules and their potential danger, nostalgia and the urge to collect, aliens, Chernobyl, and more. It was a very fun part of the book to discuss, and the three of them made the most of it, really digging into how The Physics of Sorrow is constructed, while ...

Pathways to Discovering the Obscure?

  The Life and Opinions of Zacharias Lichter by Matei Calinescu, translated from the Romanian by Adriana Calinescu and Breon Mitchell (New York Review Books) When I first started reading The Life and Opinions of Zacharias Lichter by Matei Calinescu, translated from the Romanian by Adriana Calinescu and Breon ...

Obsessive Empathetic-Somatic Syndrome and You (Part III)

On this week’s Two Month Review blog post, we’re exploring Part III: “The Yellow House” from Georgi Gospodinov’s The Physics of Sorrow. As was unanimous from the conversation between Chad, Brian, and Nick last week, this is where the magic of the book and the skill of Gospodinov as a writer truly start to shine. And ...

Two Month Review: #4.04: The Physics of Sorrow (Part III, Pgs 73-118)

To up the Bay Area sports content, we invited Nick Buzanski of Book Culture to come on and talk about one of his favorite sections of Georgi Gospodinov’s The Physics of Sorrow. They talk about community and storytelling, seeing movies in person, Gospodinov’s humor and beautiful writing, Gaustine’s wild ideas, sexy books ...

Context Is Everything

Given the length of yesterday’s post, I’m just going to jump right into things, starting with this handmade Excel spreadsheet showing the three-year rolling average of the total number of translations published in the first quarter (January-March) of every year since 2008.   That’s not the most illuminating ...

Everyone Needs an Editor

Before I get into the meat of this post—which is basically just a bunch of quotes and a handful of observations—I wanted to check back in on something from an earlier essay. Back in January, I wrote about Leïla Slimani’s The Perfect Nanny and basically assumed that it would be a best-seller. (There was also a lot of ...

Two Month Review: #4.03: The Physics of Sorrow (Part II, Pgs 59-72)

Caitlin Baker of the University Book Store in Seattle joined Chad and Brian to talk about this very short section of Georgi Gospodinov’s The Physics of Sorrow. Mostly they talk about the constant conflicts between kids and their parent in myths. And eating children. But it’s not as gruesome as all that! Mostly they have a ...

Less Than Deadly Serious

Every spring, I teach a class on “World Literature & Translation” in which we read ~10 new translations, talk to as many of the translators as possible, and then the students have to choose one of the books to win their imaginary “Best Translated Book Award.” It’s a great exercise—trying to explain why they ...

Two Month Review: #4.02: The Physics of Sorrow (Part I, Pgs 1-58)

Chad and Brian are joined by Tom Roberge of Riffraff (and the Three Percent Podcast) to discuss the first section of Georgi Gospodinov’s The Physics of Sorrow. They talk about the book’s general conceit, the minotaur myth, Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, Eastern European history, fascism and communism, and much ...

Noble Expectations

When I first decided to undertake this project of writing about one 2018 translation a week, I knew that there would come a week in which I didn’t finish the book that I had planned to write about. This might be due to time constraints, or simply because I didn’t feel like finishing the book in question. Well, it took ...

Making the List [BTBA 2018]

This week’s Best Translated Book Award post is from Tara Cheesman, a freelance book critic and National Book Critics Circle member whose recent reviews can be found at The Rumpus, Book Riot, Los Angeles Review of Books, and Quarterly Conversation. Since 2009 she’s written the blog Reader At Large (formerly BookSexy ...

Two Month Review: #4.01: The Physics of Sorrow (Introduction)

The new season of the Two Month Review kicks off now with a general overview Georgi Gospodinov’s The Physics of Sorrow, one of the most beloved books Open Letter has ever published. Brian’s on the lam, or in witness protection, or something, so Open Letter senior editor Kaija Straumanis stepped in to talk about one of the ...

Interview with Madame Nielsen

The following is an excerpt from an interview that was conducted by David Damrosch and Delia Ungureanu—both of Harvard University—with Madame Nielsen in Copenhagen this past July. If you would like to see the entire piece, email me at chad.post [at] rochester.edu David Damrosch: Across your career, your several ...

The Translation Industry Is Frozen

Before getting into the February translations, data on what’s being published (or not being published), and all the random stuff, I wanted to point out a few modifications to the Translation Database at Publishers Weekly that were recently implemented. First off, when you’re entering a title, you can now ...

Never Fact-Check a Listicle

Back when I kicked off my 2018 Translations series I chose to include Frankenstein in Baghdad by Ahmed Saadawi as the fourth book from January I would read and review. And why not? It won the 2014 International Prize for Arabic Fiction1 and came with pretty high praise. “A haunting allegory of man’s savagery against man ...

The Best Sports Novels Match Sport and Style

On some old episode of NPR’s All Songs Considered, Robin Hilton and Bob Boilen talked about their unique irresistible song elements. Those bits in songs that aren’t the main hook, or even an integral part of the song itself, but, when they appear, automatically make you like a particular song. Like, for me, if ...

A Best-seller Should Be Divisive

When I came up with my plan of reading (and writing about) a new translation every week, I wanted to try and force myself to read books that I would normally just skip over. There are definitely going to be months filled with books by New Directions, Coffee House, Dalkey Archive, etc., but to write about just those titles ...

In Favor of Translator Afterwords

As dumb as the content might be, there’s something to be said for hot takes in the sports world. Or maybe not the takes themselves—again, always dumb, always misguided, always loaded with bad suppositions and overly confident writing—but rather the situation in which you get to dissect and dismantle a hot take. It’s ...

Tabucchi in Portugal: On Tabucchi’s “Viaggi e altri viaggi” [an essay by Jeanne Bonner]

Jeanne Bonner is a writer, editor and journalist, and translator from the Italian now based in Connecticut. In the fall, she began teaching Italian at the University of Connecticut where she is also working on several translation projects. You can find out more about Jeanne and her work at her website here. It’s a travel ...

It’s 2018 and Where Have the Translations Gone?

Now that the Translation Database is over at Publishers Weekly, and in a format that makes it both possible to update in real time1 and much easier to query, I want to use it as the basis of a couple new regular columns here at Three Percent. First off, I want to get back to running monthly previews of translations. But, ...

I Don’t Know If Hilbig Actually Uses the Word “Pace” Anywhere in His Novel Old Rendering Plant [BTBA 2018]

This week’s BTBA post is from Adam Hetherington. He lives and works in Tulsa, Oklahoma and is the author of the forthcoming novel Ontogeny Is Beautiful. My clever idea was to very briefly quote him in the title of this blog, then claim that any extended quotation does him a disservice. I was going to tell you ...

Two Month Review #3.10: Death in Spring (pgs. 119-150)

Here it is, the infamous live recording at McNally Jackson! There was a great turnout to hear Brian, María Christina, and I work our way through our thoughts about Death in Spring, Rodoreda’s overall stature, the banning of the color yellow, and much more. We had a great time doing this, and thanks again to McNally ...

The Size of the World

Three generations of men—a storyteller, his father and his son—encompass this book’s world. . . . it is a world of historical confusion, illusion, and hope of three generations of Belgraders. The first and last sentences of the first chapter of The Size of the World give the reader the characters, setting, and ...

Latest Review: "The Size of the World" by Branko Anđić

The latest addition to our Reviews section is a piece by Jaimie Lau on The Size of the World by Branko Anđić, published by Geopoetika. Here’s the beginning of Jaimie’s review: The first and last sentences of the first chapter of The Size of the World give the reader the characters, setting, and ...

BTBA Gift Guide [BTBA 2018]

This post was compiled by BTBA judge P.T. Smith. From now until the announcement of the long list, we’ll be running one post a week from a BTBA judge, cycling through the nine of us. To launch those posts, just in time for the holidays (just in time, yes), here’s a gift guide. These are books that have stood out to ...

Two Month Review #3.9: Death in Spring (pgs. 69-118)

Mara Faye Lethem joins us this week to talk about Catalonia’s scatological obsession, the challenges of the current political situation, Max Besora’s wild novel, and Rodoreda’s triumphant return to the best-seller list. Then they get into a more autobiographical reading of this section of Death in Spring, a section ...

Two Month Review #3.8: Death in Spring (pgs. 28-68)

This week, fresh off a publication in the Boston Review, Jess Fenn (JR Fenn) joins Chad, Brian, and Best Translated Book Award judge Patrick Smith (P.T. Smith) to talk about the second part of Death in Spring. They trace a few motifs, talk about dystopias and literary world-building, and much more. Another very informative ...

Two Month Review #3.7: Death in Spring (pgs. 1-27)

Welcome to one of the strangest villages in all of fiction! Now that Chad and Brian have gone through the stories, they turn their attention to Rodoreda’s Death in Spring, which was published posthumously in 1986. They’re joined by Catalan researcher and translator Meg Berkobien and Anastasia Nikolis, who you ...

Two Month Review #3.6: Selected Stories (pgs. 208-255)

After yelling at Skype a bunch, Chad, Brian, and special guest Tom Flynn of Volumes Bookcafe discuss the merits of some of Rodoreda’s final stories, especially “The Thousand Franc Bill,” “Paralysis,” and “The Salamander.” Then they manage to slightly diss groups upon groups of ...

Two Month Review #3.5: Selected Stories (pgs. 144-207)

After doing a bit of a deeper dive into the situation in Catalonia—and discussing the LIVE recording that will take place on December 12th at the new McNally Jackson—Chad and Brian are joined by George Carroll to talk about this batch of Rodoreda’s stories. Although a couple of the stories discussed in this ...

Looking at Some Rodoreda Criticism [Two Month Review]

Coming up on this Thursday’s Two Month Review podcast I join Brian Wood and George Carroll to talk about some of the stranger, more war influenced, Rodoreda stories. Specifically, we talk about “Before I Die,” “Ada Liz,” “On a Dark Night,” “Night and Fog,” and ...

Two Month Review #3.4: Selected Stories (pgs. 103-143)

Things are a bit rough for Chad the morning after the Open Letter gala, but he powers through and talks about this new phase of Rodoreda’s stories. He and Brian break down some of the more challenging of her stories, including “Noctural” and “The Bath,” and talk about what does and doesn’t ...

Trying to Understand "Nocturnal" [Two Month Review]

Coming up on this Thursday’s Two Month Review podcast Brian and I go it alone and talk about six Rodoreda stories: “The Beginning,” “Nocturnal,” “The Red Blouse,” “The Fate of Lisa Sperling,” “The Bath,” and “On the Train.” On that podcast, we ...

Two Month Review #3.3: Selected Stories (pgs. 51-102)

This week, Mark Haber of Brazos Bookstore and the Best Translated Book Award committee joins Chad and Brian to talk about the next seven stories in Mercè Rodoreda’s collection. Although they touch on a number of them, a lot of time is spent focusing on “Carnival” and the literary antecedents to Rodoreda. ...

Two Month Review #3.2: Selected Stories (pgs. 1-50)

This week, Chad and Brian dive into the first six stories in Mercè Rodoreda’s Selected Stories and call up Quim Monzó, arguably the most important contemporary Catalan author, to talk about the precision and emotionality in her work. They also talk about Catalan literature as a whole, A Thousand Morons, Catalan ...

Two Month Review #3.1: Reunited! (Intro to Mercè Rodoreda)

Brian Wood is BACK. Complete with a poem he wrote in his time away from the Two Month Review . . . In the introduction to season three, Chad and Brian talk about Catalan literature (briefly), Mercè Rodoreda’s career and comps, possible approaches to discussing Rodoreda’s stories, and more. As noted ...

Two Month Review #2.10: 17, composition book (Tómas Jónsson, Bestseller, Pages 361-411)

Here it is—the infamous LIVE recording of the Two Month Review! Chad and Lytton travelled all the way to Brooklyn to record this episode as part of the “Taste of Iceland Festivities.” As a result, they recap the book as a whole and reflect on the speech from Iceland’s First Lady that prefaced the ...

Two Month Review #2.9: fourteen, fifteenth book, 16. notebook (Tómas Jónsson, Bestseller, Pages 306-360)

Icelandic novelist and poet Kári Tulinius joins Chad and Lytton this week to talk about three of the darkest sections of Tómas Jónsson, Bestseller and the history of this novel’s reception in Iceland. They also talk about the recent scandal that brought down the Icelandic government—and how it ties into Tómas ...

Wojciech Nowicki Tour!

This evening, at Volumes Bookcafe in Chicago, Wojciech Nowicki’s U.S. tour for Salki kicks off. A four-city tour spanning the next ten days, this is your one opportunity in 2017 to meet the author of the book about which Andrzej Stasiuk said, “Your skin will crawl with pleasure from ...

Two Month Review #2.8: this is the eleventh book, my 12th composition book, book 13 (Tómas Jónsson, Bestseller, Pages 282-305)

CORRECTION: Throughout this podcast, we joke about having recorded the final episode of the season live at Spoonbill & Sugartown last weekend. This is a lie! The live event will take place THIS SATURDAY (September 30, 2017) as part of the Taste of Iceland events. Eliza Reid, Iceland’s First Lady, will start things ...

Two Month Review #2.7: tenth composition book (Tómas Jónsson, Bestseller, Pages 238-281)

This week Patrick Smith (Best Translated Book Award judge, The Scofield) joins Chad and Lytton to talk about this incredibly powerful section of the book, which raises all sorts of topical ideas about adhering to national myths and the problems of masculinity. This is also the section where Hitler shows up, and where a ...

Two Month Review #2.6: IX. class A, tenth composition book (Tómas Jónsson, Bestseller, Pages 200-238)

This week Norwegian translator and ALTA Fellowship recipient David Smith joins Chad and Lytton to talk about the next forty pages of Tómas Jónsson, Bestseller. The two sections covered this week are wildly different from one another, opening with a much more fragmented, poetic bit then transitioning through a hilarious, yet ...

Latest Review: "Kingdom Cons" by Yuri Herrera

The latest addition to our Reviews section is a piece by Sarah Booker on Yuri Herrera’s Kingdom Cons, published by And Other Stories. Sarah Booker is a Spanish-to-English translator and doctoral student at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Her translation of Cristina Rivera Garza’s The Iliac Crest ...

Kingdom Cons

Yuri Herrera is overwhelming in the way that he sucks readers into his worlds, transporting them to a borderland that is at once mythical in its construction and powerfully recognizable as a reflection of its modern-day counterpart. Kingdom Cons, originally published in Spanish in 2004 and translated by Lisa Dillman, is ...

Two Month Review #2.5: tómas's seventh composition book, 8. (Tómas Jónsson, Bestseller, Pages 140-199)

This week author and translator Idra Novey joins Chad and Lytton to talk about one of the most challenging sections of the book so far. Not only is there a proliferation of children whose voices constantly interrupt Tómas’s thoughts, but there are a few more unsettling bits that raise questions about what we should ...

The Invented Part

Imagine reading a work that suddenly and very accurately calls out you, the reader, for not providing your full attention to the act of reading. Imagine how embarrassing it is when you, the reader, believe that you are engrossed in a work only to have the work identify and criticize your lack of attention. Yes, my phone was ...

Latest Review: “The Invented Part” by Rodrigo Fresán

The latest addition to our Reviews section is by Tiffany Nichols on The Invented Part by Rodrigo Fresán, published by Open Letter Books. Tiffany went all-in while reading The Invented Part, even keeping track of each time the title phrase was used, among other lists (which, considering the manner of the novel, I think ...

Two Month Review #2.4: fifth composition book, VI. (Tómas Jónsson, Bestseller, Pages 69-139)

This week, Jacob Rogers—translator from the Galician and bookseller at Malaprop’s in Asheville, North Carolina—joins Chad and Lytton to talk about Tómas Jónsson’s next two “composition books.” Included in these sections are a long bit about the “board” and the general ...

Perceived Humiliations, The Board, and the Dangers of Desire [Tómas Jónsson, Bestseller]

On this week’s Two Month Review podcast, we’ll be discussing the fifth composition book and VI (pages 69-139) from Tómas Jónsson, Bestseller. As a bit of preparation, below you’ll find some initial thoughts, observations, and quotes. You can also download this post as a PDF document. As always, ...

Two Month Review #2.3: IV composition book (Tómas Jónsson, Bestseller, Pages 32-68)

In this episode—covering Tómas Jónsson’s fourth composition book—a number of the themes of the overall novel are put on display: Tómas’s relationship to his body, the way he tries to create a narrative for himself, possible injustices he’s suffered during his life, the way his lodgers are like ...

The Body, Biographies, and Workplace Injustice! [Tómas Jónsson, Bestseller]

On this week’s Two Month Review podcast, we’ll be discussing the IV composition book (pages 32-68) from Tómas Jónsson, Bestseller. As a bit of preparation, below you’ll find some initial thoughts, observations, and quotes. You can also download this post as a PDF document. As always, you can get ...

Women in Translation Month [Throwback No.2]

As many of you may have noticed already, August is widely considered Women in Translation Month (look for the #WITMonth hashtag basically anywhere). Since Open Letter has published its fair share of baller women authors over the past ten years, we thought we’d take a few posts to highlight a handful of our all-time favorite ...

Two Month Review #2.2: Biography through Third Composition Book (Tómas Jónsson, Bestseller, Pages 1-31)

This week, Ph.D. candidate Anastasia Nikolis joins Chad and Lytton to talk about the real meat of Tómas Jónsson, Bestseller—chamber pot usage! They also discuss the way our grumpy narrator’s mind works, the way he finds beauty in ambiguity, how Lytton translated a very specific word game, and a couple cues to ...

A Simple Story: The Last Malambo

Leila Guerriero’s A Simple Story: The Last Malambo chronicles the unique ferocity of a national dance competition in Argentina. The dance, called the malambo, pushes the physical and mental limits of male competitors striving to become champions of not only the historical craft of the dance, but for their families and ...

The Biggest Update to the Translation Databases Ever (And Some More Women in Translation Data)

OK, I’m supposed to be packing for my summer vacation right now, so this is going to be a lot shorter than it otherwise would be. But! I just updated the Translation Databases! Not just the spreadsheets for 2016 and 2017, but every spreadsheet I’ve ever run. There’s up to date info on 2008-2018 AND new ...

Women in Translation Month [Throwback No.1]

As many of you may have noticed already, August is widely considered Women in Translation Month (look for the #WITMonth hashtag basically anywhere). Since Open Letter has published its fair share of baller women authors over the past ten years, we thought we’d take a few posts to highlight a handful of our all-time ...

Where (and When) Are We? [Tómas Jónsson, Bestseller]

On this week’s Two Month Review podcast, we’ll be discussing the Biography, first composition book, second book, and third composition book (pages 1-31) from Tómas Jónsson, Bestseller. As a bit of preparation, below you’ll find some initial thoughts, observations, and quotes. You can also download this ...

Two Month Review #2.1: Introduction to Tómas Jónsson, Bestseller

And with this episode, we launch the second season of the Two Month Review! Over a ten-week period, we will be breaking down Tómas Jónsson, Bestseller by Guðbergur Bergsson, helping explain and explore what makes this book (often referred to as “Iceland’s Ulysses”) so influential and interesting. This ...

Women in Translation Month 2017

I just finished entering in all the data for the Translation Database (super huge mega astonishing absolute extreme update to come), I thought I’d run a few quick reports for Women in Translation Month. First off, the big one: For the data I’ve collected between 2008-20181 only 28.7% of the translations in the ...

"Tómas Jónsson, Bestseller" Reading Schedule [Two Month Review]

The first episode in the new season of the Two Month Review will release on Thursday, and in case you haven’t already heard, for the next ten weeks we’ll be discussing Tómas Jónsson, Bestseller by Guðbergur Bergsson. We have a Goodreads group set up to talk about about this, so feel free to join in and ...

The Little Buddhist Monk & The Proof

Aira continues to surprise and delight in his latest release from New Directions, which collects two novellas: the first, The Little Buddhist Monk, a fairly recent work from 2005, and The Proof, an earlier work from 1989. There are a number of similarities to be sure—they both revolve around the sudden but intense ...

Two Month Review #12: The Author Himself!

As a special bonus episode, both Rodrigo Fresán and Will Vanderhyden joined Chad and Brian to talk about The Invented Part as a whole, the first season of the Two Month Review, what’s next in the trilogy, technology’s revenge on Rodrigo, David Lynch, and, how to write jacket copy. Feel free to comment on ...

Two Month Review #11: "The Imaginary Person" (The Invented Part, Pages 441-552)

We did it! After two months, eleven episodes, and a half dozen different guests, Brian and Chad finished their discussion of Rodrigo Fresán’s The Invented Part! Joining them this week to wrap things up is Valerie Miles, translator, publisher, co-founder of Granta en Español, and editor of A Thousand Forests in One ...

Interview with Rodrigo Fresán (Part V)

If you’d rather read this podcast in one document, just dowload this PDF. Otherwise, click here to find all four of the earlier pieces along with a bunch of other Two Month Review posts about The Invented Part. Special thanks to Will Vanderhyden for conducting—and translating—this ...

Class

The thing about Class is that I don’t know what the hell to think about it, yet I can’t stop thinking about it. I’ll begin by dispensing with the usual info that one may want to know when considering adding the book to their “to read” list. Written by Francesco Pacifico. Translated by Francesco Pacifico. Published ...

Airplanes, Hyphellipses, and What's Next? [The Invented Part]

On this week’s Two Month Review podcast, we’ll be discussing the seventh, and final, part of The Invented Part (“The Imaginary Person,” pages 441-552). As a bit of preparation, below you’ll find some initial thoughts, observations, and quotes. You can also download this post as a PDF ...

Two Month Review #10: "Meanwhile, Once Again, Beside the Museum Stairway, Under a Big Sky" (The Invented Part, Pages 405-440)

It’s another 2MR review with just Chad and Brian! Similar to the last guest-less podcast, this one goes a bit off the rails . . . Although this time around it gets a lot darker, as they talk about Chekov, Girl, Night, Swimming Pool, Etc., a scream descending from the skies, John Cheever’s writing prompt, and much ...

I See You [The Invented Part]

On this week’s Two Month Review podcast, we’ll be discussing the sixth part of The Invented Part (“Meanwhile, Once Again, Beside the Museum Stairway, Under a Big Day,” pages 405-440). As a bit of preparation, below you’ll find some initial thoughts, observations, and quotes. You can also ...

Two Month Review #9: "Life After People, or Notes For a Brief History of Progressive Rock and Science Fiction" (The Invented Part, Pages 361-404)

On this week’s Two Month Review, Tom Roberge from Riffraff and the Three Percent Podcast joins Chad and Brian talk about 2001: A Space Odyssey, Pink Floyd, potential errors and non-errors, cultural touchstones that serve to define friendships, the overall structure of this chapter of The Invented Part, and Tom’s ...

Interview with Rodrigo Fresán (Part IV)

This is the fourth of a five-part interview with Rodrigo Fresán. Earlier parts are all avialble on the Three Percent website (I, II, and III), as are all other Two Month Review posts. Special thanks to Will Vanderhyden for conducting—and translating—this interview. Will Vanderhyden: The narrator of ...

"Tomás Jónsson, Bestseller" Release Day!

Fans of challenging, cerebral, modernist epics, rejoice! Today marks the official release date of Tómas Jónsson, Bestseller by Guðbergur Bergsson, a masterpiece of twentieth-century Icelandic literature, the fifth Icelandic work Open Letter has published to date. This is a book that is sure to launch a thousand ...

Structure, Time, Memory, and the Sadness of a Disillusioned Writer [The Invented Part]

On this week’s Two Month Review podcast, we’ll be discussing the fifth part of The Invented Part (“Life After People, or Notes for a Brief History of Progressive Rock and Science Fiction,” pages 361-404). As a bit of preparation, below you’ll find some initial thoughts, observations, and ...

Two Month Review #8: "Many Fêtes, or Study for a Group Portrait with Broken Decalogues" (The Invented Part, Pages 301-360)

On this week’s Two Month Review, Chad and Brian talk about F. Scott Fitzgerald and Tender Is the Night, puzzles, how to properly introduce the show, the Modern Library list of top 100 novels of the twentieth century, Booth Tarkington, and much more more. Feel free to comment on this episode—or on the book in ...

The Inverted Part [Two Month Review: The Invented Part]

On this week’s Two Month Review podcast, we’ll be discussing the fourth part of The Invented Part (“Many Fêtes, or Study for a Group Portrait with Broken Decalogues,” pagest 301-360). As a bit of preparation, below you’ll find some initial thoughts, observations, and quotes. You can also ...

Two Month Review #7: "A Few Things You Happen to Think About When All You Want Is to Think About Nothing" (The Invented Part, Pages 231-300)

This week, Jonathan Lethem (Motherless Brooklyn, Chronic City) joins Chad and Brian to talk about The Writer’s trip to a hospital, where he assumes something horrible is happening, which is countered by a gushing forth of new story ideas. Jonathan tells of his own experience coming up with one of his most famous books ...

Portraits of Rage and Mortality [Two Month Review: The Invented Part]

On this week’s Two Month Review podcast, we’ll be discussing the third part (“A Few Things You Happen to Think About When All You Want Is to Think About Nothing”) of The Invented Part . As a bit of preparation, below you’ll find some initial thoughts, observations, and quotes. You can also ...

Two Month Review #6: "The Place Where the Sea Ends So the Forest Can Begin: Part 3" (The Invented Part, Pages 208-230)

This week, Speculative Fiction in Translation founder and Best Translated Book Award judge Rachel Cordasco joins Chad and Brian to talk about the nature of time, deals with the devil, conflagrations, and writerly desires, or, in other words, the third part of “The Place Where the Sea Ends So the Forest Can Begin” ...

Interview with Rodrigo Fresán (Part III)

You can read the first part of this interview here, the second here, and you can click here for all Two Month Review posts. Special thanks to Will Vanderhyden for conducting—and translating—this interview. Will Vanderhyden: Your fiction wears its influences on its sleeve, but not only do you fully ...

Who Wants to Be a Writer? [Two Month Review: The Invented Part]

On this week’s Two Month Review podcast, we’ll be discussing the third chapter of the second part (“The Place Where the Sea Ends So the Forest Can Begin”) of The Invented Part . As a bit of preparation, below you’ll find some initial thoughts, observations, and quotes. You can also download ...

Two Month Review #5: "The Place Where the Sea Ends So the Forest Can Begin: Part 2" (The Invented Part, Pages 99-207)

This week’s episode is all about Penelope and her experiences with the Karmas. (And a Big Green Cow.) A lot of the Odyssey, Wuthering Heights, and William Burroughs are in this section, which is hilariously dissected by Brian, Chad, and their guest, Tom Flynn, the manager of Volumes Bookcafe in Chicago. One of the ...

Let's Get Weird [Two Month Review: The Invented Part]

On last Thursday’s Two Month Review podcast we covered the opening to the second section of The Invented Part, and coming up later this week we’ll be covering pages 99-207—the second section of “The Place Where the Sea Ends So the Forest Can Begin.” As a bit of preparation, below you’ll ...

Two Month Review #4: "The Place Where the Sea Ends So the Forest Can Begin: Part 1" (The Invented Part, Pages 46-98)

This week, author and journalist Mark Binelli joins Chad and Brian to discuss the first part of the second section of Rodrigo Fresán’s The Invented Part. In “The Place Where the Seas Ends So the Forest Can Begin,” we meet The Young Man and The Young Woman, who are making a movie about The Writer after his ...

Interview with Rodrigo Fresán (Part II)

You can read the first part of this interview here, and you can click here for all Two Month Review posts. Special thanks to Will Vanderhyden for conducting—and translating—this interview. Will Vanderhyden: Now, this is a question that, in a way, the book takes as its point of departure—so it might make ...

Two Month Review #3: "The Real Character" (The Invented Part, Pages 1-45)

This week, Jeremy Garber from Powells Books joins Chad and Brian to discuss the first section of Rodrigo Fresán’s The Invented Part. This section, entitled “The Real Character,” introduces us to the main character of the book—known here as The Boy, and later as The Writer—as well as some of the ...

Interview with Rodrigo Fresán (Part I)

As you hopefully already know, for the next two months we’ll be producing a weekly podcast and a series of posts all about Rodrigo Fresán’s The Invented Part. All grouped under the title “Two Month Review,” this initiative is part book club, part exercise in slow reading, and part opportunity to ...

The Worlds of João Gilberto Noll: Adam Morris in discussion with Scott Esposito

Join us at City Lights Booksellers on May 18 for a reading from Atlantic Hotel, along with an intriguing conversation delving into modern-day Brazil, Noll’s influences (including Clarice Lispector), his mysterious protagonists, and the challenges of translating his labyrinthine, twisty sentences into English. When: May ...

"The Invented Part" by Rodrigo Fresán

Given all the Two Month Review posts and everything else, hopefully you’ll have heard of Rodrigo Fresán’s The Invented Part by now. But in case you haven’t, below you’ll find the press release that we sent out with copies of the book to all reviewers and booksellers. (If you’re a bookseller or ...

Two Month Review #2: Introducing Rodrigo Fresán's "The Invented Part"

Translator Will Vanderhyden joins Chad and Brian to provide an overview of Rodrigo Fresán’s work—especially The Invented Part. They discuss some of his earlier works (including Kensington Gardens, which is available in an English translation), different pop culture touchstones running throughout his oeuvre, ...

Three Percent Podcast Launches "Two Month Review"

After six years and almost one hundred and thirty episodes, the Three Percent Podcast is expanding to include new weekly “Two Month Review” mini-episodes. Each “season” of the Two Month Review podcasts will highlight a different Open Letter book, reading it slowly over the course of eight to nine episodes. ...

Why These Fiction Finalists Should Win [BTBA 2017]

We’re just over a week away from the announcement of the Best Translated Book Award winners1, so it’s a good time to start ramping up the speculation. Tomorrow I’ll post about the poetry finalists, and give updated odds on the entire shortlist on Thursday, but for today, I thought it would be worthwhile to ...

Win a Copy of "Salki" by Wojiech Nowicki from GoodReads!

As you can see below, we’re giving away 15 copies of Nowicki’s Salki via GoodReads. Translated by University of Rochester graduate Jan Pytalksi, Nowicki’s book has been praised by the likes of such literary luminaries as Andrzej Stasiuk, who said, “It all blends here unexpectedly: that past and memory ...

“A Spare Life” by Lidija Dimkovska [Why This Book Should Win]

Between the announcement of the Best Translated Book Award longlists and the unveiling of the finalists, we will be covering all thirty-five titles in the Why This Book Should Win series. Enjoy learning about all the various titles selected by the fourteen fiction and poetry judges, and I hope you find a few to purchase and ...

“Extracting the Stone of Madness” by Alejandra Pizarnik [Why This Book Should Win]

Between the announcement of the Best Translated Book Award longlists and the unveiling of the finalists, we will be covering all thirty-five titles in the Why This Book Should Win series. Enjoy learning about all the various titles selected by the fourteen fiction and poetry judges, and I hope you find a few to purchase and ...

“tasks” by Víctor Rodríguez Núñez [Why This Book Should Win]

Between the announcement of the Best Translated Book Award longlists and the unveiling of the finalists, we will be covering all thirty-five titles in the Why This Book Should Win series. Enjoy learning about all the various titles selected by the fourteen fiction and poetry judges, and I hope you find a few to purchase and ...

“War and Turpentine” by Stefan Hertmans [Why This Book Should Win]

Between the announcement of the Best Translated Book Award longlists and the unveiling of the finalists, we will be covering all thirty-five titles in the Why This Book Should Win series. Enjoy learning about all the various titles selected by the fourteen fiction and poetry judges, and I hope you find a few to purchase and ...

“Moshi Moshi” by Banana Yoshimoto [Why This Book Should Win]

Between the announcement of the Best Translated Book Award longlists and the unveiling of the finalists, we will be covering all thirty-five titles in the Why This Book Should Win series. Enjoy learning about all the various titles selected by the fourteen fiction and poetry judges, and I hope you find a few to purchase and ...

“Doomi Golo: The Hidden Notebooks” by Boubacar Boris Diop [Why This Book Should Win]

Between the announcement of the Best Translated Book Award longlists and the unveiling of the finalists, we will be covering all thirty-five titles in the Why This Book Should Win series. Enjoy learning about all the various titles selected by the fourteen fiction and poetry judges, and I hope you find a few to purchase and ...

“Eve Out of Her Ruins” by Ananda Devi [Why This Book Should Win]

Between the announcement of the Best Translated Book Award longlists and the unveiling of the finalists, we will be covering all thirty-five titles in the Why This Book Should Win series. Enjoy learning about all the various titles selected by the fourteen fiction and poetry judges, and I hope you find a few to purchase and ...

Reading the World Conversation Series with Bae Suah

On May 1st, South Korean author Bae Suah (Recitation, A Greater Music, Nowhere to Be Found, and the forthcoming North Station) will be in Rochester, NY for TWO Reading the World Conversation Series events. The first will take place in the Humanities Center at Rush Rhees Library on the University of Rochester’s ...

“Zama” by Antonio Di Benedetto [Why This Book Should Win]

Between the announcement of the Best Translated Book Award longlists and the unveiling of the finalists, we will be covering all thirty-five titles in the Why This Book Should Win series. Enjoy learning about all the various titles selected by the fourteen fiction and poetry judges, and I hope you find a few to purchase and ...

“The Young Bride” by Alessandro Baricco [Why This Book Should Win]

Between the announcement of the Best Translated Book Award longlists and the unveiling of the finalists, we will be covering all thirty-five titles in the Why This Book Should Win series. Enjoy learning about all the various titles selected by the fourteen fiction and poetry judges, and I hope you find a few to purchase and ...

“Oblivion” by Sergi Lebedev [Why This Book Should Win]

Between the announcement of the Best Translated Book Award longlists and the unveiling of the finalists, we will be covering all thirty-five titles in the Why This Book Should Win series. Enjoy learning about all the various titles selected by the fourteen fiction and poetry judges, and I hope you find a few to purchase and ...

“Angel of Oblivion” by Maja Haderlap [Why This Book Should Win]

Between the announcement of the Best Translated Book Award longlists and the unveiling of the finalists, we will be covering all thirty-five titles in the Why This Book Should Win series. Enjoy learning about all the various titles selected by the fourteen fiction and poetry judges, and I hope you find a few to purchase and ...

“In Praise of Defeat” by Abdellatif Laâbi [Why This Book Should Win]

Between the announcement of the Best Translated Book Award longlists and the unveiling of the finalists, we will be covering all thirty-five titles in the Why This Book Should Win series. Enjoy learning about all the various titles selected by the fourteen fiction and poetry judges, and I hope you find a few to purchase and ...

Some Recent Open Letter Publicity

We don’t post these updates near as frequently as we should, but here’s a rundown of some interesting recent publicity pieces for our books. Frontier by Can Xue, translated from the Chinese by Karen Gernant and Chen Zeping Interview between Can Xue and Porochista Khakpour (Words Without ...

“Why This Book Should Win” So Far . . .

Unless someone surprises me with a new write-up, we don’t have any Why This Book Should Win posts for today. That leaves fifteen books to be covered next week, leading us right into the April 18th announcement of the BTBA fiction and poetry finalists. But for today, I thought I’d just post links to all twenty of the ...

“Thus Bad Begins” by Javier Marías [Why This Book Should Win]

Between the announcement of the Best Translated Book Award longlists and the unveiling of the finalists, we will be covering all thirty-five titles in the Why This Book Should Win series. Enjoy learning about all the various titles selected by the fourteen fiction and poetry judges, and I hope you find a few to purchase and ...

“Berlin-Hamlet” by Szilárd Borbély [Why This Book Should Win]

Between the announcement of the Best Translated Book Award longlists and the unveiling of the finalists, we will be covering all thirty-five titles in the Why This Book Should Win series. Enjoy learning about all the various titles selected by the fourteen fiction and poetry judges, and I hope you find a few to purchase and ...

“The Thief of Talant” by Pierre Reverdy [Why This Book Should Win]

Between the announcement of the Best Translated Book Award longlists and the unveiling of the finalists, we will be covering all thirty-five titles in the Why This Book Should Win series. Enjoy learning about all the various titles selected by the fourteen fiction and poetry judges, and I hope you find a few to purchase and ...

“Among Strange Victims” by Daniel Saldaña París [Why This Book Should Win]

Between the announcement of the Best Translated Book Award longlists and the unveiling of the finalists, we will be covering all thirty-five titles in the Why This Book Should Win series. Enjoy learning about all the various titles selected by the fourteen fiction and poetry judges, and I hope you find a few to purchase and ...

“Night Prayers” by Santiago Gamboa [Why This Book Should Win]

Between the announcement of the Best Translated Book Award longlists and the unveiling of the finalists, we will be covering all thirty-five titles in the Why This Book Should Win series. Enjoy learning about all the various titles selected by the fourteen fiction and poetry judges, and I hope you find a few to purchase and ...

“On the Edge” by Rafael Chirbes [Why This Book Should Win]

Between the announcement of the Best Translated Book Award longlists and the unveiling of the finalists, we will be covering all thirty-five titles in the Why This Book Should Win series. Enjoy learning about all the various titles selected by the fourteen fiction and poetry judges, and I hope you find a few to purchase and ...

“In the Café of Lost Youth” by Patrick Modiano [Why This Book Should Win]

Between the announcement of the Best Translated Book Award longlists and the unveiling of the finalists, we will be covering all thirty-five titles in the Why This Book Should Win series. Enjoy learning about all the various titles selected by the fourteen fiction and poetry judges, and I hope you find a few to purchase and ...

“Last Wolf and Herman” by László Krasznahorkai [Why This Book Should Win]

Between the announcement of the Best Translated Book Award longlists and the unveiling of the finalists, we will be covering all thirty-five titles in the Why This Book Should Win series. Enjoy learning about all the various titles selected by the fourteen fiction and poetry judges, and I hope you find a few to purchase and ...

“Of Things” by Michael Donhauser [Why This Book Should Win]

Between the announcement of the Best Translated Book Award longlists and the unveiling of the finalists, we will be covering all thirty-five titles in the Why This Book Should Win series. Enjoy learning about all the various titles selected by the fourteen fiction and poetry judges, and I hope you find a few to purchase and ...

“Instructions Within” by Ashraf Fayadh [Why This Book Should Win]

Between the announcement of the Best Translated Book Award longlists and the unveiling of the finalists, we will be covering all thirty-five titles in the Why This Book Should Win series. Enjoy learning about all the various titles selected by the fourteen fiction and poetry judges, and I hope you find a few to purchase and ...

“Umami” by Laia Jufresa [Why This Book Should Win]

Between the announcement of the Best Translated Book Award longlists and the unveiling of the finalists, we will be covering all thirty-five titles in the Why This Book Should Win series. Enjoy learning about all the various titles selected by the fourteen fiction and poetry judges, and I hope you find a few to purchase and ...

“Moonstone: The Boy Who Never Was” by Sjón [Why This Book Should Win]

Between the announcement of the Best Translated Book Award longlists and the unveiling of the finalists, we will be covering all thirty-five titles in the Why This Book Should Win series. Enjoy learning about all the various titles selected by the fourteen fiction and poetry judges, and I hope you find a few to purchase and ...

“The Queue” by Basma Abdel Aziz [Why This Book Should Win]

Between the announcement of the Best Translated Book Award longlists and the unveiling of the finalists, we will be covering all thirty-five titles in the Why This Book Should Win series. Enjoy learning about all the various titles selected by the fourteen fiction and poetry judges, and I hope you find a few to purchase and ...

“Super Extra Grande” by Yoss [Why This Book Should Win]

Between the announcement of the Best Translated Book Award longlists and the unveiling of the finalists, we will be covering all thirty-five titles in the Why This Book Should Win series. Enjoy learning about all the various titles selected by the fourteen fiction and poetry judges, and I hope you find a few to purchase and ...

“Chronicle of the Murdered House” by Lúcio Cardoso [Why This Book Should Win]

Between the announcement of the Best Translated Book Award longlists and the unveiling of the finalists, we will be covering all thirty-five titles in the Why This Book Should Win series. Enjoy learning about all the various titles selected by the fourteen fiction and poetry judges, and I hope you find a few to purchase and ...

“Memoirs of a Polar Bear” by Yoko Tawada [Why This Book Should Win]

Between the announcement of the Best Translated Book Award longlists and the unveiling of the finalists, we will be covering all thirty-five titles in the Why This Book Should Win series. Enjoy learning about all the various titles selected by the fourteen fiction and poetry judges, and I hope you find a few to purchase and ...

“Ladivine” by Marie NDiaye [Why This Book Should Win]

Between the announcement of the Best Translated Book Award longlists and the unveiling of the finalists, we will be covering all thirty-five titles in the Why This Book Should Win series. Enjoy learning about all the various titles selected by the fourteen fiction and poetry judges, and I hope you find a few to purchase and ...

“My Marriage” by Jakob Wassermann [Why This Book Should Win]

Between the announcement of the Best Translated Book Award longlists and the unveiling of the finalists, we will be covering all thirty-five titles in the Why This Book Should Win series. Enjoy learning about all the various titles selected by the fourteen fiction and poetry judges, and I hope you find a few to purchase and ...

“Vampire in Love” by Enrique Vila-Matas [Why This Book Should Win]

Between the announcement of the Best Translated Book Award longlists and the unveiling of the finalists, we will be covering all thirty-five titles in the Why This Book Should Win series. Enjoy learning about all the various titles selected by the fourteen fiction and poetry judges, and I hope you find a few to purchase and ...

“Wicked Weeds” by Pedro Cabiya [Why This Book Should Win]

Between the announcement of the Best Translated Book Award longlists and the unveiling of the finalists, we will be covering all thirty-five titles in the Why This Book Should Win series. Enjoy learning about all the various titles selected by the fourteen fiction and poetry judges, and I hope you find a few to purchase and ...

BTBA 2017 Fiction Longlist Clues [Day One]

Next Tuesday, March 28th, over at The Millions, this year’s Best Translated Book Award longlists will finally be unveiled. So let the countdown begin! This really is a great time of year for international fiction—the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize Man Booker International Longlist was released last week, as ...

PEN Translation Awards

This morning, PEN America announced the winners of all its literary awards, including two for literature in translation: the PEN Translation Prize for a book-length translation of prose into English, which was won by BTBA judge Tess Lewis for her translation of Angel of Oblivion by Maja Haderlap, and the PEN Award for Poetry ...

Likes of the Future Are Shaped by Likes of the Past

As in past weeks here’s a PDF version of this post, which might be a lot easier to read. Two years ago, Yale University Press released The Dirty Dust, Alan Titley’s translation of Máirtín Ó Cadhain’s Cré na Cille, a supposedly “untranslatable” masterpiece of Irish literature. This past ...

Translation Lab 2017

Attached below is all the necessary information and details for for anyone interested in applying for the Translation Lab at Writers Omi at Ledig House. A couple of our translators have participated in this in the past, and they absolutely loved it. So if you’re at all interested, you should definitely ...

BTBA 2017, This Issue: The Body

This week’s Best Translated Book Award post is by Lori Feathers, an Assistant Managing Editor at Asymptote, freelance book critic and member of the National Book Critics Circle. Follow her online @LoriFeathers. For more information on the BTBA, “like” our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter. And check back here ...

"Moonstone" by Sjón [BTBA 2017]

This week’s Best Translated Book Award post is by Mark Haber of Brazos Bookstore. For more information on the BTBA, “like” our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter. And check back here each week for a new post by one of the judges. Small in size and epic in scale, Moonstone is Sjón’s fourth ...

Translating Cuban Literature in the Twenty-first Century [BTBA 2017]

George Henson is a translator of contemporary Latin American and Spanish prose, a contributing editor for World Literature Today and Asymptote, and a lecturer at the University of Oklahoma. For more information on the BTBA, “like” our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter. And check back here each week for a ...

Chronicle of the Murdered House by Lucio Cardoso [Biographical Note]

The pub date for Chronicle of the Murdered House by Lúcio Cardoso, which is translated from the Portuguese by Margaret Jull Costa and Robin Patterson, with a biographical note from Ben Moser officially came out on Tuesday, December 13th. To celebrate the release of this Brazilian masterpiece, we’ll be running a series ...

Chronicle of the Murdered House by Lucio Cardoso [Early Reviews]

The pub date for Chronicle of the Murdered House by Lúcio Cardoso, which is translated from the Portuguese by Margaret Jull Costa and Robin Patterson, with a biographical note from Ben Moser officially came out on Tuesday, December 13th. To celebrate the release of this Brazilian masterpiece, we’ll be running a series of ...

Chronicle of the Murdered House by Lucio Cardoso [Excerpt]

The pub date for Chronicle of the Murdered House by Lúcio Cardoso, which is translated from the Portuguese by Margaret Jull Costa and Robin Patterson, with a biographical note from Ben Moser officially came out on Tuesday, December 13th. To celebrate the release of this Brazilian masterpiece, we’ll be running a series ...

Polar Bears and Cyborg Turtles: Some Non-Human Narrative Perspectives [BTBA 2017]

This week’s Best Translated Book Award post is by reader, writer, and BTBA judge Rachel Cordasco. For more information on the BTBA, “like” our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter. And check back here each week for a new post by one of the judges. I’ve only come across two books this year that ...

Thus Bad Begins [BTBA 2017]

This week’s Best Translated Book Award post is by Mark Haber of Brazos Bookstore. For more information on the BTBA, “like” our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter. And check back here each week for a new post by one of the judges. Thus Bad Begins by Javier Marias, translated from the Spanish by ...

The Architecture of Time, Space and Imagination by Monica Carter

Monica Carter is a freelance critic whose nonfiction has appeared in publications including Black Clock, World Literature Today, and Foreword Reviews. She curates Salonica World Lit, which is a virtual journal dedicated to international literature and culture. For more information on the BTBA, “like” our ...

The Subsidiary

The biggest issues with books like The Subsidiary often have to do with their underpinnings—when we learn that Georges Perec wrote La Disparition without once using the letter E, we are impressed. Imagine such a task! It takes a high level of commitment and talent to pull that off. But I’m going to be very honest here: ...

BTBA Favorites So Far by Jennifer Croft

This week’s post is by Jennifer Croft who is the recipient of Fulbright, PEN, MacDowell and National Endowment for the Arts grants and fellowships, as well as the Michael Henry Heim Prize for Translation. She holds a PhD from Northwestern University and an MFA from the University of Iowa. She is a founding editor of The ...

Still Time to Participate in the 2nd Annual Open Letter Celebration

As hopefully everyone knows, we’re taking advantage of the travel day in the NLCS to throw a little fundraising party for Open Letter. If you’re in Rochester, you should definitely come out to the German House tonight at 8 for food, booze, palm readings, music, and presenations by Rochester visionaries. Tickets ...

Early Gems in the Hunt for the Best Translated Fiction of 2016! [BTBA 2017]

This week’s Best Translated Book Award post is by Lori Feathers, anAssistant Managing Editor at Asymptote, freelance book critic and member of the National Book Critics Circle. Follow her online @LoriFeathers. For more information on the BTBA, “like” our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter. And check back ...

"One of Us Is Sleeping" by Josefine Klougart [An Open Letter Book to Read]

This is the third entry in a series that will eventually feature all of the titles Open Letter has published to date. Catch up on past entries by clicking here. Last week’s entry was a pretty solid Chad rant involving the incredible Maidenhair by Mikhail Shishkin. Definitely check that one out. By contrast, this ...

"Neo-Noir, Violence, and Argentine Resort Towns" w/ Andrea G. Labinger

“Neo-Noir, Violence, and Argentine Resort Towns” Translator Andrea G. Labinger (recipient of a PEN Heim award for Gesell Dome) and Kaija Straumanis (editor, Open Letter Books) discuss the Dashiell Hammett Award-winning novel Gesell Dome, a neo-noir set in an Argentine resort town during the off-season. When the ...

Maidenhair by Mikhail Shishkin [An Open Letter Book to Read]

This is the second entry in a series that will eventually feature all of the titles Open Letter has published to date. Catch up on past entries by clicking here. Last week’s entry was about Gesell Dome by Guillermo Saccomanno. Maidenhair by Mikhail Shishkin, translated from the Russian by Marian ...

Read Local: Supporting Rochester Presses and Making Events Fun Again

Although we referenced Read Local in the write up of Josefine Klougart’s tour, I haven’t really explained what it is here, or why I think it could be a really exciting thing for Rochester. Just to as not to bury the lede, the first Read Local event is Friday, September 23rd at 6pm at Nox Cocktail Lounge. ...

Death by Water

Death by Water, Kenzaburo Oe’s latest novel to be translated into English, practically begs you to read it as autobiography. Like The Changeling, as well as many other works not yet released in English, Death by Water is narrated in the first person by Kogito Choko, a septuagenarian writer with published works including ...

Latest Review: "Death by Water" by Kenzaburo Oe

The latest addition to our Reviews section is by Will Eells on Kenzaburo Oe’s Death by Water, published by Grove Press. Here’s the beginning of Will’s review: Death by Water, Kenzaburo Oe’s latest novel to be translated into English, practically begs you to read it as autobiography. Like The ...

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Three Percent #115: From the BTBAs to the Soccer Pitch

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 ...

Why This Book Should Win 2016 [COMPLETE]

It took a bit longer than planned, but we did it! There are now “Why This Book Should Win” write-ups for all 35 books that were longlisted for the 2016 Best Translated Book Award. Browse through these, find a few to read, and tune in to The Millions tomorrow at 7pm to find out who won. To make it easier to ...

"Silvina Ocampo" by Silvina Ocampo [Why This Book Should Win]

This entry in the Why This Book Should Win series, is by Katrine Øgaard Jensen, BTBA judge, journalist, writer, and translator from the Danish. She previously served as editor-in-chief of Columbia: A Journal of Literature and Art and as blog editor at Asymptote and Words without Borders. She is currently an editor at the ...

“Minute-Operas” by Frédéric Forte [Why This Book Should Win]

This entry in the Why This Book Should Win series, is by Becka Mara McKay, BTBA judge, author (A Meteorologist in the Promised Land, Happiness Is the New Bedtime), translator (Laundry, Blue Has No South, Lunar Savings Time), and director of the Creative Writing MFA at Florida Atlantic University. We will be running two (or ...

“Sea Summit” by Yi Lu [Why This Book Should Win]

This entry in the Why This Book Should Win series, is by Becka Mara McKay, BTBA judge, author (A Meteorologist in the Promised Land, Happiness Is the New Bedtime), translator (Laundry, Blue Has No South, Lunar Savings Time), and director of the Creative Writing MFA at Florida Atlantic University. We will be running two (or ...

"The Black Flower and Other Zapotec Poems" by Natalia Toledo [Why This Book Should Win]

This entry in the Why This Book Should Win series, is by Katrine Øgaard Jensen, BTBA judge, journalist, writer, and translator from the Danish. She previously served as editor-in-chief of Columbia: A Journal of Literature and Art and as blog editor at Asymptote and Words without Borders. She is currently an editor at the ...

“The Four Books” by Yan Lianke [Why This Book Should Win]

This entry in the Why This Book Should Win series, is by Monica Carter, former BTBA judge and writer whose fiction has appeared in The Rattling Wall, Black Clock, Writers Tribe Review, and other publications. She is a freelance critic whose work has appeared in World Literature Today, Black Clock and Foreword Reviews. She is ...

“The Nomads, My Brothers, Go Out to Drink from the Big Dipper” by Abdourahman A. Waberi [Why This Book Should Win]

This entry in the Why This Book Should Win series, is by Tess Lewis, BTBA judge, writer, translator from the French and German, and an advisory editor of the Hudson Review. We will be running two (or more!) of these posts every business day leading up to the announcement of the finalists.   The Nomads, My Brothers, ...

“The Body Where I Was Born” by Guadalupe Nettel [Why This Book Should Win]

This entry in the Why This Book Should Win series is by Charlotte Whittle, translator, and editor at Cardboard House Press. We will be running two (or more!) of these posts every business day leading up to the announcement of the finalists.   The Body Where I Was Born by Guadalupe Nettel, translated from the ...

“Load Poems Like Guns,” compiled and translated by Farzana Marie [Why This Book Should Win]

This entry in the Why This Book Should Win series is by Deborah Smith, BTBA judge, translator from the Korean, and founder of Tilted Axis Press. We will be running two (or more!) of these posts every business day leading up to the announcement of the finalists.   Load Poems Like Guns: Women’s Poetry from Herat, ...

“The Big Green Tent” by Ludmila Ulitskaya [Why This Book Should Win]

This entry in the Why This Book Should Win series is by Stacey Knecht, BTBA judge and translator from the Czech and Dutch. We will be running two (or more!) of these posts every business day leading up to the announcement of the finalists.   The Big Green Tent by Ludmila Ulitskaya, translated from the Russian by ...

“The Things We Don’t Do” by Andrés Neuman [Why This Book Should Win]

This entry in the Why This Book Should Win series is by Tiffany Nichols, who will start her Ph.D. studies this upcoming fall and is a contributor at to Three Percent. We will be running two (or more!) of these posts every business day leading up to the announcement of the finalists.   The Things We Don’t Do by ...

“The Story of My Teeth” by Valeria Luiselli [Why This Book Should Win]

This entry in the Why This Book Should Win series is by Amanda Bullock, BTBA judge and director of public programs at Literary Arts, Portland. We will be running two (or more!) of these posts every business day leading up to the announcement of the finalists.   The Story of My Teeth by Valeria Luiselli, translated ...

“The Sleep of the Righteous” by Wolfgang Hilbig [Why This Book Should Win]

This entry in the Why This Book Should Win series is by Hal Hlavinka, bookseller at Community Bookstore. We will be running two (or more!) of these posts every business day leading up to the announcement of the finalists.   The Sleep of the Righteous by Wolfgang Hilbig, translated from the German by Isabel Fargo ...

“Signs Preceding the End of the World” by Yuri Herrera [Why This Book Should Win]

This entry in the Why This Book Should Win series is by Stephen Sparks, former BTBA judge and bookseller at Green Apple Books on the Park. We will be running two (or more!) of these posts every business day leading up to the announcement of the finalists.   Signs Preceding the End of the World by Yuri Herrera, ...

“A General Theory of Oblivion” by Jose Eduardo Agualusa [Why This Book Should Win]

This entry in the Why This Book Should Win series is by George Carroll, former BTBA judge, sales rep, and international literature editor for Shelf Awareness. We will be running two (or more!) of these posts every business day leading up to the announcement of the finalists.   A General Theory of Oblivion by José ...

“One Out of Two” by Daniel Sada [Why This Book Should Win]

This entry in the Why This Book Should Win series is by Lucina Schell, editor of Reading in Translation. We will be running two (or more!) of these posts every business day leading up to the announcement of the finalists.   One Out of Two by Daniel Sada, translated from the Spanish by Katherine Silver (Mexico, ...

“Empty Chairs” by Lui Xia [Why This Book Should Win]

This entry in the Why This Book Should Win series is by Jarrod Annis, BTBA judge and bookseller at Greenlight Books, We will be running two (or more!) of these posts every business day leading up to the announcement of the finalists.   Empty Chairs: Selected Poems by Liu Xia, translated from the Chinese by Ming Di ...

“Sphinx” by Anne Garréta [Why This Book Should Win]

This entry in the Why This Book Should Win series is by Joseph Schreiber, who runs the website Rough Ghosts, and is a contributor at Numéro Cinq. We will be running two (or more!) of these posts every business day leading up to the announcement of the finalists.   Sphinx by Anne Garréta, translated from the ...

“A Science Not for the Earth” by Yevgeny Baratynsky [Why This Book Should Win]

This entry in the Why This Book Should Win series is by Jarrod Annis, BTBA judge and bookseller at Greenlight Books, We will be running two (or more!) of these posts every business day leading up to the announcement of the finalists.   A Science Not for the Earth: Selected Poems and Letters by Yevgeny Baratynsky, ...

“I Refuse” by Per Petterson [Why This Book Should Win]

This entry in the Why This Book Should Win series is by Joseph Schreiber, who runs the website Rough Ghosts, and is a contributor at Numéro Cinq. We will be running two (or more!) of these posts every business day leading up to the announcement of the finalists.   I Refuse by Per Petterson, translated from the ...

"Rilke Shake" by Angélica Freitas [Why This Book Should Win]

This entry in the Why This Book Should Win series, is by Tess Lewis, BTBA judge, writer, translator from the French and German, and an advisory editor of the Hudson Review. We will be running two (or more!) of these posts every business day leading up to the announcement of the finalists. Rilke Shake by Angélica ...

“Nowhere to Be Found” by Bae Suah [Why This Book Should Win]

This entry in the Why This Book Should Win series, is by Tony Malone, founder of Tony’s Reading List. We will be running two (or more!) of these posts every business day leading up to the announcement of the finalists.   Nowhere to Be Found by Bae Suah, translated from the Korean by Sora Kim-Russell (South Korea, ...

“The Meursault Investigation” by Kamel Daoud [Why This Book Should Win]

This entry in the Why This Book Should Win series, is by Gwen Dawson, founder of Literary License. We will be running two (or more!) of these posts every business day leading up to the announcement of the finalists.   The Meursault Investigation by Kamel Daoud, translated from the French by John Cullen (Algeria, ...

“Beauty Is a Wound” by Eka Kurniawan [Why This Book Should Win]

This entry in the Why This Book Should Win series, is by Kevin Elliott, BTBA judge and bookseller at 57th Street Books. We will be running two (or more!) of these posts every business day leading up to the announcement of the finalists.   Beauty Is a Wound by Eka Kurniawan, translated from the Indonesian by Annie ...

“The Story of the Lost Child” by Elena Ferrante [Why This Book Should Win]

This entry in the Why This Book Should Win series, is by Betty Scott from Books & Whatnot. We will be running two (or more!) of these posts every business day leading up to the announcement of the finalists.   The Story of the Lost Child by Elena Ferrante, translated from the Italian by Ann Goldstein (Italy, ...

“Wild Words: Four Tamil Poets” edited by Lakshmi Holmström [Why This Book Should Win]

This entry in the Why This Book Should Win series, is by Deborah Smith, BTBA judge, translator from the Korean, and founder of Tilted Axis Press. We will be running two (or more!) of these posts every business day leading up to the announcement of the finalists.   Wild Words: Four Tamil Poets, edited and translated ...

Contribute to the “Why This Book Should Win” Series

As you’ve probably noticed, the Why This Book Should Win series has basically taken over the website. Our plan is to highlight all 35 titles longlisted for the Best Translated Book Awards before the announcement of the finalists on Tuesday, April 19th. Most of these posts are written by BTBA judges, although a number of ...

“The Complete Stories” by Clarice Lispector [Why This Book Should Win]

This entry in the Why This Book Should Win series, is by Amanda Nelson, BTBA judge and managing editor of Book Riot. We will be running two of these posts every business day leading up to the announcement of the finalists.   The Complete Stories by Clarice Lispector, translated from the Portuguese by Katrina Dodson ...

“Berlin” by Aleš Šteger [Why This Book Should Win]

This entry in the Why This Book Should Win series, is by P.T. Smith, BTBA judge, writer, and reader. We will be running two of these posts every business day leading up to the announcement of the finalists.   Berlin by Aleš Šteger, translated from the Slovene by Brian Henry, Forrest Gander, and Aljaž Kovac ...

"Arvida" by Samuel Archibald [Why This Book Should Win]

This entry in the Why This Book Should Win series, is by Heather Cleary, BTBA judge, writer, translator, and co-founder of the Buenos Aires Review. We will be running two of these posts every business day leading up to the announcement of the finalists. Arvida by Samuel Archibald, translated from the French by Donald ...

“Mirages of the Mind” by Mushtaq Ahmed Yousufi [Why This Book Should Win]

This entry in the Why This Book Should Win series, is by Jason Grunebaum, BTBA judge, writer, and translator. We will be running two of these posts every business day leading up to the announcement of the finalists.   Mirages of the Mind by Mushtaq Ahmed Yousufi, translated from the Urdu by Matt Reeck and Aftab ...

“War, So Much War” by Mercè Rodoreda [Why This Book Should Win]

This entry in the Why This Book Should Win series, is by Mark Haber, BTBA judge and bookseller at Brazos Bookstore. We will be running two of these posts every business day leading up to the announcement of the finalists.   War, So Much War by Mercè Rodoreda, translated from the Catalan by Maruxa Relaño and ...

“Murder Most Serene” by Gabriell Wittkop [Why This Book Should Win]

This entry in the Why This Book Should Win series, is by Ben Carter Olcott, who is a writer, editor of the KGB Bar Lit Magazine, and a bookseller at 192 Books. We will be running two of these posts every business day leading up to the announcement of the finalists.   Murder Most Serene by Gabrielle Wittkop, ...

“Moods” by Yoel Hoffmann [Why This Book Should Win]

This entry in the Why This Book Should Win series, is by Kate Garber, BTBA judge and bookseller at 192 Books. We will be running two of these posts every business day leading up to the announcement of the finalists.   Moods by Yoel Hoffmann, translated from the Hebrew by Peter Cole (Israel, New Directions) Moods ...

“Tram 83” by Fiston Mwanza Mujila [Why This Book Should Win]

This entry in the Why This Book Should Win series, is by Rachel Cordasco, who writes for Book Riot and runs the site Bookishly Witty. We will be running two of these posts every business day leading up to the announcement of the finalists.   Tram 83 by Fiston Mwanza Mujila, translated from the French by Roland ...

“The Physics of Sorrow” by Georgi Gospodinov [Why This Book Should Win]

This is the first entry in the Why This Book Should Win series, which will highlight each of the 35 “longlisted”: titles for this year’s Best Translated Book Awards. Tom Roberge of Albertine Books wrote this piece.   The Physics of Sorrow by Georgi Gospodinov, translated from the Bulgarian by Angela Rodel ...

2016 BTBA Fiction Longlist

It’s here! The twenty-five best translations of 2015 according to our esteemed panel of judges. As mentioned in the earlier post, we will be highlighting each of these titles on the site starting this afternoon, and finishing just in time for the April 19th announcement of the ten finalists. The winners will be ...

"Unshaven and Often Drunk" [BTBA]

I know the BTBA announcements will be taking place tomorrow morning, but we have one last preview post for you. This is from judge Mark Haber, who works at Brazos Bookstore in Houston—one of the best stores in the country. Enjoy and tune in tomorrow to find out what made the longlists! If you’ve ever had your ...

Thank You, Katy Derbyshire, For Not Finger-Wagging

Many of you will have read or seen Katy Derbyshire’s recent article in the Guardian on women in translation. I braced myself for paragraphs of commentary on how publishers of literature in translation could “be better” than they are, and was already feeling that defensive twinge build up in my jaw. BUT, Katy ...

Preparing to Read "Diorama" by Rocío Cerón [RTWBC]

Yesterday I wrote a long preview of Han Kang’s The Vegetarian, the Reading the World Book Club fiction book for March. Today, I’m switching over to our poetry selection—Diorama by Rocío Cerón, translated from the Spanish by Anna Rosenwong (Phoneme Media.) As always, you can post your thoughts and ...

Introducing "The Vegetarian" by Han Kang [RTWBC]

As previously announced, the fiction book we’re reading for this month’s Reading the World Book Club is The Vegetarian by Han Kang, translated from the Korean by Deborah Smith. Since I already read this one—taught it in my class last year, more on that below—I thought I’d start out this ...

Lina Wolff in Rochester [Spring 2016 RTWCS]

Next Wednesday, March 2nd, at 6:30 pm, the amazing and local Rochester restaurant ButaPub will be hosting the first Reading the World Conversation Series (RTWCS) event for Spring 2016. This first RTWCS of 2016 welcomes Swedish author Lina Wolff to discuss her new novel, Bret Easton Ellis and The Other Dogs, with Brian ...

Latest Review: "Souffles-Anfas: A Critical Anthology from the Moroccan Journal of Culture and Politics" ed. by Olivia C. Harrison and Teresa Villa-Ignacio

The latest addition to our Reviews section is by Emma Ramadan on Souffles-Anfas: A Critical Anthology from the Moroccan Journal of Culture and Politics, ed. by Olivia C. Harrison and Teresa Villa-Ignacio. Emma herself is a literary translator from French. She has a BA in Comparative Literature and Literary Translation from ...

Souffles-Anfas: A Critical Anthology

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 artists and intellectuals, Souffles was a written fight for democratic ...

Emma Ramadan on "Monospace": Part I [RTWBC]

Since I admittedly know very little about contemporary poetry, I asked translator Emma Ramadan if she would be willing to write something about this month’s Reading the World Book Club poetry title, Monospace by Anne Parian. What she sent back is posted below. It’s thoughtful, extremely helpful in approaching the ...

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Three Percent #110: The Weight of Things

Adrian Nathan West joined this week’s podcast to talk about Marianne Fritz and his translation of The Weight of Things, the first novel in the recently launched Reading the World Book Clubs. Additionally, we talked about Twelve Stations by Tomasz Różycki (the RTWBC poetry selection this month), the ABA Winter ...

Introducing Rafael Chirbes [RTWBC]

For anyone who missed this in my earlier posts, the fiction book for February’s Reading the World Book Club is On the Edge by Rafael Chirbes, which is translated from the Spanish by Margaret Jull Costa and published by New Directions. As a way of introducing Chirbes, I thought I’d post this bio and interview ...

Variations on a Theme: Fiston Mwanza Mujila’s "Tram 83" [BTBA 2016]

This week’s Best Translated Book Award post is from Heather Cleary, translator of Sergio Chejfec, Oliverio Girondo, professor at Sarah Lawrence, and co-founder of the Buenos Aires Review. For more information on the BTBA, “like” our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter. And check back here each week for a ...

Updated 2014, 2015, & 2016 Translation Databases

I just uploaded new versions of 2014, 2015, and 2016 translation databases to our master translation database part of the website. There are two big updates worth noting here, before getting into some of the breakdowns: 1) I added over 150 titles to the 2016 database, so this is starting to look a little bit more robust ...

Literature on Location: Part III [BTBA 2016]

This week’s Best Translated Book Award post is from Stacey Knecht and is basically a follow-up to her earlier posts. For more information on the BTBA, “like” our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter. And check back here each week for a new post by one of the judges. I was four, not five, as I’d always ...

Why Are We Ignoring "Apocalypse Baby"'s Most Important Twist? [BTBA 2016]

This week’s Best Translated Book Award post is by Kate Garber, bookseller at 192 Books. For more information on the BTBA, “like” our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter. And check back here each week for a new post by one of the judges. I have yet to find a review of Apocalypse Baby by Virginie ...

"Loquela" Is the Book You Should Be Reading

This is another one of those posts. One in which I wrote a long-ass essay/diatribe that I decided to delete so as to “focus on the positive.” In this case, I was on a roll about how sick I am of the literary field anointing four-five international authors a year and writing endless articles/listicles about ...

Kaija Straumanis Wins the AATSEEL Award for "Best Literary Translation into English"

Last month we got the news that Kaija Straumanis—our editor and graduate of the University of Rochester’s MA in literary translation program—had won the AATSEEL1 Award for the Best Literary Translation into English for her translation of Inga Ābele’s High Tide. As part of their annual conference, ...

Book Club Intro for "Twelve Stations" by Tomasz Różycki [RTWBC]

Before getting into the poetry side of our Reading the World Book Clubs, I just want to remind everyone that you can share your thoughts and comments about these books/posts in three different ways: in the comments section below, on the Reading the World Book Club Facebook Group, and by using #RTWBC on Twitter. For this ...

Seven Books by Women in Translation [My Year in Lists]

Rather than devolve into posting clickbait featuring cats, penguins, hedgehogs, corgis, and books, like other BuzzHole sites, I’m going hard for the rest of the week, starting with seven books by women in translation. The gender disparity in terms of women in translation has been fairly well documented—see the ...

The Best Poetry Books from 2015 I Should Read [My Year in Lists]

Before getting into today’s list, I want to point out a new trend in the Great Listicle Explosion of Book List-Making of 2015™: the “overlooked list.” This has probably been going on for as long as people could count to ten (a prerequisite for list-making), but I had overlooked it (yes, groan) until I ...

This Place Holds No Fear

Heiner Resseck, the protagonist in Monika Held’s thought-provoking, first novel, This Place Holds No Fear, intentionally re-lives his past every hour of every day. His memories are his treasures, more dear than the present or future. What wonderful past eclipses holding your newborn for the first time or meeting the woman ...

Latest Review: "This Place Holds No Fear" by Monika Held

The latest addition to our Reviews section is a piece by Lori Feathers on Monika Held’s This Place Holds No Fear, translated by Anne Posten and published by Haus Publishing. Lori Feathers is a freelance book critic. Follow her on Twitter @LoriFeathers. (And Anne, if you’re reading this, THIS is why I gave you a ...

Four Books From Underrepresented Countries [My Year in Lists]

Yesterday I posted a bit of a screed against lists, followed immediately by a list of the six translations everyone’s talking about. My hope is to produce a bunch of lists featuring literature in translation from 2015, all organized by various rubrics that can allow you to find a handful of recommendations with a ...

The Six Water-Cooler Fiction Translations of 2015 [My Year in Lists]

Following on my last post, here’s the first entry in my manic series of year-end lists. To kick this off, I thought I’d start with the list of the six books in translation that were the most talked about this year. I did some really heady numerical analysis to determine this—searching Facebook mentions, ...

This Was Going to Be a Hater’s Guide [3 Books]

After reading this excellent Hater’s Guide to the Williams-Sonoma Catalog yesterday (for a typical highlight, scroll down the “cookie press”) I really wished we could do something this for publishing. Like, make ignorant, funny jokes about the finalists for the National Book Awards. Or the Hater’s Guide to Literary ...

"A Raskolnikoff" by Emmanuel Bove [BTBA 2016]

This week’s Best Translated Book Award post is from Jason Grunebaum, senior lecturer at the University of Chicago, and translator from the Hindi. For more information on the BTBA, “like” our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter. And check back here each week for a new post by one of the judges. When ...

Submission [BTBA 2016]

This week’s Best Translated Book Award post is from Tom Roberge from New Directions, Albertine Books, and the Three Percent Podcast. He’s not actually a BTBA judge, but since he’s helping run the whole process, he thought he’d weigh in and post as well. For more information on the BTBA, ...

Rambling Jack

“Rambling Jack—what’s that?” “A novel. Novella, I guess.” “Yeah, it looks short. What is it, a hundred pages?” “Sorta. It’s a duel language book, so really, only about… 50 pages total.” “50 pages?” “Including illustrations.” “And this—what is it… Dalkey Archive—they want 14 bucks ...

Border Crossings and a Third Language [BTBA 2016]

This week’s Best Translated Book Award post is from Heather Cleary, translator of Sergio Chejfec, Oliverio Girondo, professor at Sarah Lawrence, and co-founder of the Buenos Aires Review. For more information on the BTBA, “like” our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter. And check back here each week for a ...

The Things We Don't Do

Many authors are compared to Roberto Bolaño. However, very few authors have the privilege of having a Roberto Bolaño quote on the cover of their work; and at that, one which states, “Good readers will find something that can be found only in great literature.” You will find this on the covers of Andres Neuman’s works. ...

Help Open Letter By Buying the Books for My Spring Class

As you probably know already, Open Letter Books is a non-profit publishing house. Which means that a) I go out of my way to help the field of translation/publishing as a whole (see: Best Translated Book Award, this blog, the translation database, and a dozen other things that don’t benefit us financially, but which I ...

Women in Translation, Part I: Fourteen Countries

Over the past few months, with the help of two fantastic interns, I’ve updated the Translation Database to include the sex of every author and translator in there.1 It was a brutal task, hunting down information about all of these people, scanning bios for gendered pronouns and then entering all of this into the ...

Still Hating on DraftKings [3 Books]

Rather than reinvent the ranting wheel (I don’t know what that is, but it sounds fun), I’m going to preface this preview of three new books with a couple of updates from last week’s post. First off, DraftKings. I spend way too much of my mental time hating all over this stupid company. I should just stop. ...

Anne Garréta and William Burroughs [BTBA 2016]

This week’s Best Translated Book Award post is from Tom Roberge from New Directions, Albertine Books, and the Three Percent Podcast. He’s not actually a BTBA judge, but since he’s helping run the whole process, he thought he’d weigh in and post as well. For more information on the BTBA, ...

French Concession

Who is this woman? This is the question that opens Xiao Bai’s French Concession, a novel of colonial-era Shanghai’s spies and revolutionaries, police and smugglers, who scoot between doorways, walk nonchalantly down avenues, smoke cigars in police bureaus, and lounge in expensive European hotels. The woman is Therese ...

Latest Review: "French Concession" by Xiao Bai

The latest addition to our Reviews section by Emily Goedde on French Concession by Xiao Bai, translated by Chenxin Jiang and published by Harper Collins. Emily Goedde received an MFA in literary translation from the University of Iowa. She is now a PhD candidate in the Department of Comparative Literature at the University ...

Books (In Translation) About Books [BTBA 2016]

This week’s Best Translated Book Award post is from Amanda Nelson, managing editor of Book Riot. For more information on the BTBA, “like” our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter. And check back here each week for a new post by one of the judges. Jose Alberto Gutierrez is a garbage truck driver in ...

2015 Goncourt Longlist As Described by Google Translate

The longlist for this year’s prix Goncourt was announced today, and includes the latest book by Open Letter author Mathias Énard. (We’re having someone read Boussole for us right now. Hopefully I’ll have more info about that in the near future.) Here’s the complete list of finalists, which also ...

Three Articles on Three Great Indie Presses: Graywolf, Coffee House, Europa

Yesterday I posted a little summary on two great translators, so it’s only appropriate that today I post about three great pieces that have come out about three of my favorite presses over the past few days. First up was this Vulture piece by Three Percent favorite Boris Kachka (BORIS!!) on Graywolf Press. ...

The Cold Song

Linn Ullmann’s The Cold Song, her fifth novel, is built much like the house about which its story orbits: Mailund, a stately white mansion set in the Norwegian countryside a few hours drive from Oslo. The house, nestled into the forest and cloaked in mist, belongs to the past; it has been the summer home of the Brodal ...

On Universality: Childhood Confusion and Displacement in Literature [BTBA 2016]

This week’s Best Translated Book Award post is Kate Garber, bookseller at 192 Books. For more information on the BTBA, “like” our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter. And check back here each week for a new post by one of the judges. We know there are many connections to be made in themes and characters ...

On Juan Villoro's "The Guilty" [BTBA 2016]

This week’s Best Translated Book Award post is by Mark Haber of Brazos Bookstore. For more information on the BTBA, “like” our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter. And check back here each week for a new post by one of the judges. In the last few years I’ve read a lot of literature in translation, ...

A Dilemma

In Joris-Karl Hyusmans’s most popular novel, À rebours (Against Nature or Against the Grain, depending on the which translated edition you’re reading), there is a famous scene where the protagonist, the decadent Jean des Esseintes, starts setting gemstones on the shell of a tortoise. The tortoise, of course, is ...

Latest Review: "A Dilemma" by Joris-Karl Hyusmans

The latest addition to our Reviews section is by Christopher Iacono on A Dilemma by Joris-Karl Hyusmans, translated by Justin Vicari, and out from Wakefield Press. (We love you, Wakefield!!!) Here’s the beginning of Chris’s piece: In Joris-Karl Hyusmans’s most popular novel, À rebours (Against Nature ...

Asymptote Summer 2015 Issue

This post is from current intern, soon to be Literary Translation grad student, Daniel Stächelin. From Mexican poet José Eugenio Sánchez and Danish poet Naja Marie Aidt, to Albanian author Ismail Kadare, among others, Asymptote’s Summer 2015 issue features some mind-bendingly vivid nuggets of literary and existential ...

Antoine Volodine in the Paris Review

It’s been a nice couple of months for Antoine Volodine, publicity-wise. First, he had this long essay appear in The New Inquiry. Then Music & Literature honored the publication of Post-Exoticism in Ten Lessons, Lesson Eleven with a week of Volodine-related content. And now, the Paris Review has an interview with ...

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Three Percent #101: Awards for Authors versus Awards for Books

This week Tom and Chad discuss the merging of the Man Booker International Prize with the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, the waning interest in Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook Book Club, and the Women’s World Cup of Literature. There are also rants about Sevenevens, praise for the Minions movie, and more soccer ...

Canada vs. Germany [Women's World Cup of Literature: CHAMPIONSHIP]

OK, here we are, at the final match of the first ever Women’s World Cup of Literature. If you missed any of the earlier games, or just want to read about all the incredible books that were included in this tournament, just click here. The Championship pits two very different books against one another. On one side ...

Colombia vs. Germany [Women's World Cup of Literature: Semifinals]

Oryx & Crake by Margaret Atwood is already set to represent Canada in the WWCOL championship, so now we’re ready to find out who she’s going to face off against between Colombia’s representative (Delirium by Laura Restrepo) or Germany’s (The Hottest Dishes of the Tartar Cuisine by Alina ...

Twenty-One Days of a Neurasthenic

Twenty-One Days of a Neurasthenic is not a novel in the traditional sense. Rather, it is a collection of vignettes recorded by journalist Georges Vasseur in his diary during a month spent in the Pyrenées Mountains to treat his nervous condition. Vasseur’s friends and acquaintances provide the material for his journal ...

Spain vs. Costa Rica [Women's World Cup of Literature: Second Round]

This match was judged by Katrine Øgaard Jensen, blog editor at Asymptote. You can follow her on Twitter at @kojensen. For more information on the Women’s World Cup of Literature, click here or here. Also, be sure to follow our Twitter account and like our Facebook page. And check back here daily! This match ...

Ecuador vs. Cameroon [Women's World Cup of Literature: Second Round]

This match was judged by Margaret Carson, who co-chairs the PEN America Translation Committee and crunches numbers for Women in Translation (WiT). For more information on the Women’s World Cup of Literature, click here or here. Also, be sure to follow our Twitter account and like our Facebook page. And check back ...

Germany vs. Côte d'Ivoire [Women's World Cup of Literature: Second Round]

This match was judged by Kalah McCaffrey, a Young Adult literary scout at Franklin & Siegal. You can follow her on Twitter at @moheganscout. For more information on the Women’s World Cup of Literature, click here or here. Also, be sure to follow our Twitter account and like our Facebook page. And check back ...

Japan vs. Ecuador [Women's World Cup of Literature: First Round]

This match was judged by M. Lynx Qualey, who runs the Arabic Literature website, and can be found on Twitter at @arablit. For more information on the Women’s World Cup of Literature, click here or here. Also, be sure to follow our Twitter account and like our Facebook page. And check back here daily! Yoko ...

South Korea vs. Spain [Women's World Cup of Literature: First Round]

This match was judged by Mythili Rao, producer for The Takeaway at WNYC. For more information on the Women’s World Cup of Literature, click here or here. Also, be sure to follow our Twitter account and like our Facebook page. And check back here daily! What a brutal match. These two novels hold nothing back. Read ...

Sphinx

Founded in 1960 by such creative pioneers as George Perec, Raymond Queneau and Italo Calvino, the Oulipo, shorthand for Ouvroir de littérature potentielle, came about in when a group of writers and mathematicians sought constraints to find new structures and patterns on their own writing. Anne Garréta’s visionary debut ...

USA vs. Nigeria [Women's World Cup of Literature: First Round]

This match was judged by Sal Robinson, a graduate student in library science and co-founder of the Bridge Series. For more information on the Women’s World Cup of Literature, click here or here. Also, be sure to follow our Twitter account and like our Facebook page. And check back here daily! It seems hardly fair ...

Canada vs. Netherlands [Women's World Cup of Literature: First Round]

This match was judged by Hannah Chute, recent recipient of her MA in literary translation from the University of Rochester. For more information on the Women’s World Cup of Literature, click here or here. Also, be sure to follow our Twitter account and like our Facebook page. And check back here daily! Oryx & ...

Energize Your Happy [Or: Why It's Important for Literary Translators to Go Do Stuff]

This is a bit of a risk, posting something among all the commotion surrounding the Women’s World Cup of Literature, but I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately and wanted to finally write about it. I’m writing this post from Venstpils, Latvia, where I’ve had the pleasure to spend these first two ...

China vs. New Zealand [Women's World Cup of Literature: First Round]

This match was judged by Florian Duijsens, a senior editor at Asymptote, fiction editor at SAND Journal, and teacher at Bard College Berlin. You can follow him on Twitter at @neonres. For more information on the Women’s World Cup of Literature, click here or here. Also, be sure to follow our Twitter account and ...

Côte d'Ivoire vs. Norway [Women's World Cup of Literature: First Round]

This match was judged by Hal Hlavinka, bookseller and events coordinator at Community Bookstore in Park Slope. For more information on the Women’s World Cup of Literature, click here or here. Also, be sure to follow our Twitter account and like our Facebook page. And check back here daily! I’ll be up front and ...

My Best BEA Moment [Some June Translations]

Every May, 20,000 or so publishing professionals gather at BookExpo America to a) try and create buzz for their fall books, b) court booksellers and librarians, c) attend panels of minimal import, and d) bitch and moan. Mostly it’s just d, to be honest. Publishing people love to complain about everything. The Javitz ...

Translation Breadloaf and My Copyright Talk

As if three trips to New York and one to Torino weren’t enough, I just a few minutes ago arrived in Ripton, VT, where I have the honor of being able to participate in (and generally witness) the first ever Bread Loaf Translators’ Conference. (A.K.A. Translation Loaf.) Since this was organized by Jen ...

Announcing the Women's World Cup of Literature!

Last summer, to coincide with the Real Life World Cup, we hosted the World Cup of Literature, an incredible competition featuring 32 books from 32 countries, and ending with Roberto Bolaño’s By Night in Chile (Chile) triumphing over Valeria Luiselli’s Faces in the Crowd (Mexico). It was glorious. Since the ...

BEA Translation "Buzz" Panels: Crime Fiction

Following on my earlier post about the “buzz” panel on general fiction in translation, here’s some info about the one that Tom Roberge will be moderating on Friday morning, which will be featuring all crime novels. BEA Selects Crime Fiction in Translation Fricay, May 28th, 10:30am Eastside ...

BEA Translation "Buzz" Panels: Adult Fiction

So, this year, for the first time ever, BookExpo America is sponsoring two panels highlighting forthcoming works of fiction: one featuring general fiction, the other focusing on crime and thrillers. (Naturally, I’m moderating the first one and Tom Roberge is doing the other.) The one on general adult fiction will ...

BTBA Festivities!

This is just a reminder for any and everyone in the New York area—especially those of you who are attending BookExpo America. The official announcement of this year’s Best Translated Book Award winners will take place tomorrow, Wednesday, May 27th, at 2:30pm at the Eastside Stage in the Jacob Javitz Center. ...

What Makes a Reader Good at Reading? [Some May Translations]

In a couple weeks, the IDPF Digital Book Conference will take place in New York under the theme of “Putting Readers First.” As part of this Ed Nawokta (Publishing Perspectives founder and international publishing guru of sorts), Boris Kachka (Hothouse author and former BEA frond-waver [sorry, inside joke]), Andrew ...

Life Embitters

Last year, NYRB Classics introduced English-language readers to Catalan writer Josep Pla with Peter Bush’s translation of The Gray Notebook. In that book, Pla wrote about life in Spain during an influenza outbreak soon after World War I, when he was a young law student and aspiring writer. Readers got to meet many of the ...

The Physics of Sorrow

“Your bile is stagnant, you see sorrow in everything, you are drenched in melancholy,” my friend the doctor said. bq. “Isn’t melancholy something from previous centuries? Isn’t some vaccine against it yet, hasn’t medicine taken care of it yet?” I ask. Georgi Gospodinov’s The Physics of Sorrow was an ...

2015 Best Translated Book Award Fiction Finalists

Following on the announcement of the poetry shortlist, here’s the list of the ten titles that made this year’s shortlist. As mentioned elsewhere, the two winning books will be announced at BookExpo America at 2:30pm on Wednesday, May 27th, at the Eastside Stage in the Jacob Javitz Center. Following that, we ...

2015 Best Translated Book Award Poetry Finalists

Here it is, the first of the two announcements about this year’s Best Translated Book Award finalists! Listed below are the six poetry titles that are in the running for this year’s award. The two winning books (for poetry and fiction) will be announced at BookExpo America at 2:30pm on Wednesday, May 27th, at ...

Why This Book Should Win – Winter Mythologies and Abbotts by BTBA Judge James Crossley

James Crossley is a bookseller at Island Books. He writes regularly for the store’s Message in a Bottle blog and for the website of the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association. Winter Mythologies and Abbotts – Pierre Michon, Translated from the French by Ann Jefferson, France Yale University ...

Why This Book Should Win – Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay by BTBA Judge Monica Carter

Monica Carter is a writer whose fiction has appeared in Writers Tribe Review, The Rattling Wall, Black Clock, and is a freelance critic. Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay – Elena Ferrante, Translated from the Italian by Ann Goldstein, Italy Europa Editions Elena Ferrante is everywhere now. Yet, I remember when ...

Why this Book Should Win – The Author and Me by BTBA Judge Michael Orthofer

Michael Orthofer runs the Complete Review – a book review site with a focus on international fiction – and its Literary Saloon weblog. The Author and Me – Éric Chevillard, translated from the French by Jordan Stump, France Dalkey Archive Press Obviously, two-time, back-to-back winner László ...

Why This Book Should Win – Pushkin Hills by BTBA Judge James Crossley

James Crossley is a bookseller at Island Books. He writes regularly for the store’s Message in a Bottle blog and for the website of the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association. Pushkin Hills – Sergei Dovlatov, Translated from the Russian by Katherine Dovlatov, Russia Counterpoint Press Pushkin Hills is ...

Why This Book Should Win – 1914 by BTBA Judge Monica Carter

Monica Carter is a writer and freelance critic. 1914 – Jean Echenoz, translated from the French by Linda Coverdale, (France) The New Press Jean Echenoz’s novel, 1914, delivers the punch of a heavyweight yet moves with the speed of a flyweight. In fewer than 120 pages, Echenoz gives us the exhausting thirteen ...

Why This Book Should Win – Fantomas versus the Multinational Vampires by BTBA Judge Madeleine LaRue

Madeleine LaRue is Associate Editor and Director of Publicity of Music & Literature. Fantomas versus the Multinational Vampires – Julio Cortázar, translated from the Spanish by David Kurnick Semiotext(e) It almost feels unfair to make anyone compete with Julio Cortázar. His fantastically irreverent novel ...

Why This Book Should Win – Two Hrabals by BTBA Judges George Carroll and James Crossley

George Carroll is the World Literature Editor of Shelf Awareness and an independent publishers’ representative based in the Pacific Northwest. James Crossley is a bookseller at Island Books. He writes regularly for the store’s Message in a Bottle blog and for the website of the Pacific Northwest Booksellers ...

I Am a Sore Loser [Some April Translations]

Back when I was in junior high, my best friend and I would spend hours and hours playing Double Dribble on his Nintendo. (Fun fact! This game was called “Exciting Basket” in Japan.) I might be 100% wrong, but I’m pretty sure this was the first basketball game for the Nintendo. And man, was it ever low rent. ...

Who's Publishing What Spanish-Language Books from Where?

A couple weeks ago, Valerie Miles organized a special one-day conference on “Publishing Spanish Writers in English.” It featured a series of interesting, well-designed panels: one with Barbara Epler from New Directions and Jonathan Galassi from FSG talking about editing Spanish-language lit; one on magazines ...

Man Booker International Prize 2015 Finalists

The Man Booker International Prize is awarded every two years to “a living author who has published fiction either originally in English or whose work is generally available in translation in the English language.” According to their website, the goal of the award is to honor “one writer’s overall ...

Flesh-Coloured Dominoes

There are plenty of reasons you can fail to find the rhythm of a book. Sometimes it’s a matter of discarding initial assumptions or impressions, sometimes of resetting oneself. Zigmunds Skujiņš’s Flesh-Coloured Dominoes was a defining experience in the necessity of attempting the latter. It has quite possibly the most ...

Latest Review: "Flesh-Coloured Dominoes" by Zigmunds Skujiņš

The latest addition to our Reviews section is by P. T. Smith on Flesh-Coloured Dominoes by Zigmunds Skujiņš, translated by Kaija Straumanis and published by Arcadia Books. Patrick has been a powerhouse of reviews this past month—and this isn’t even the last from him! Here’s the beginning of his ...

Iraqi Nights

In a culture that privileges prose, reviewing poetry is fairly pointless. And I’ve long since stopped caring about what the world reads and dropped the crusade to get Americans to read more poems. Part of the fault, as I’ve suggested in past reviews, rests with poets who seem hell-bent on insulating their art from the ...

Three-Light Years

I would like to pose the argument that it is rare for one to ever come across a truly passive protagonist in a novel. The protagonist (perhaps) of Three Light-Years, Claudio Viberti, is just that—a shy internist who lives in an apartment above his mother and below his ex-wife, and religiously eats boiled vegetables every ...

Latest Review: "Three-Light Years" by Andrea Canobbio

The latest addition to our Reviews section is by Tiffany Nichols on Andrea Cannobio’s Three Light-Years, translated by Anne Milano Appel and published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Friday the 13th! Go catch some black cats before the weekend! Here’s the beginning of Tiffany’s review: I would like to ...

The Fringe Elements by BTBA Judge Monica Carter

Monica Carter is a freelance critic. Discerning how one should approach a written work for translation is a challenging task. The approach of some publishers is to accept the writer’s work as is, with no editorial input, which means the translation is as close to the original text as it can be, disregarding cultural, ...

Best Translated Book Award Winners to Be Announced at BookExpo America

So, this has been percolating for some time, but yesterday BookExpo America sent out the official press release (copied below) about how this year’s Best Translated Book Award winners will be announced on Wednesday, May 27 at 2:30 as part of BEA’s programming: Norwalk, CT, February 25, 2015: BookExpo America ...

Festival Neue Literatur 2015

This year’s edition of the Festival Neue Literatur, which features new writing from Austria, Germany, Switzerland, and the U.S., will take place this upcoming weekend (February 19-22) and is loaded with interesting events. Here’s a video overview of the festival itself: You can find the complete schedule ...

The Frontrunners, Part One by BTBA Judge Jeremy Garber

Jeremy Garber is the events coordinator for Powell’s Books and also a freelance reviewer. With the start of spring (for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, that is) less than six weeks away, the BTBA longlist announcement draws ever closer (early April!) – and, as such, we judges continue our evaluation of the ...

Yawning vs. Not Reading: Americans and Translations a Decade Apart

This morning, the Daily Beast ran a piece by Bill Morris entitled Why Americans Don’t Read Foreign Fiction. It starts with Morris admitting his ignorance of Patrick Modiano’s work prior to his winning the Nobel Prize, then goes into a reading of Modiano’s Suspected Sentences, before veering into the ...

Birth of a Bridge

One hundred pages into Birth of a Bridge, the prize-winning novel from French writer Maylis de Kerangal, the narrator describes how starting in November, birds come to nest in the wetlands of the fictional city of Coca, California, for three weeks. While this may seem insignificant in a novel about the construction of a ...

Fantomas Versus the Multinational Vampires: An Attainable Utopia

Fantomas Versus the Multinational Vampires: An Attainable Utopia (narrated by Julio Cortázar) is, not disappointingly, as wild a book as its title suggests. It is a half-novella half-graphic novel story about . . . what, exactly? A European tribunal, Latin American literary figures, a comic book superhero, international ...

Latest Review: "Fantomas Versus the Multinational Vampires: An Attainable Utopia"

The latest addition to our Reviews section is a piece by Cameron Rowe on Julio Cortázar’s Fantomas Versus the Multinational Vampires: An Attainable Utopia, translated by David Kurnick and published by Semiotext(e). Cameron (some of you may have met her at ALTA last fall) is a current student in the MA in Literary ...

Self-Portrait in Green

Marie NDiaye has created a tiny, psychological masterpiece with her Self-Portrait in Green. In it she explores how our private fears and insecurities can distort what we believe to be real and can cause us to sabotage our intimate relationships. In particular, NDiaye conveys a powerful message about the unconscious ...

Latest Review: "Self-Portrait in Green" by Marie NDiaye

The latest addition to our Reviews section is a piece by Lori Feathers on Marie NDiaye’s Self-Portrait in Green, translated by Jordan Stump, and out from Two Lines Press. Lori is an attorney who lives in Dallas, Texas, and is a member of the Board of Deep Vellum Publishing in Dallas. Hope everyone is having a great ...

The Translation Databases Have Been Updated

If you want to download all new, up to date version of the Translation Databases, you can do it here. These include all books that I’ve logged on through this morning, although, as always, if there’s anything missing, just email me. I have a day or two of Edelweiss catalogs to search through before the 2015 ...

Let Me Watch Crap! [Some January 2015 Translations]

This past weekend, my kids and I finally watched The Incredible Hulk—the final Marvel Cinematic Universe movie that we had to see to be all caught up before Avengers 2 comes out in May. After the ultimately disappointing Hulk ended, my son wanted to binge on the new season of Doctor Who, which is available through ...

Latest Review: "The Madmen of Benghazi" by Gerard de Villiers

The latest addition to our Reviews section is a piece by P.T. Smith on The Madmen of Benghazi by Gerard de Villiers, translated by William Rodarmor and out from Vintage/Black Lizard. Sometimes you want a book to be good. You want it to be amazing, mind-blowing, and one of the best things you’ll have read in months. ...

50/50: Fifty Books in Translation from Fifty Presses [Our 2014 Year-End Book List]

Last week I wrote a post that, among other things, included a brief rant on year-end book lists (one of our favorite things to rant about here). Already before the post’s draft stage, I had been scheming up the foundation to a more translation-inclusive year-end list than the other lists out there this year, and soon ...

The Four Corners of Palermo

The Sicilian Mafia has always been a rich subject for sensational crime fiction. The Godfather, Goodfellas, and The Sopranos worked the mob’s bloody corpses and family feuds to both entertainment and artistic value. Giuseppe di Piazza’s debut novel attempts this, though with less success. The Four Corners of Palermo is ...

Latest Review: "The Four Corners of Palermo" by Giuseppe Di Piazza

The latest addition to our Reviews section is a piece by Patience Haggin on Giuseppe Di Piazza’s The Four Corners of Palermo, translated by Antony Shugaar and published by Other Press. Patience is a graduate of Princeton University, where she majored in comparative literature, focusing on translation. As her senior ...

Cheesy Thanksgiving Post [Some December Translations]

I don’t think this particular monthly write-up needs any real explanation—it really is a “cheesy Thanksgiving post,” complete with holiday cheer and unwanted gifts—so let’s just get into it. (Also, I think it’s going to be really long.) Texas: The Great Theft by Carmen Boullosa, ...

Slim Pickings? by BTBA Judge Michael Orthofer

Michael Orthofer runs the Complete Review – a book review site with a focus on international fiction – and its Literary Saloon weblog. The size of a book shouldn’t really matter, not when judging whether or not it’s Best Translated Book Award-worthy, but one of the things that has struck me about this year’s batch ...

Bigger than the Burj Khalifa [Some November Translations]

This post is being written under extreme jet lag. Last Saturday I flew out to attend the Sharjah International Book Fair (the slogan for which is “A Book for Every Person,” which is not to be confused with Dubai’s Film Festival slogan, “A Movie for Every Person”) and then, yesterday, flew for ...

My Brilliant Friend

It hasn’t quite neared the pitch of the waiting-in-line-at-midnight Harry Potter days, but in small bookstores and reading circles of New York City, an aura has attended the novelist Elena Ferrante and her works. One part curiosity (Who is she?), one part eager devotion (Where is she, I want to be her best friend!), ...

Latest Review: "My Brilliant Friend" by Elena Ferrante

The latest addition to our Reviews section is a piece by Acacia O’Connor on Elena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend, translated by Ann Goldstein and published by Europa Editions. This book was published in English in 2012, but considering the attention Ferrante has been getting for her work since then, this is a ...

DANIEL MEDIN’S BTBA FAVORITES: FALL 2014

Daniel Medin teaches at the American University of Paris, where he helps direct the Center for Writers and Translators and is Associate Series Editor of The Cahiers Series. Can Xue: The Last Lover, trans. from Chinese by Annelise Finegan Wasmoen, Yale/Margellos The strangest and by far most original work I read this ...

The Best to Come

James Crossley is a bookseller at Island Books. He writes regularly for the store’s Message in a Bottle blog and for the website of the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association. By now you may be asking which BTBA-eligible books I’m most looking forward to reading. Probably not, but let’s pretend. ...

The Best Translated Books So Far

James Crossley is a bookseller at Island Books. He writes regularly for the store’s Message in a Bottle blog and for the website of the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association. Having talked about books that I think other people will probably like, it seems like I should talk at least a bit about the ones I ...

A Corner of the World: Interview with Author Mylene Fernández Pintado [Part II]

Yesterday we ran Part I of an interview between author Mylene Fernández Pintado and translator Dick Cluster. Part I left off with Mylene going over a little background information on their work together on A Corner of the World to be. This here is Part II of that interview. Mylene Fernández Pintado has been writing and ...

Miruna, a Tale

Miruna is a novella written in the voice of an adult who remembers the summer he (then, seven) and his sister, Miruna (then, six) spent in the Evil Vale with their grandfather (sometimes referred to as “Grandfather,” other times as “Niculae Berca”). The Evil Vale is located in the region of Wallachia (southern ...

Latest Review: "Miruna, a Tale" by Bogdan Suceavă

The latest addition to our Reviews section is by Alta Ifland on Miruna, a Tale by Bogdan Suceavă, translated by Alistair Ian Blyth and out from Twisted Spoon Press. Fun fact! Bogdan and Chad were at MSU during the same time, where they became friends. Here’s the beginning of Alta’s review: Miruna is a ...

New BTBA Judge James Crossley Highlights His Picks for Bestsellers

James Crossley is a bookseller at Island Books. He writes regularly for the store’s Message in a Bottle blog and for the website of the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association. By this point several judges have had an opportunity to share their thoughts about participating in the BTBA process, and it’s hard ...

A Corner of the World: Interview with Author Mylene Fernández Pintado [Part I]

Mylene Fernández Pintado has been writing and publishing in Cuba, winning prizes and readers, since 1994. Her latest novel, La esquina del mundo, has just been published by City Lights as A Corner of the World, translated by Dick Cluster. Cluster’s other new Cuban translation is Pedro de Jesús’s Vital Signs, released ...

Part Two of BTBA Judge Jeremy Garber's Faves for 2015

Jeremy Garber is the events coordinator for Powell’s Books and also a freelance reviewer. Valeria Luiselli ~ Faces in the Crowd As sinuous and singular a novel as Valeria Luiselli’s Faces in the Crowd (los ingrávidos) is (translated from the Spanish by Christina MacSweeney), it is all the more remarkable on ...

40% Reading Comprehension, and Dropping Fast! [Some October Translations]

A couple weeks ago I had a dream that I was dropping my daughter off at a “Reading Tutor” to study for some sort of standardized “Reading Comprehension” test for fifth graders. When I got to the shopping mall for tutors (dream!), I found out that, not only had her tutor quit, but that “Reading ...

Judge Jeremy Garber Sums Up His Thoughts for BTBA 2015

Jeremy Garber is the events coordinator for Powell’s Books and also a freelance reviewer. It is quite an honor (to say nothing of a responsibility) to be invited to adjudicate the creative output of others. In merely thinking of the myriad ways one might go about arbitrating the many facets that comprise a finished work ...

Kamal Jann

Kamal Jann by the Lebanese born author Dominique Eddé is a tale of familial and political intrigue, a murky stew of byzantine alliances, betrayals, and hostilities. It is a well-told story of revenge and, what’s more, a serious novel that contemplates what it means to accept your past. It is 2010. Kamal Jann, a ...

Latest Review: "Kamal Jann" by Dominique Eddé

The latest addition to our Reviews section is a by Lori Feathers on Kamal Jann by Dominique Eddé, translated by Ros Schwartz and published by Seagull Books. Lori helped us out in the World Cup of Literature round for the U.S. vs. Belgium, and is also a member of the Board of Dallas-based Deep Vellum ...

My Books and How They Got There

Madeleine LaRue is Associate Editor and Director of Publicity of Music & Literature. I live in Berlin, in a neighborhood with a chronically understaffed post office, so books on their way to me from the United States are usually in for an adventure. A package from Archipelago Books, example, arrived dripping wet, ...

Abilio Estévez and His Exile from Cuba [Month of a Thousand Forests]

Abilio Estévez is next up in the Month of a Thousand Forests series. Arcade brought out a couple of his books a decade ago, but the piece he chose as his “aesthetic highpoint” (excerpted below) has never appeared in English translation. Just a reminder, you can buy A Thousand Forests in One Acorn for only $15 ...

Alfredo Bryce Echenique and a Microcosm of Peru [Month of a Thousand Forests]

Up next in the Month of a Thousand Forests series is Alfredo Bryce Echenique, whose entry in A Thousand Forests includes a bit from his novel A World for Julius and a previously untranslated story, “Manzanas.” One of the most intriguing things about Echenique’s life is the plagiarism case that he was ...

Alberto Ruy Sánchez and Roland Barthes [Month of a Thousand Forests]

Alberto Ruy Sánchez, the next entry in the Month of a Thousand Forests series, has a couple books available in English: Names of the Air and The Secret Gardens of Mogador: Voices of the Earth. He also studied with Roland Barthes, which is why I included that bit from his interview. Just a reminder, you can buy A ...

Cristina Fernández Cubas and "Hijacking Stories" [Month of a Thousand Forests]

Cristina Fernaández Cubas is today’s first entry in the ongoing Month of a Thousand Forests series. Below you’ll find a bit from one of her novels, her explanation for why she included it, and a bit about what Julio Cortázar called “stories against the clock.” Through the end of the month you can ...

Ramiro Pinilla and that Moment When You Know You've Written Your Best Thing Ever [Month of a Thousand Forests]

Ramiro Pinilla is the next entry in the Month of a Thousand Forests series. I really like his explanation of why he chose this chapter from The Blind Ants. (And the story is pretty fantastic as well.) Just a reminder, you can buy A Thousand Forests in One Acorn for only $15 by entering FORESTS at checkout on the Open Letter ...

Mario Vargas Llosa Injecting Imagination and Novelty into Democratic Life [Month of a Thousand Forests]

First up today in the Month of a Thousand Forests series is Mario Vargas Llosa, who you might know from such books as Conversation in the Cathedral or Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter, neither of which he chose to include as his “best piece of writing.” Instead he turned to a couple of his more recent books: The ...

Evelio Rosero, the Youngest Inclusion [Month of a Thousand Forests]

The second author featured today in the Month of a Thousand Forests series is Evelio Rosero, the youngest author to be included in the anthology. Rosero has a couple novels available in English translation from New Directions. What he chose to include isn’t from either of those novels though. It’s from one of ...

Edgardo Cozarinsky and December 2008 [Month of a Thousand Forests]

I very much fell off pace with the Month of a Thousand Forests series, but by covering two authors a day, we’ll have highlighted everyone by the 30th. The first author for today is Edgardo Cozarinsky, who was first recommended to me by Horacio Castellanos Moya when he came to Rochester. FSG and Vintage did a couple ...

Kafka dreaming: Two contemporary fabulists

Madeleine LaRue is Associate Editor and Director of Publicity of Music & Literature. My strategy for BTBA reading is very simple and very biased: I read the books by women first, and if there are no books by women, then I read the shortest ones first. I start with the women because there are fewer of them, and with ...

Aurora Venturini, Then and Now [Month of a Thousand Forests]

So, we have 18 authors left to cover in the Month of a Thousand Forests series, and you have 15 days left at which to get the collection for only $15. (Just enter FORESTS at checkout.) First up today is Aurora Venturini, who kicks off the whole anthology, and who published her first book in 1942 and her most recent book in ...

I Called Him Necktie

While looking back at an episode in his life, twenty-year-old Taguchi Hiro remembers what his friend Kumamoto Akira said about poetry. Its perfection arises precisely from its imperfection . . . . I have an image in my head. I see it clearly before me. Its colors are glaring and harsh in their brightness. But as soon as ...

Latest Review: "I Called Him Necktie" by Milena Michiko Flašar

The latest addition to our Reviews section is a by Christopher Iacono on Milena Michiko Flašar’s I Called Him Necktie, translated by Sheila Dickie and published by New Vessel Press. Here’s the beginning of Chris’s review: While looking back at an episode in his life, twenty-year-old Taguchi Hiro ...

Horacio Castellanos Moya and the Permanent Influence of Faulkner [Month of a Thousand Forests]

As a weekend send-off, I thought I’d round off this week’s entries in the Month of a Thousand Forests with a bit from one of my favorite books of recent times — Senselessness by Horacio Castellanos Moya. You hopefully know this by now, but if you order A Thousand Forests in One Acorn from the Open Letter ...

Rafael Sánchez Ferlosio and His Precise Prose [Month of a Thousand Forests]

The first author in today’s Month of a Thousand Forests entry is Rafael Sánchez Ferlosio, who has a couple books available already in English, both translated by superstar Margaret Jull Costa. What’s most interesting about his work—at least to me—is his obsession with words, grammar, precise ...

Return to Killybegs

The central concern of Sorj Chalandon’s novel Return to Killybegs appears to be explaining how a person of staunch political activism can be lead to betray his cause, his country, his people. Truth be told, the real theme of the book is the importance and artifice of myths and legends. In this sense, the novel’s plot, ...

Latest Review: "Return to Killybegs" by Sorj Chalandon

The latest addition to our Reviews section is by Vincent Francone on Return to Killybegs by Sorj Chalandon, translated by Ursula Meany Scott and published by The Lilliput Press. All I have to say before we get to Vince’s review is that “Killybegs” sounds like something one might yell after a pint too many ...

Esther Tusquets and Social Criticism [Month of a Thousand Forests]

Up next in our ongoing Month of a Thousand Forests series. is Esther Tusquets, author of Stranded, The Same Sea as Every Summer, and Love Is a Solitary Game, to name a few of her titles that are available in English translation. Below you’ll find an excerpt from the interview with her, and a bit from her story, ...

Scott Cheshire on Plotless Novels

Electric Literature has a lengthy piece by Scott Cheshire on “plotless novels” that a lot of Three Percent readers would probably appreciate. Especially Max Frisch fans. The article is worth reading in its entirety, and excerpting it doesn’t do it justice, but here are a few paragraphs to draw you ...

Carlos Fuentes and Nationalist Writing [A Month of a Thousand Forests]

I’m going to start off today’s Month of a Thousand Forests entries with Carlos Fuentes—one of the greatest writers of all time. When I was at Dalkey Archive, we reprinted a few of his novels, including Where the Air Is Clear and Terra Nostra, which is excerpted below. I don’t love all of ...

Eduardo Mendoza and Barcelona Mysteries [A Month of a Thousand Forests]

The second author up today in the Month of a Thousand Forests series is Eduardo Mendoza. Rather than quote from his interview, I’m just running part of the bio that Valerie Miles wrote for him along with a bit from The Truth about the Savolta Case. As with all the other posts in this series, if you order A Thousand ...

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Three Percent #83: "Johnny Appledrone"

This week’s podcast is mostly about this BBC article on Hieroglyph, a collaborative project between scientists and science-fiction writers that was inspired by the Neal Stephenson article Innovation Starvation. Basically, this is a call to create fewer dystopian novels, and more positive sci-fi ideas that can help ...

South Asian Translations, and the Lack of Them

Over the past few weeks, Mahmud Rahman/Asymptote has been publishing a four-part series “On the Dearth of South Asian Translations in the U.S.” The whole series is worth reading, and below are a few key bits to whet your appetite . . . First off, from Part I: A small percentage of literary books published ...

Selected Stories

To call Kjell Askildsen’s style sparse or terse would be to understate just how far he pushes his prose. Almost nothing is explained, elaborated on. In simple sentences, events occur, words are exchanged, narrators have brief thoughts. As often as translators are praised for their work with complex, tangled sentences, I ...

Juan Marsé and French Women [A Month of a Thousand Forests]

Today’s entry in the Month of a Thousand Forests series is Juan Marsé, who has a few book available in English translation: Golden Girl, Lizard Tails, and Shanghai Nights. In this excerpt he talks a bit about this background and his time in Paris, which led to Últimas tardes con Teresa. __All this month, if you ...

Ana María Matute and the Shadow Children [A Month of a Thousand Forests]

Next up in our Month of a Thousand Forests series is Ana María Matute who has one book already available in English—School of the Sun, which was translated by Elaine Kerrigan and published by Columbia University Press. The piece that’s excerpted below is from Olvidado Rey Gudú which is “the book I wanted ...

José María Merino and Heidi [A Month of a Thousand Forests]

The second author to be featured in our overview of the new collection A Thousand Forests in One Acorn is Jose María Merino, a Spanish master of microfictions. Merino is one of the authors in this volume whose work is appearing in English for the first time. You can read other excerpts from Thousand Forests by clicking ...

Letter from an Unknown Woman and Other Stories

After a mysterious woman confesses to an author simply known as “R” that she has loved him since she was a teenager, she offers the following explanation: “There is nothing on earth like the love of a child that passes unnoticed in the dark because she has no hope: her love is submissive, so much a servant’s love, ...

Valerie Miles Gets Things Going [A Month of a Thousand Forests]

As promised at various points in the past, all this month we’re going to be running excerpts from our latest book, A Thousand Forests in One Acorn by Valerie Miles. This anthology—which is so much more than an anthology—features twenty-eight great writers from the past century, each of whom picked out the ...

Murakami Can Not Be Stopped!

Right on the heels of the recent release of Murakami’s Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage (see our review here), Murkami has another book coming out. From the New York Times: Haruki Murakami’s next book, “The Strange Library,” sounds surreal and experimental even for an author whose work ...

Colorless Tsukuru and His Years of Pilgrimage

Floating around the internet amid the hoopla of a new Haruki Murakami release, you may have come across a certain Murakami Bingo courtesy of Grant Snider. It is exactly what it sounds like, and it’s funny because it’s true, to a certain extent: Murakami, for better or worse, has a particular style, and with it come the ...

The End of Half-Day Fridays [Some September Translations]

And just like that, school’s back in session. Having students back on campus brings up so many complicated feelings. Annoyance being the first and more obvious. It’s super irritating that from one day to the next it becomes infinitely more difficult to find a parking place for you bike, that you have to wait in ...

The Matiushin Case

The publisher’s blurb for Oleg Pavlov’s The Matiushin Case promises the prospective reader “a Crime and Punishment for today,” the sort of comparison that is almost always guaranteed to do a disservice to both the legendary dead and the ambitious living. Predictably enough, The Matiushin Case is nothing like Crime and ...

Latest Review: "The Matiushin Case" by Oleg Pavlov

The latest addition to our Reviews section is by Brandy Harrison on Oleg Pavlov’s The Matiushin Case, translated by Andrew Bromfield, and published by And Other Stories. A lover of foreign literature (particularly from Eastern Europe and Russia) Brandy—a new addition to our reviewer pool—recently finished a BA in ...

Fear: A Novel of World War I

One hundred years have passed since the start of World War I and it is difficult to believe that there are still novels, considered classics in their own countries, that have never been published in English. Perhaps it was the overwhelming number of novels in English in the years following the war that prevented their ...

Latest Review: "Fear: A Novel of World War I" by Gabriel Chevallier

The latest addition to our Reviews section is by Paul Doyle on Gabriel Chevallier’s Fear: A Novel on World War I, translated by Malcolm Imrie, and published by New York Review Books. Here’s the beginning of Paul’s review: One hundred years have passed since the start of World War I and it is ...

A 14-Hour Zen Koan Shoved Though My Soul [Some August Translations]

Another month, another preview that’s late. This month caught me a bit by surprise though—how is it possible that the new academic year starts in three weeks? It just doesn’t seem right. So in the spirit of “How I Spent My Summer Vacation” essays, I thought I’d kick off this ...

Buenos Aires Review #2

The new issue of the Buenos Aires Review is now online, and features the following: BAR#2 features new fiction by Liliana Colanzi (Bolivia) and Thibault de Montaigu (France), as well as poetry by PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award-winning Ishion Hutchinson (Jamaica). Reviews and essays by Sam Rutter, Ernesto Hernández Busto and ...

A Few Good Reviews

Over the past few days, a few great reviews for Open Letter authors popped up online, all of which are worth sharing and reading. First up is P.T. Smith’s review for Full Stop of Sölvi Björn Sigurðsson’s The Last Days of My Mother, translated from the Icelandic by Helga Soffía Einarsdóttir: As a ...

Ottilie Mulzet on Translating "Seiobo There Below"

English PEN’s “World Bookshelf” blog has a fantastic piece by Ottilie Mulzet on the complexities of translating László Krasznahorkai’s Seiobo there Below, which won the both of them last year’s Best Translated Book Award. The whole article is worth reading, but here are a few really interesting ...

On Repackaging Italo Calvino's Oeuvre

Over at the New Yorker, there’s a really interesting interview with cover designer Peter Mendelsund, whose new book, What We See When We Read, sounds amazing: A gorgeously unique, fully illustrated exploration into the phenomenology of reading—how we visualize images from reading works of literature, from one of ...

Live Bait

When my eyes first crossed the back cover of Fabio Genovesi’s novel Live Bait, I was caught by a blurb nestled between accolades, a few words from a reviewer for La Repubblica stating that the novel was, however magically, “[b]eyond any cliché.” Generally, I’m a suspicious reader; big claims scare me off. Having ...

July Newsletter (With Special Subscription Offer!)

If you don’t already subscribe to our (sporadic, but in good times, bi-weekly) newsletter, you can do so by clicking here. And if you missed the one that went out earlier this week, you can see the prettified version here, or just read it all below. The Last Days of My Mother “Pick of the Week” in Publishers ...

Translation, A Reciprocal Process [Interview with Kareem James Abu-Zeid on "Nothing More to Lose" by Najwan Darwish]

It’s always interesting to read a translator’s commentary on his or her translation process. For me personally, hearing how other translators think and work only adds to my personal work and experience, alternately showing me approaches or tactics that don’t work for me and showing me approaches and tactics ...

Le Translation Preview [Some July Translations]

Now that the World Cup of Literature is officially over, with Roberto Bolaño’s By Night in Chile taking home the prize, it’s time to get back to writing normal blog posts, starting with this much overdue “preview” of forthcoming July translations. My initial plan with this post was to write it ...

Conversations

In Conversations, we find ourselves again in the protagonist’s conscious and subconscious, which is mostly likely that of Mr. César Aira and consistent with prototypical Aira style. This style never fails because each time Aira is able to develop a uniquely bogus set of facts that feels as realistic as waking up each ...

Latest Review: "Conversations" by César Aira

The latest addition to our Reviews section is by Tiffany Nichols on César Aira’s Conversations, translated by Katherine Silver and out from New Directions. After a wild World Cup of Literature ride, what better way to wind down or frustrations or victorious cries than to talk about them (or bite each other over ...

Chile vs. Germany [World Cup of Literature: Semifinals]

After 28 matches we’ve finally made it to the World Cup of Literature semifinals, and are only a few days away from crowning the first ever WCL Champion. (If only we had a giant papier-mâché trophy for the winner . . .) Before that though, we have two semifinal matches that are as intriguing as anything to date, ...

All Set for the Semifinals [World Cup of Literature]

And with Germany’s defeat of BiH the semifinals for the World Cup of Literature are all set. You can download a PDF version here. Here’s a bit of a breakdown on these two match ups: Chile By Night in Chile by Roberto Bolaño, translated from the Spanish by Chris Andrews Originally published in ...

Bosnia vs. Germany [World Cup of Literature: Quarterfinals]

In the last of the four quarterfinal match ups, BiH, represented by Saša Stanišić’s How the Soldier Repairs the Gramophone, goes up against one of the World Cup of Literature favorites, Germany and W.G. Sebald’s Austerlitz. Stanišic made it here first by bribing a judge and beating Iran’s ...

Latest Review: "Nothing Ever Happens" by José Ovejero

The latest addition to our Reviews section is by Juan Carlos Postigo on Nothing Ever Happens by José Ovejero, translated by Philip H. D. Smith and Graziella de Luis, and published by Hispabooks Publishing. If you’re still not familiar with Hispabooks, they were founded in 2011 and brought their first books to light ...

Nothing Ever Happens

You are not ashamed of what you do, but of what they see you do. Without realizing it, life can be an accumulation of secrets that permeates every last minute of our routine . . . The narrative history of José Ovejero’s Nothing Ever Happens lies in its five protagonists (the chapters are titled with the names of the ...

USA vs. Belgium [World Cup of Literature: Second Round]

This match was judged by Lori Feathers. For more info on the World Cup of Literature, read this, and download the updated bracket. Conventional wisdom pronounced that Team USA would face a quick death in this year’s World Cup: drawing into the “group of death”; no superstar players; Coach Klinsmann’s ...

Argentina vs. France [World Cup of Literature: Second Round]

This match was judged by Tom Roberge. For more info on the World Cup of Literature, read this, and download the updated bracket. I genuinely love the World Cup. And yet every four years I’m reminded why I haven’t picked an English Premier League team to support, why in the end I’m glad it’s over, why I have no ...

Germany vs. Algeria [World Cup of Literature: Second Round]

This match was judged by Florian Duijsens. For more info on the World Cup of Literature, read this, and download the updated bracket. To pitch anyone against W. G. Sebald is a cruel exercise, even within the high-stakes tournament that is the World Cup of Literature. More so even than Bolaño, whose fame in the ...

Japan vs. Italy [World Cup of Literature: Second Round]

This match was judged by Rhea Lyons. For more info on the World Cup of Literature, read this, and download the updated bracket. One of the first games of the second round finds Elena Ferrante’s Days of Abandonment pitted against the Japanese juggernaut 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami. Ferrante’s Days of ...

Luis Negrón's "Mundo Cruel" Wins a 2014 Lambda Literary Award

On June 2nd, Luis Negrón’s Mundo Cruel (trans. Suzanne Jill Levine, pub. Seven Stories Press) was named recepient of the 2014 Lambda Literary Award for Gay General Fiction. Of great note is that this is the first time in Lambda Literary Award history (the first award ceremony was held in 1989) that a work of fiction in ...

First Round Complete! [World Cup of Literature]

The first round of the inaugural World Cup of Literature is complete! Over the past two weeks, we’ve seen sixteen books eliminated from the competition for a variety of reasons. (Click here to read all of the pieces from the first round.) The second round starts—and finishes—next week, so for those of you ...

Uruguay vs. Costa Rica [World Cup of Literature: First Round]

This match was judged by Kaija Straumanis. For more info on the World Cup of Literature, read this, and download the bracket. One of my personal concerns going into the World Cup of Literature was ending up with a book I had already read—something that quickly became not an issue at all, since out of the 32 ...

Belgium vs. South Korea [World Cup of Literature: First Round]

This match was judged by Scott Esposito. For more info on the World Cup of Literature, read this, and download the bracket. Everybody knows you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, and I’m trying damn hard to resist doing just that, but the fact remains that the cover of the St. Martin’s edition of The ...

Chile vs. Netherlands [World Cup of Literature: First Round]

This match was judged by Shaun Randol. For more info on the World Cup of Literature, read this, and download the bracket. The record for the fastest goal ever scored in a World Cup match belongs to Hakan Sukur of Turkey. Eleven seconds into the 2002 match against South Korea, Sukur capitalized on a mistake in the ...

France vs. Ecuador [World Cup of Literature: First Round]

This match was judged by P.T. Smith. For more info on the World Cup of Literature, read this, and download the bracket. France and Ecuador take to the pitch in what appears to be a serious mismatch. France, represented by Prix Goncourt winner Michel Houellebecq, teamed up with translator Gavin Bowd, puts forth The Map ...

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Three Percent #78: "I Believe in Guns and Weed"

On this week’s podcast, Chad and Tom review the opening round of the World Cup of Literature and make some predictions, talk about the Amazon-Hachette kerfuffle, and discuss the awfulness of The American Outlaws and the awesomeness of a couple Wikipedia pages. (You have to listen to find out which ones.) Because it ...

Portugal vs. USA [World Cup of Literature: First Round]

This match was judged by Will Evans. For more info on the World Cup of Literature, read this, and download the bracket. The result came to me as a shock, more of a shock to me even than to you: the US pulled out a 3-2 stunner of a victory over Portugal in the 2014 World Cup of Literature: David Foster Wallace’s final, ...

Latest Review: "Bombay Stories" by Saadat Hasan Manto

The latest addition to our Reviews section is by Will Eells on Bombay Stories, translated by Matt Reeck and Aftab Ahmad, and out from Vintage International. For those of you who are regulars, you may remember Will’s name—he’s a former student of Chad’s at the University of Rochester, budding translator ...

Oxford-Weidenfeld Translation Prize Winner Announced

The winner of the Oxford-Weidenfeld Translation Prize 2014 is Susan Wicks for her translation of Valérie Rouzeau’s Talking Vrouz (Arc publications). From the judges: “Talking Vrouz is a wonderfully inventive and yet faithful translation of poems which are already at an oblique angle to their own language ...

Spain vs. Australia [World Cup of Literature: First Round]

This match was judged by Mauro Javier Cardenas. For more info on the World Cup of Literature, read this, and download the bracket. In the year 2010, seventeen years after I stopped watching soccer, I wrote a paean to Your Face Tomorrow, claiming that “here’s the wonderfully parenthetical operations of a human mind in ...

Russia vs. Algeria [World Cup of Literature: First Round]

This match was judged by Chris Schaefer. For more info on the World Cup of Literature, read this, and download the bracket. This first-round match pits a futuristic fantasy of reborn Russian czardom against a present-day fantasy of repressed Algerian Islamism in Paris. Male author against female. Slav against Arab. ...

Brazil vs. Cameroon [World Cup of Literature: First Round]

This match was judged by Jeffrey Zuckerman. For more info on the World Cup of Literature, read this, and download the bracket. The last time I watched a soccer game was in the last World Cup, in July of 2010. I had just graduated and moved off campus with my roommate from college. Down the block, a bar was packed with ...

World Cup of Literature: The Books, The Judges, The Match Schedule

With the Real World Cup (RWC) kicking off Thursday afternoon, it’s time to announce the participants in this year’s World Cup of Literature (WCL). This post is pretty long, but is also packed with information: all 32 competing titles, the names of the 24 judges, a bit of info on the methodology, and the official ...

Austrian Cultural Forum Relaunches Translation Prize

Earlier today amid the 2014 BEA fray, Deputy Director Christian J. Ebner of the Austrian Culture Fund of New York took the East Side/Translation Stage with translator Damion Searls to announce the grand relaunch of its Translation Prize, as well as a call for applications to the 2015 prize. Searls, who was the recipient of ...

Crossing Worlds: Translation, Eventfulness, and the Political @ Barnard College

On Friday, May 2 and Saturday, May 3, the Center for Translation Studies and the Columbia Institute for Comparative Literature and Society will present a conference, Crossing Worlds: Translation, Eventfulness, and the Political. Crossing Worlds: Translation, Eventfulness and the Political, a conference organized by the ...

Latest Review: "Masters and Servants" by Pierre Michon

The latest addition to our Reviews section is by Tiffany Nichols on Masters and Servants by Pierre Michon, translated (illustrated, and with an introduction) by Wyatt Mason, and out from Yale University Press. When’s the last time you read a book, and were so moved or inspired by what you read that you immediately ...

“The Guest in the Wood” by Elisa Biagini [Why This Book Should Win]

The second entry in the “Why This Book Should Win” series for this year’s BTBA Poetry Finalists is by judge Anna Rosenwong.   The Guest in the Wood by Elisa Biagini, translated from the Italian by Diana Thow, Sarah Stickney, and Eugene Ostashevsky (Italy; Chelsea Editions) I love The Guest in the Wood. I ...

“His Days Go By the Way Her Years” by Ye Mimi [Why This Book Should Win]

With this post we’re kicking off the “Why This Book Should Win” series for this year’s BTBA Poetry Finalists. This piece is by judge Anna Rosenwong.   His Days Go By the Way Her Years by Ye Mimi, translated from the Chinese by Steve Bradbury (Taiwan; Anomalous Press) the train sidles into the station at ...

Why This Book Should Win: The 10 Fiction Finalists

Now that the ten finalists for the 2014 BTBA in Fiction have been announced, it’s worth taking a look back at the reasons “why these books should win” according to the judges and other readers. Below is a list of all ten finalists, with links to their individual write ups along with a key quote from each. ...

“Blinding” by Mircea Cărtărescu [Why This Book Should Win]

And here’s the final post in the “Why This Book Should Win” series for the 2014 BTBA fiction longlist. I’ll post a handy guide to all of these posts later this afternoon, but for now just enjoy Bromance Will (aka Will Evans, the founder and director of Deep Vellum) wax enthusiastic for his favorite book from the past ...

"The Whispering Muse" by Sjón [Why This Book Should Win]

We’re down to the last three longlisted titles, so we’re going to have to cram these in before Tuesday morning’s announcement of the fiction and poetry finalists. I’ll be writing the first two, Bromance Will will bring it home tomorrow evening. The Whispering Muse by Sjón, translated from the ...

Sankya

When Sankya was published in Russia in 2006, it became a sensation. It won the Yasnaya Polyana Award (bestowed by direct descendants of Leo Tolstoy) and was shortlisted for the Russian Booker and the National Bestseller Award. Every member of the cultural elite had an opinion on it. There was even a hatchet job by the ...

“Sandalwood Death” by Mo Yan, Trans. by Howard Goldblatt [Why This Book Should Win the BTBA]

Today’s entry in the “Why This Book Should Win” series is from Jonathan Stalling, an Associate Professor of English at Oklahoma University specializing in Modern-Contemporary American and East-West Poetics, Comparative Literature, and Translation Studies. He is also the co-founder and deputy editor-in-chief of Chinese ...

How to Become a Pessimist [Some April 2014 Translations]

Every semester I tell my publishing students about the time I was walking around BEA with Jerome Kramer and he pointed out how the whole fair was “filled with failure.” Mostly I want to shock and break them—every good professor needs to upend his/her student’s expectations and their latent belief that ...

A True Novel by Minae Mizumura, Trans. by Juliet Winters Carpenter -Why This Book Should Win

Ariel Starling is a writer and student of literature in Paris. Written largely as a story-within-a-story-within-a-story, the obvious image at hand for A True Novel’s structure is that of the Russian matryoshka doll. But perhaps a better metaphor would be an origami crane, for reasons as aesthetic as cultural. ...

The Story of a New Name by Elena Ferrante, Trans. by Ann Goldstein – Why This Book Should Win

Monica Carter curates Salonica World Lit. She is a writer and reviewer. Her most recent critical piece appeared in World Literature Today (September 2013). She is also a reader for Tin House Magazine. There is something about Elena Ferrante as a writer that is difficult to ignore. She never misses a beat. Her novels, ...

Her Not All Her by Elfriede Jelinek, Trans. by Damion Searls – Why This Book Should Win

B.A. Rice is a poet from Texas who lives in Los Angeles. The impossibilities of translation are seldom as overtly formalized as they are in Damion Searls’s version of Elfriede Jelinek’s 1998 play er nicht als her, and for good reason — the play is a monologue built from the sentences of two writers, Jelinek and ...

Sleet By Stig Dagerman – Why This Book Should Win

Elizabeth Harris’s translations from Italian include Mario Rigoni Stern’s novel Giacomo’s Seasons (Autumn Hill Books) and Giulio Mozzi’s story collection, This Is the Garden (Open Letter Books). She has won a 2013 Translation Prize from the Italian Ministry of Foreign Culture (Rome) for Rigoni Stern’s Giacomo’s ...

The AWP of Bubbles, Balloons, and Lonely Hipsters [Some March 2014 Translations]

Last weekend, over 14,000 writers, publishers, agents, translators, reviewers, professors, and readers swarmed the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle for the annual Associated Writing Programs conference—four days of heavy drinking, pot-chocolate (it’s legal in Washington!), endless craft panels, a ...

My Fathers' Ghost is Climbing in the Rain

Though far from the most convincing reason to read literature in translation, one common side effect is learning of another culture, of its history. Within that, and a stronger motivation to read, is the discovery of stories not possible within your own culture, or that live in a certain parallel universe version of a ...

Independent Foreign Fiction Prize 2014: The Longlist

Next Tuesday we’ll be announcing the 25-title Best Translated Book Award longlist, which makes today’s announcement of the IFFP longlist even that more intriguing . . . Although there are different eligibility rules between the two prizes—and different books published in the UK vs. the U.S.—there often ...

Stephen Sparks Goes Around the World with BTBA

Stephen Sparks is a buyer at Green Apple Books. He lives in San Francisco and blogs at Invisible Stories. Poorly detailed Google map With the longlist set to be announced in a matter of days—just this morning the judges received the (top secret!) results of our initial vote to narrow down all eligible books to a ...

Open Letter Editor Getting Hit in the Face, Repeatedly

This isn’t exactly books related, but in case you’re one of the millions of people of people who have come across this photo recently (like on HuffPo, HLN TV, Reddit, Daily Mail The Sun, Bored Panda, the oft-ridiculed Flavorwire, and several others), I have two things to tell you: 1) Yes, that is a copy of ...

"Why I Killed My Best Friend" by Amanda Michalopoulou [GoodReads Giveaway]

Our latest GoodReads Giveaway is for Amanda Michalopoulou’s Why I Killed My Best Friend, which may well win the prize for the best Open Letter title ever. And, along with Navidad & Matanza, it’s in the running for one of the best blurbs: “Flawlessly translated, Amanda Michalopolou’s WIKMBF uses ...

Daniel Medin’s BTBA Favorites: Winter Reading

Daniel Medin teaches at the American University of Paris, where he helps direct the Center for Writers and Translators, is an editor of The Cahiers Series ,and co-hosts the podcast entitled That Other Word. He has authored a study of Franz Kafka in the work of three international writers (Northwestern University Press, 2010) ...

Reason #387 Why Publishing Is a Thankless, Frustrating Business

Last year we brought out Tirza by Arnon Grunberg, one of my favorite books of the past few years. (And a title that deserves to at least be shortlisted for this year’s BTBA . . .) At the time I talked to Arnon about doing two of his other books—The Man without Illness and The Asylum Seekers—since we all ...

IPAF 2014 Shorlist

Following on last month’s announcement of the longlist for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction, the six-title short list was revealed yesterday. This year’s six novels are wide-ranging in both subject matter and style. They include: a prison novel from Morocco; a story about one family’s dispersal around ...

Room 237 vs. "People Powered Publishing" [Some February Translations]

The other night I finally got around to watching Room 237, which, if you haven’t heard of it already, is a documentary about people obsessed with Kubrick’s The Shining and their various, often wacky, theories about what’s really going on in the movie. It’s absolutely fascinating, and not necessarily ...

2013 Music! [Kaija's Picks]

Because we at Open Letter value deadlines and all things timely, I’m going to keep this short and sweet1 and over a month late to bring to you my ten Best Of 2013 album/song/music picks. As I mentioned on the podcast, I had a particularly hard time choosing 10 albums as a whole (which I cheat on anyway) because there ...

The Mongolian Conspiracy

Noir is not an easy genre to define—or if it once was, that was a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away; as a quick guess, maybe Silver Lake, Los Angeles, 1935. When two books as different as Rafael Bernal’s The Mongolian Conspiracy (Mexico, 1969) and César Aira’s Shantytown (originally published in 2001 in ...

Latest Review: "The Mongolian Conspiracy" by Rafael Bernal

The latest addition to our Reviews Section is a piece by Owen Rowe on The Mongolian Conspiracy by Rafael Bernai, translated by Katherine Silver, and out from New Directions. Owen (Matt) Rowe is a writer, editor, and translator (from Portuguese and Italian) based in Port Townsend, Washington. Stay tuned for his upcoming ...

Slim Little Stories

Sarah Gerard is a writer who used to work at McNally Jackson Books, but recently took a job at BOMB Magazine. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, New York Magazine, Bookforum, the Paris Review Daily, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Slice Magazine, and other publications. Her new book, “Things I Told My ...

The Missing Year of Juan Salvatierra

Some time ago I read this phrase: “The page is the only place in the universe God left blank for me.” Pedro Mairal’s short novel The Missing Year of Juan Salvatierra is more about these blank spaces than the usual full ones. It’s a novel where the things that are left out are just as important as the ...

Latest Review: "The Missing Year of Juan Salvatierra" by Pedro Mairal

The latest addition to our Reviews Section is a piece by Katherine Rucker on The Missing Years of Juan Salvatierra by Pedro Mairal, translated by Nick Caistor, from New Vessel Press. Katherine is another of the students in the University of Rochester’s MA in Literary Translation Studies program, whose name you may ...

A Fairy Tale

It is destined that we will all become our parents. Some try to avoid it while others embrace the metamorphosis. Either way, it never fails— children eventually become their parents. A Fairy Tale is a psychological novel told through day-to-day activities that appear mostly normal from the narrator’s point of view and ...

Latest Review: "A Fairy Tale" by Jonas T. Bengtsson

The latest addition to our Reviews Section is a piece by Tiffany Nichols on A Fairy Tale by Jonas T. Bengtsson, translated by Charlotte Barslund and out from Other Press. This is Bengtsson’s third novel, though his first published in English—the book is actually already available from House of Anansi Press in ...

Passionate Nomads

Passionate Nomads, by Argentinian writer María Rosa Lojo, comes to us from Aliform Publishing in a riveting translation from its Spanish original by Brett Alan Sanders. And before I get into the book’s details, allow me to first make a quick and rather bold statement: if these roughly 250 pages of prose lack anything, ...

fungus skull eye wing

When I pick up a book of poems labelled “nature poetry” I expect images of autumn leaves, sunrises and sunsets, flowers in various stages from spring through the end of summer, tracking a first person reflection on life’s challenges. Roethke, Ammons, and contemporary poets such as Patti Anne Rogers craft authentic ...

Latest Review: "fungus skull eye wing" by Alfonso D’Aquino

The latest addition to our Reviews Section is a piece by Grant Barber on Alfonso D’Aquino’s fungus skull eye wing, translated by Forrest Gander and out from Copper Canyon Press. One cool factoid and product from the process of this bilingual volume of poetry coming to be, as Grant points out, is that D’Aquino ...

American Literature Is "Massively Overrated" [How to Turn a Positive Article into a Rant]

This morning, the Guardian: ran an interesting piece recapping a session on the “global novel” at the Jaipur Festival—a session that got a bit heated when Xiaolu Guo called out, well, contemporary American writing1: “Our reading habit has been stolen and changed” said Guo. “For example ...

All My Friends

For my first review for Open Letter Books, I was delighted to discover in my letterbox in the French Pyrenees a copy of Marie NDiaye’s All My Friends. Tearing open the package, I savored the look and feel of the jacket covers, as is my habit prior to dipping into a book. It was smooth, rich and velvety to the touch, black ...

The Thaw

Short story collections, whether collected over a period of time or written specifically as a set, often have a way of revealing an author’s preoccupation, and Ólafur Gunnarsson’s The Thaw is no different. Throughout its ten stories, we see the same themes turned to time and time again: ambiguity overlaying points of ...

Fucking BTBA!

This week’s BTBA post is written by George Carroll, a publishers representative based in Seattle who blogs at North-North-West. He is also the soccer editor for Shelf Awareness and he and Chad frequently spent part of the weekend texting about EPL match-ups and Manchester Fucking United. He’s also helping to organize ...

2014 Longlist for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction

From the official Arab Fiction website: The International Prize for Arabic Fiction has today (Tuesday 7 January) announced the longlist of 16 novels in contention for the 2014 prize. Those selected were chosen from 156 entries from 18 countries, all published within the last 12 months. The 2014 longlisted authors ...

Inga Ābele in World Literature Today

The new issue of World Literature Today is now available, and filled with great stuff (an interview with Anne Carson, feature on Naomi Shihab Nye, profile of 2014 Neustadt International Prize for Literature winner Mia Couto, a feature on Arabic books for teens), but in addition to the magazine, WLT has an outstanding blog and ...

The Snow Day Edition [Some January Translations]

Along with about, well, everyone else in the northeast, I’m snowed into my apartment today, so instead of answering the phones at Open Letter (HA! no one ever calls us), I’m at home, working on our forthcoming anthology of Spanish literature, A Thousand Forests in One Acorn, and, as a break of sorts, I thought ...

Latest Review: "The Faint-hearted Bolshevik" by Lorenzo Silva

Because we love books and love to talk about them SO MUCH (and because we fell behind a bit over the holidays AND because we’re all snowed in today after last nights semi-blizzard), here’s another review for all y’all before the weekend hits. This latest addition to our “Reviews”: section in a ...

The Faint-hearted Bolshevik

Let’s say you’re in a car accident. It’s not a bad one. You rear-end someone on a busy highway where traffic is crawling. And let’s say the person you hit happens to be a wealthy woman who leaps from her vehicle and berates you in language unfit for the ears of small children. What would you do? Javier, the supposed ...

The Genre Heap

Michael Orthofer runs the Complete Review – a book review site with a focus on international fiction – and its Literary Saloon weblog. A common complaint leveled against the Man Booker Prize is that it ignores genre fiction – for a couple of years there was the obligatory Ian Rankin denunciation of how unfair it was ...

The Hare

“I should say at the outset that there is a lot of absurdity in the whole thing.” As the shaman Mallén prepares to explain to Clarke the legend of the Legibrerian hare, I can’t help but read “the whole thing” as not simply the legend, but indeed the entire novel. At nearly 300 pages, The Hare is a great deal ...

Latest Review: "The Hare" by César Aira

The latest addition to our Reviews Section is by Emily Davis on César Aira’s The Hare, from New Directions. Emily is a graduate of the University of Rochester’s MA in Literary Translation Studies program, and now lives in India, rubbing elbows with other awesome translators, and is also one of the contributing ...

Dutch Treats

Michael Orthofer runs the Complete Review – a book review site with a focus on international fiction – and its Literary Saloon weblog. One of the many interesting things about judging the Best Translated Book Award is the sense it gives you of what (and how much) is actually being translated into English (and ...

Daniel Medin’s BTBA favorites: Autumn reading

Daniel Medin teaches at the American University of Paris, where he helps direct the Center for Writers and Translators, is an editor of The Cahiers Series ,and co-hosts the podcast entitled That Other Word. He has authored a study of Franz Kafka in the work of three international writers (Northwestern University Press, 2010) ...

Words Without Borders: The Oulipo Issue

Aside from every stupid Buzzfeed list ever, the number one link I’ve seen on my social media networks over the past few days has been to the new Words Without Borders issue. On the one hand, this is a testament to the amazingness of WWB; on the other, it illustrates that the vast majority of my friends are book nerds ...

Paul Klee's Boat

Paul Klee’s Boat, Anzhelina Polonskaya’s newest bilingual collection of poems available in English, is an emotional journey through the bleakest seasons of the human soul, translated with great nuance by Andrew Wachtel. A former professional ice dancer(!), Polonskaya left the world of dancing and moved back home to the ...

Thanksgiving Weekend (and Hanukkah Week) Is a Weekend (Week) for Reading

Thanks to a blown out tire, which forced me to spend most of last Friday riding in a tow truck and sitting in a tire shop, I didn’t have a chance to write my weekly Weekend Reading post.1 So this week, I’m going to triple up on the normal post and write about the three books I hope to spend the next four days ...

Seiobo There Below

In Seiobo There Below, Lázló Krasznahorkai is able to succeed at a task at which many writers fail: to dedicate an entire novel to a single message, to express an idea over and over again without falling into repetition or didacticism. His novel is an insistence that the rapturous does exist, can be met, and that, although ...

Zachary Karabashliev and the Texas Book Festival

Zachary Karabashliev, author of the wildly fun 18% Gray recently participated in the Texas Book Festival in Austin. According to the dozen or so friends I know who attended, it sounded like a real blast. So I thought I’d ask Zach a few questions about his experience, and share some of his photographs. (If you’ve ...

Blood Curse and I Will Have Vengeance

There are curious similarities in three Italian mystery series, written by Maurizio de Giovanni, Andrea Camilleri, and Donna Leon.1 They’re all police procedurals, and all set in Italy: Naples, Sicily, Venice. The three protagonists are Commissarios: Luigi Ricciardi, Salvo Montalbano, and Guido Brunetti. They all ...

Latest Review: "Blood Curse" and "I Will Have Vengeance" by Maurizio de Giovanni

The latest addition to our reviews section is a piece by George Carroll on two Maurizio de Giovanni books that Europa Editions recently released: Blood Curse and I Will Have Vengeance. I’ve been hoping to cover more crime books on the site—mainly because there are so many, lots of people, including Tom Roberge, ...

Step Out of Line, The Man Comes . . .

This week’s BTBA post is written by George Carroll, a publishers representative based in Seattle who blogs at North-North-West. He is also the soccer editor for Shelf Awareness and he and Chad frequently spent part of the weekend texting about EPL match-ups and Manchester Fucking United. Paranoia by Victor ...

Short Stories, STAT!

Monica Carter curates Salonica World Lit. She is a writer and her most recent piece appeared in World Literature Today (September 2013). Being a judge for the Best Translated Book Award is one of the pleasures I have had the opportunity to participate in for the past few years. Not only because I am able to read the ...

November 2013 Translations Worth Checking Out: The "ORDNUNG!" Edition

Before getting into this month’s list of recommended translations—which is kind of long, mostly because I couldn’t decide on which titles to cut—I want to follow-up a bit on last month’s post about our trip to the Frankfurt Book Fair. Actually, to be more specific, I want to talk about Germans ...

A Cautionary Tale

Here’s an open letter from Jonathan Wright about some shit that went down with Knopf and Dr. Alaa Al Aswany, the author of The Yacoubian Building. If nothing else, you MUST check out this set of corrections from Al Aswany. It is things. And something I’m using in my classes from now until forever . . . Anyway, the ...

Ineligible Books

Stephen Sparks is a buyer at Green Apple Books. He lives in San Francisco and blogs at Invisible Stories. The fine print attached to the Best Translated Book Award states that in order to be eligible, a work cannot have been previously translated. I don’t disagree with the rule, especially as we already over 350 books to ...

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Three Percent #65: Erudition Isn't the Same as Being Intentionally Esoteric

This week’s podcast is the first one Tom and I have recorded in almost a month. So after a bit of catching up, we talked about David Bellos’s new translation of Simenon’s Pietr the Latvian, the difficulties of translating “I love you” and all the swears into Japanese, and this list of “The ...

October 2013 Translations Worth Checking Out: The "Our Flight to Frankfurt Is Delayed" Edition

As mentioned last month, I decided to start this monthly round-up for two reasons—to highlight a few interesting books in translation that other venues likely won’t, and because I think there’s more to literature that the monthly Flavorwire listicles. (One more Flavorwire thing: It’s totally fine that ...

Nobel Considerations

BTBA blog post – Michael Orthofer Michael Orthofer runs the Complete Review – a book review site with a focus on international fiction – and its Literary Saloon weblog. This Thursday or next the Swedish Academy will likely announce who will receive the 2013 Nobel Prize in Literature – still considered the ultimate ...

Arnon Grunberg in The Believer

Arnon Grunberg—author of a number of books, including Tirza, which is one of my favorite Open Letter titles from 2013—has a really fantastic essay about a trip to Thessaloniki in the new issue of The Believer. You need to read the whole long thing, but here’s a bit to entice you: Until recently, wars ...

Under This Terrible Sun

Equal parts stoner pulp thriller and psycho-physiological horror story, a pervasive sense of dread mixes with a cloud of weed smoke to seep into every line of the disturbing, complex Under This Terrible Sun. Originally published by illustrious Spanish publishers Editorial Anagrama, Under This Terrible Sun is Argentine ...

Between Friends

Throughout his career—in fact from his very first book, Where the Jackals Howl (1965)—the renowned Israeli writer Amos Oz has set much of his fiction on the kibbutz, collective communities he portrays as bastions of social cohesion and stultifying conformity in equal measure. In his latest book, which like Where the ...

Latest Review: "Between Friends" by Amos Oz

The latest addition to our Reviews Section is by Dan Vitale on Amos Oz’s Between Friends, from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and which incidentally comes out today. Dan is a contributing reviewer of ours who is making his first appearance in a while on Three Percent—and with a piece on an author I understand to be one ...

Ten Translations to Check Out in September: Not Really a Listicle

I’ve been wanting to do monthly highlights of books coming out for a while, but thought to myself that, well, Flavorwire already does stuff like this, so why bother. Then I remembered that Flavorwire is the worst, so here we are. High Tide by Inga Ābele. Translated from the Latvian by Kaija Straumanis. ($15.95, ...

Weekend Reading: "Hothouse" by Boris Kachka

If you’re looking for a book to read this weekend, one worth checking out is Boris Kachka’s Hothouse: The Art of Survival and the Survival of Art at America’s Most Celebrated Publishing House, Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Coincidentally, my copy is supposed to arrive today, AND, more relevantly, ...

MatchBook is NOT a Dating Service for Readers

Amazon made a couple of announcements yesterday that, as Amazon announcements tend to do, set the book world atwitter. They announced the next version of the Kindle, but the news that really generated the headlines was the announcement of “MatchBook.”1 Amazon has unveiled a new US initiative to bundle print ...

LARB Interview with Brendon O'Kane

Over at the Los Angeles Review of Books, Jeffrey Wasserstrom (author of China in the 21st Century: What Everyone Needs to Know and co-editor of Chinese Characters: Profiles of Fast-Changing Lives in a Fast-Changing Land) has an interview with Brendan O’Kane, who, well, I’ll let Wasserstrom explain his importance ...

What Darkness Was

Of all the Holocaust novel genres, the most interesting is often the one that doesn’t describe clearly defined horrors, written with a clarity that brings the events into the present, whether written in present tense or not, but the one grasping at memories, personal or cultural, and even more so the ones of shadow ...

Latest Review: "What Darkness Was" by Inka Parei

The latest addition to our Reviews Section is from P. T. Smith on Inka Parei’s What Darkness Was, from Seagull Books. This book was another one several of our reviewers jumped at, and yet another strong and insanely fascinating sounding piece of German literature, and German literature in translation. That, and Inka ...

Some Thoughts on Quebec's Attempt to Legislate Fixed Book Prices

As you may have read in yesterday’s PW Daily, this past Monday, a Quebec legislative committee opening a couple weeks of hearings on the idea of implementing fixed book prices in the province to benefit and preserve independent bookstores. From the “Montreal Gazette:”: Under the scheme, booksellers, ...

Latest Review: "The Infatuations" by Javier Marías

The latest addition to our Reviews Section is a piece from Jeremy Garber on Javier Marías’s The Infatuations, translated from the Spanish by Margaret Jull Costa and available from Knopf. I could take a year off of work just to read, and at the end of that year, my “to read” bookshelves would still be ...

Dark Company

If you open Gert Loschütz’s new novel Dark Company expecting a clear answer as to who the titular dark company are, and why the protagonist’s grandfather warned him against them, you are sadly doomed to disappointment. Indeed, if you want a clear linear plotline neatly laid out, a consistent character set, or a ...

Latest Review: "Dark Company: A Novel in Ten Rainy Nights" by Gert Loschütz

The latest addition to our Reviews Section is by Rachael Daum on Dark Company: A Novel in Ten Rainy Nights by Gert Loschütz, from Seagull Books. Rachael (with an “A-E”, thankyouverymuch) I believe it’s been mentioned before, is a former intern-student of Open Letter, and a great friend to and advocate for ...

Latest Review: "A True Novel" by Minae Mizumura

The latest addition to our Reviews Section is by Hannah Vose on A True Novel by Minae Mizumura, from Other Press. To go against the grain of prologues and intros (more on that from This Hannah in a bit), here’s the beginning of her review: If you’re one of those people who habitually skim the prologue to a ...

A True Novel

If you’re one of those people who habitually skim the prologue to a book, Minae Mizumura’s _A True Novel_—her third novel and the winner of the Yomiuri Literature Prize in Japan in 2002—might not appear to be for you. That is to say, the prologue takes up at least a third of the first volume of the book, and it’s ...

Preview of Brazilian Literature at Frankfurt

You may have already read this, but last week, Publishing Perspectives ran a piece I wrote about Brazil being the Guest of Honor at the Frankfurt Book Fair this fall. Below is that article in full with extra links to all the books mentioned. (And as a sidenote, in addition to the review of João Almino’s The Book of ...

The Book of Emotions

João Almino’s The Book of Emotions is the prototypical Dalkey Archive book. Not that all of Dalkey’s books are the same, but there is a certain set of criteria that a lot of their titles have—and which Almino’s novel has in spades: It’s a book about someone trying to write a book. From Mulligan Stew to At ...

Latest Review: "The Book of Emotions" by João Almino

The latest addition to our Reviews Section is by Chad W. Post on The Book of Emotions by João Almino, from Dalkey Archive Press. Here’s the beginning of the review: João Almino’s The Book of Emotions is the prototypical Dalkey Archive book. Not that all of Dalkey’s books are the same, but there is a certain ...

Antonia Lloyd-Jones Wins Again

Wow. I’m just going to post this press release in its entirety: The Polish Book Institute, the Polish Cultural Institute London, and the Polish Cultural Institute New York are delighted to announce that the winner of the 2012 Found in Translation Award is Antonia Lloyd-Jones. Usually the award is given for a single ...

Amsterdam Stories

Nescio, Koekebakker, J.H.F. Grönloh. Writing only in his spare time, he was known to most of the world as a respectable and prominent businessman, the director of the Holland-Bombay Trading Company: exactly the kind of man whom his early protagonists would scorn, and at whom his later protagonists would smile grimly, knowing ...

Latest Review: "Amsterdam Stories" by Nescio

The latest addition to our Reviews Section is by Hannah Chute on Amsterdam Stories by Nescio, from New York Review Books. Hannah is one of two Hannahs interning at Open Letter this summer. We’re still working on a good nickname for her—for now, depending on the situation, we (read: I) have been referring to the ...

July 2013 Asymptote Journal

The new issue of Asymptote is now available, and GOD DAMN is it loaded. Just read this intro note from the editors: Every translation is a conversation, each translator in dialogue with the original author, each language speaking to another. Asymptote’s Summer issue is full of such conversations, perhaps most ...

23rd Biennial Neustadt International Prize for Literature Nominees

Earlier this week, the nine nominees for the Neustadt International Prize were announced. Before listing all nine of them, here’s a bit about the prize itself: The Neustadt Prize is the most prestigious international literary award given in the United States, often cited as “the American Nobel,” and is chosen ...

Kafka's Hat

Quebecois author Patrice Martin’s first book, translated into English by Chantal Bilodeau as Kafka’s Hat and published by Talon, is strongly influenced by Italo Calvino, Jorge Luis Borges, and Paul Auster. I’m putting this up front because it is something Martin really, really wants you to know. These authors are named ...

Latest Review: "Kafka's Hat" by Patrice Martin

The latest addition to our Reviews Section is by P.T. Smith on Kafka’s Hat by Patrice Martin, from Talon. Patrick is pumping out these book reviews for us, and has much to say about Kafka’s Hat, the title of which, I’ll admit, makes me want to giggle. As does Wigrum. I don’t think I can explain why. ...

I'm Getting Up in 8 Hours, So, Phoning It In [Brazil, Day Today]

I just got back from a 24-hour (or so) happy time on the hotel roof complete with champagne and fish sticks, and, seeing that we need to check out of the hotel at 8:30am tomorrow to leave for FLIP, I think I’m going to beg off my planned photojournal post (we viste a favela today) and just recommend a Brazilian book: ...

Eduardo Galeano on Soccer and Brazil

More about this on Friday, but I’m going to be in Rio all next week for the Confederations Cup Final 2013 Brazilian Publishers Experience. As I’m sure you all know, there’s been a bit of unrest in Brazil as of late (one of the protests on Sunday was staged on the beach right in front of the hotel where ...

Interview with Harold Goldblatt

Last semester, one of my favorite class periods was the one in which we talked with Harold Goldblatt about his translation, especially his translation of Mo Yan’s Pow!. One of the great moments was when I asked him how many books he had translated and he honestly wasn’t sure. “Something around 50-55, I ...

Interview with Angel Igov

Getting caught up on a bunch of paperwork and spreadsheets today, but thought I’d first share a couple of interesting interviews that were published in the past couple months. First off, here’s one that Steven Wingate did with Angel Igov, the author of the recently published A Short Tale of ...

The Neighborhood

I went into this book expecting the wrong things; I thought I had picked up a novel with, y’know, plot, but the 280 pages of Gonçalo Tavares’ The Neighborhood are filled with vignettes—“chapters” ranging from tiny to small, with concise titles and little-to-no binding between them—sorted by each of six ...

One of the Coolest Publishers in the World

I first met Urvashi Butalia at the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair back some years ago, and was immediately wowed. There are few people in the world as intelligent, out-spoken, sharp, and charming as Urvashi. And her publishing house, Zubaan Books, is incredible. Since that time, I’ve hung out with Urvashi in ...

Traveler of the Century

When I was about two-thirds of the way through Neuman’s very ambitious, very engrossing novel, Bromance Will Evans asked me what I thought the purpose the rapist had in this book. Not who the rapist was—something that’s held in suspense until almost the end of the book—but why he was even in there. ...

A Second Review of "Traveler of the Century"

I’ve been meaning to read Andrés Neuman’s Traveler of the Century ever since we ran Jeremy Garber’s review back in April 2012. And then it made the Best Translated Book Award longlist, which further peaked my interest. But man, it’s a 500+ page book—something that’s never easy to fit into ...

"Post-Exoticism in Ten Lessons: Lesson Eleven" by Antoine Volodine [A Sample]

As promised, here’s an excerpt from Post-Exoticism in Ten Lessons: Lesson Eleven which we’ll be bringing out next year. It’s a pretty amazing text, which, as you’ll see, is filled with intertextuality, literary games, and horrible smells. Enjoy! Lutz Bassmann passed his final days as we all did, ...

Les aigles puent

If you’ve been following any of the recent Antoine Volodine talk going around Three Percent—both on the blog or on the podcasts—and have heard his fans wax obsessive over all his alter author-egos, you’re probably starting to feel some Volodine fatigue setting in. One more mention of what his books do to your dreams, ...

Latest Review: "Les aigles puent" by Lutz Bassmann

The latest addition to our Reviews Section is by John Thomas Mahany on Les aigles puent by Lutz Bassman, from Éditions Verdier. JT—as we know him—is an MA in Literary Translation Studies student at the University of Rochester, and a recent addition to the superfandom of Volodine’s work. He’s also working on ...

Translation Lab at the Ledig House

Copied below is all the information DW Gibson sent me about applying to participate in the Translation Lab that will be going on at the Ledig House this fall. As you can see below, the Translation Lab is a 10-day residency for four English language translators and the four authors that they’re working on. Which is an ...

Why Bury the Lede? AmazonCrossing Publishes More Books in Translation than Anyone Else (In 2013. Probably.)

For everyone interested in the state of literature in translation today, I just posted updates to the 2012 Translation Database and the 2013 one. First things first: In 2012, AmazonCrossing published more works of fiction and poetry in translation than any other press except for Dalkey Archive, and is the largest publisher ...

Around the World with SPD

For all of you who like to buy your indie press books from an indie press distributor, you should head over to Small Press Distribution to take advantage of their Around the World Sale. All this month, select translation (click above to see the complete list) are available for 40% off. All you have to do is use the promo ...

Japanese Literature in English [New Cool Things, Part III]

Another favorite translator—Allison Powell—has just launched Japanese Literature in English, a website that plays to all of my databasing and list making impulses. japanese literature in english is a searchable database that compiles all literary works translated from japanese to english and available in the ...

Basti

The Urdu word basti refers to any space, intimate to worldly, and is often translated as “common place” or “a gathering place.” This book by Intizar Husain, who is widely regarded as one of the most important living Pakistani writers, traverses a number of cities, the connections between them, and the people who live ...

Mundo Cruel by Luis Negrón

Luis Negrón’s debut collection Mundo Cruel is a journey through Puerto Rico’s gay world. Published in 2010, the book is already in its fifth Spanish edition. Here in the U.S., the collection has been published by Seven Stories Press and translated from the Spanish by Suzanne Jill Levine, winner of the 2012 PEN Center USA ...

Why This Book Should Win: "Transfer Fat" by Aase Berg [BTBA 2013]

Over the course of this week, we will be highlighting all 6 BTBA Poetry Finalists one by one, building up to next Friday’s announcement of the winners. All of these are written by the BTBA poetry judges under the rubric of “Why This Book Should Win.” You can find the whole series by clicking here. Stay tuned ...

Why This Book Should Win: "The Invention of Glass" by Emmanuel Hocquard [BTBA 2013]

Over the course of this week, we will be highlighting all 6 BTBA Poetry Finalists one by one, building up to next Friday’s announcement of the winners. All of these are written by the BTBA poetry judges under the rubric of “Why This Book Should Win.” You can find the whole series by clicking here. Stay tuned ...

Why This Book Should Win: "Almost 1 Book / Almost 1 Life" by Elfriede Czurda [BTBA 2013]

Over the course of this week, we will be highlighting all 6 BTBA Poetry Finalists one by one, building up to next Friday’s announcement of the winners. All of these are written by the BTBA poetry judges under the rubric of “Why This Book Should Win.” You can find the whole series by clicking here. Stay tuned ...

Why This Book Should Win: "Notes on the Mosquito" by Xi Chuan [BTBA 2013]

Over the course of this week, we will be highlighting all 6 BTBA Poetry Finalists one by one, building up to next Friday’s announcement of the winners. All of these are written by the BTBA poetry judges under the rubric of “Why This Book Should Win.” You can find the whole series by clicking here. Stay tuned ...

Why This Book Should Win: "pH Neutral History" by Lidija Dimkovska [BTBA 2013]

Over the course of this week, we will be highlighting all 6 BTBA Poetry Finalists one by one, building up to next Friday’s announcement of the winners. All of these are written by the BTBA poetry judges under the rubric of “Why This Book Should Win.” You can find the whole series by clicking here. Stay tuned ...

Why This Book Should Win: "Wheel with a Single Spoke" by Nichita Stanescu [BTBA 2013]

Over the course of this week, we will be highlighting all 6 BTBA Poetry Finalists one by one, building up to next Friday’s announcement of the winners. All of these are written by the BTBA poetry judges under the rubric of “Why This Book Should Win.” You can find the whole series by clicking here. Stay tuned ...

Latest Review: "Selected Translations" by W. S. Merwin

The latest addition to our Reviews Section is by Grant Barber on Selected Translations by W. S. Merwin, from Copper Canyon Press. Selected Translations is a collection of Merwin’s greatest translations, representing authors from all over the world and languages from almost every corner. Grant Barber is a regular ...

2013 Best Translated Book Award: The Fiction Finalists

I’m really excited about this year’s list of finalists—it’s a pretty loaded list that includes works from eight different countries, ranging from Russia to Argentina to Djibouti. All ten books have a valid chance of winning the award depending on what criteria you want to emphasize. (Click here to see ...

Why This Book Should Win: "Transit" by Abdourahman A. Waberi [BTBA 2013]

As in years past, we will be highlighting all 25 titles on the BTBA Fiction Longlist, one by one, building up to the announcement of the 10 finalists on April 10th. A variety of judges, booksellers, and readers will write these, all under the rubric of “Why This Book Should Win. You can find the whole series by clicking ...

Why This Book Should Win: "Dublinesque" by Enrique Vila-Matas [BTBA 2013]

As in years past, we will be highlighting all 25 titles on the BTBA Fiction Longlist, one by one, building up to the announcement of the 10 finalists on April 10th. A variety of judges, booksellers, and readers will write these, all under the rubric of “Why This Book Should Win. You can find the whole series by clicking ...

Time for More Speculation

OK, so, tomorrow at 10am sharp (or as sharp as I can make it), we’ll be announcing the 10 fiction finalists for this year’s BTBA, while over at the Poetry Foundation’s blog the 6 poetry finalists will be revealed. As of this moment, I know which books made the poetry list, but have NO IDEA what’s on ...

Why This Book Should Win: "Happy Moscow" by Andrey Platonov [BTBA 2013]

As in years past, we will be highlighting all 25 titles on the BTBA Fiction Longlist, one by one, building up to the announcement of the 10 finalists on April 10th. A variety of judges, booksellers, and readers will write these, all under the rubric of “Why This Book Should Win. You can find the whole series by clicking ...

Why This Book Should Win: "The Hunger Angel" by Herta Müller [BTBA 2013]

As in years past, we will be highlighting all 25 titles on the BTBA Fiction Longlist, one by one, building up to the announcement of the 10 finalists on April 10th. A variety of judges, booksellers, and readers will write these, all under the rubric of “Why This Book Should Win. You can find the whole series by clicking ...

Why This Book Should Win: "Awakening to the Great Sleep War" by Gert Jonke [BTBA 2013]

As in years past, we will be highlighting all 25 titles on the BTBA Fiction Longlist, one by one, building up to the announcement of the 10 finalists on April 10th. A variety of judges, booksellers, and readers will write these, all under the rubric of “Why This Book Should Win. You can find the whole series by clicking ...

Why This Book Should Win: "Atlas" by Dung Kai-Cheung [BTBA 2013]

As in years past, we will be highlighting all 25 titles on the BTBA Fiction Longlist, one by one, building up to the announcement of the 10 finalists on April 10th. A variety of judges, booksellers, and readers will write these, all under the rubric of “Why This Book Should Win. You can find the whole series by clicking ...

Why This Book Should Win: "With the Animals" by Noëlle Revaz [BTBA 2013]

As in years past, we will be highlighting all 25 titles on the BTBA Fiction Longlist, one by one, building up to the announcement of the 10 finalists on April 10th. A variety of judges, booksellers, and readers will write these, all under the rubric of “Why This Book Should Win. You can find the whole series by clicking ...

Why This Book Should Win: "Satantango" by László Krasznahorkai [BTBA 2013]

As in years past, we will be highlighting all 25 titles on the BTBA Fiction Longlist, one by one, building up to the announcement of the 10 finalists on April 10th. A variety of judges, booksellers, and readers will write these, all under the rubric of “Why This Book Should Win. You can find the whole series by clicking ...

Why This Book Should Win: "Kite" by Dominique Eddé [BTBA 2013]

As in years past, we will be highlighting all 25 titles on the BTBA Fiction Longlist, one by one, building up to the announcement of the 10 finalists on April 10th. A variety of judges, booksellers, and readers will write these, all under the rubric of “Why This Book Should Win. You can find the whole series by clicking ...

Latest Review: "Where Tigers Are at Home" by Jean-Marie Blas de Roblès

The latest addition to our Reviews Section is a piece by Grant Barber on the mammoth Where Tigers Are at Home by Jean-Marie Blas de Roblès, which is translated from the French by Mike Mitchell and published by Other Press. Grant Barber is a regular reviewer for Three Percent, a keen bibliophile, and an Episcopal priest ...

Why This Book Should Win: "A Breath of Life" by Clarice Lispector [BTBA 2013]

As in years past, we will be highlighting all 25 titles on the BTBA Fiction Longlist, one by one, building up to the announcement of the 10 finalists on April 10th. A variety of judges, booksellers, and readers will write these, all under the rubric of “Why This Book Should Win. You can find the whole series by clicking ...

Why This Book Should Win: "The Island of Second Sight" by Albert Vigoleis Thelen [BTBA 2013]

As in years past, we will be highlighting all 25 titles on the BTBA Fiction Longlist, one by one, building up to the announcement of the 10 finalists on April 10th. A variety of judges, booksellers, and readers will write these, all under the rubric of “Why This Book Should Win. You can find the whole series by clicking ...

Why This Book Should Win: "Basti" by Itizar Husain [BTBA 2013]

As in years past, we will be highlighting all 25 titles on the BTBA Fiction Longlist, one by one, building up to the announcement of the 10 finalists on April 10th. A variety of judges, booksellers, and readers will write these, all under the rubric of “Why This Book Should Win. You can find the whole series by clicking ...

Lenin's Kisses

A rich, beautifully written, consistently surprising satire, Yan Lianke’s Lenin’s Kisses boasts an elaborate, engrossing plot with disarming twists and compelling characters both challenged and challenging. It leads the reader on a strange pilgrimage—often melancholy but certainly rewarding—through a China by ...

Why This Book Should Win: "We, the Children of Cats" by Tomoyuki Hoshino [BTBA 2013]

As in years past, we will be highlighting all 25 titles on the BTBA Fiction Longlist, one by one, building up to the announcement of the 10 finalists on April 10th. A variety of judges, booksellers, and readers will write these, all under the rubric of “Why This Book Should Win. You can find the whole series by clicking ...

Why This Book Should Win: "Traveler of the Century" by Andrés Neuman [BTBA 2013]

As in years past, we will be highlighting all 25 titles on the BTBA Fiction Longlist, one by one, building up to the announcement of the 10 finalists on April 10th. A variety of judges, booksellers, and readers will write these, all under the rubric of “Why This Book Should Win. You can find the whole series by clicking ...

Why This Book Should Win: "My Father's Book" by Urs Widmer [BTBA 2013]

As in years past, we will be highlighting all 25 titles on the BTBA Fiction Longlist, one by one, building up to the announcement of the 10 finalists on April 10th. A variety of judges, booksellers, and readers will write these, all under the rubric of “Why This Book Should Win. You can find the whole series by clicking ...

Why This Book Should Win: "Maidenhair" by Mikhail Shishkin [BTBA 2013]

As in years past, we will be highlighting all 25 titles on the BTBA Fiction Longlist, one by one, building up to the announcement of the 10 finalists on April 10th. A variety of judges, booksellers, and readers will write these, all under the rubric of “Why This Book Should Win. You can find the whole series by clicking ...

Why This Book Should Win: "Joseph Walser's Machine" by Gonçalo Tavares [BTBA 2013]

As in years past, we will be highlighting all 25 titles on the BTBA Fiction Longlist, one by one, building up to the announcement of the 10 finalists on April 10th. A variety of judges, booksellers, and readers will write these, all under the rubric of “Why This Book Should Win. You can find the whole series by clicking ...

Why This Book Should Win: "Mama Leone" by Miljenko Jergović [BTBA 2013]

As in years past, we will be highlighting all 25 titles on the BTBA Fiction Longlist, one by one, building up to the announcement of the 10 finalists on April 10th. A variety of judges, booksellers, and readers will write these, all under the rubric of “Why This Book Should Win. You can find the whole series by clicking ...

Why This Book Should Win: "The Map and the Territory" by Michel Houellebecq [BTBA 2013]

As in years past, we will be highlighting all 25 titles on the BTBA Fiction Longlist, one by one, building up to the announcement of the 10 finalists on April 10th. A variety of judges, booksellers, and readers will write these, all under the rubric of “Why This Book Should Win. You can find the whole series by clicking ...

The Miracle Cures of Dr. Aira

Maybe I’ve been watching too much Doctor Who lately, and I’m therefore liable to see everything through science-fiction-colored glasses. But when the pages of The Miracle Cures of Dr. Aira refer to “the totality of the present and of eternity” and the narrator drops phrases like “all possible ...

Latest Review: "The Miracle Cures of Dr. Aira" by César Aira

The latest addition to our Reviews Section is a piece by Emily Davis on The Miracle Cures of Dr. Aira, the most recent Aira book to come out from New Directions, and which is translated from the Spanish by Katherine Silver. Emily is a graduate of the University of Rochester’s Master of Arts in Literary Translation, ...

Why This Book Should Win: "The Colonel" by Mahmoud Dowlatabadi [BTBA 2013]

As in years past, we will be highlighting all 25 titles on the BTBA Fiction Longlist, one by one, building up to the announcement of the 10 finalists on April 10th. A variety of judges, booksellers, and readers will write these, all under the rubric of “Why This Book Should Win. You can find the whole series by clicking ...

Why This Book Should Win: "The Planets" by Sergio Chejfec [BTBA 2013]

As in years past, we will be highlighting all 25 titles on the BTBA Fiction Longlist, one by one, building up to the announcement of the 10 finalists on April 10th. A variety of judges, booksellers, and readers will write these, all under the rubric of “Why This Book Should Win. You can find the whole series by clicking ...

Why This Book Should Win: "My Struggle: Book One" by Karl Ove Knausgaard [BTBA 2013]

As in years past, we will be highlighting all 25 titles on the BTBA Fiction Longlist, one by one, building up to the announcement of the 10 finalists on April 10th. A variety of judges, booksellers, and readers will write these, all under the rubric of “Why This Book Should Win. You can find the whole series by clicking ...

The Diesel

“Neighbor, what can I say? All the fake moans of this world rail against the toil of ephemeral things. My moans, however, rail against the insanity of their toil in a time that we ignore and that ignores us, a time that is paralyzed, hand and foot, and that consumes only the fruit of pride. While we live out our ...

Latest Review: "The Diesel" by Thani Al-Suwaidi

The latest addition to our Reviews Section is a piece by Lili Sarayrah on Thani Al-Suwaidi’s The Diesel, which is translated from the Arabic by William Maynard Hutchins and available from ANTIBOOKCLUB. Lili was in my publishing class last semester, studies at the Eastman School, and is working towards her certificate ...

Why This Book Should Win: "Prehistoric Times" by Eric Chevillard [BTBA 2013]

As in years past, we will be highlighting all 25 titles on the BTBA Fiction Longlist, one by one, building up to the announcement of the 10 finalists on April 10th. A variety of judges, booksellers, and readers will write these, all under the rubric of “Why This Book Should Win. You can find the whole series by clicking ...

We Need You! [BTBA 2013]

So, as you’ve probably noticed, with the announcement of the 2013 BTBA Fiction Longlist we’ve started running our annual Why This Book Should Win series featuring each of the 25 longlisted books and providing reasons why they should win. Well, we do have a number titles that still need someone to champion them. ...

Why This Book Should Win: "Autoportrait" by Edouard Levé [BTBA 2013]

As in years past, we will be highlighting all 25 titles on the BTBA Fiction Longlist, one by one, building up to the announcement of the 10 finalists on April 10th. A variety of judges, booksellers, and readers will write these, all under the rubric of “Why This Book Should Win. You can find the whole series by clicking ...

"Where State Television Has Become a Prostitute" [Mikhail Shishkin & the Russian Government]

So, our author Mikhail Shishkin (whose Maidenhair is the most important book I’ve ever published) cause a bit of a stir over the weekend, when he decided against participating in the Read Russia delegation to BookExpo America this summer. Here’s the complete text of his letter declining the invitation, as ...

Why This Book Should Win: "The Lair" by Norman Manea [BTBA 2013]

As in years past, we will be highlighting all 25 titles on the BTBA Fiction Longlist, one by one, building up to the announcement of the 10 finalists on April 10th. A variety of judges, booksellers, and readers will write these, all under the rubric of “Why This Book Should Win. You can find the whole series by clicking ...

Latest Review: "It's No Good" by Kirill Medvedev

The latest addition to our Reviews Section is a piece by Will Evans (aka Bromance Will) on Kirill Medvedev’s It’s No Good, which is translated from the Russian by Keith Gessen, Mark Krotov, Corry Merrill, and Bela Shayevich and published by n+1/Ugly Duckling Presse. By now, most of you know who Bromance Will is, ...

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Three Percent #53: Are the NBCCs the Greatest American Book Awards?

On this week’s podcast, we welcome National Book Critics Circle board member Carolyn Kellogg to talk about the NBCC awards, the changes to the National Book Award (which set me off on a bit of a paranoid rant), Bookish and its suckishness, and a variety of other literary topics. I also want to add a bit of an update. ...

Blindly

A few pages into Claudio Magris’s Blindly, the reader begins to ask the same question posed by the book’s jacket: “Who is the mysterious narrator of Blindly?” Who indeed. At times the narrator is Tore, an inmate in a mental health facility. Other times, the narration is handled by Jorgen Jorgenson, king of Iceland, ...

Latest Review: "Blindly" by Claudio Magris

The latest addition to our Reviews Section is a piece by Vincent Francone on Claudio Magris’s Blindly, which is translated from the Italian by Anne Milano Appel and published by Yale University Press as part of their Margellos World Republic of Letters Series. Yale’s World Republic of Letters Series deserves a ...

Latest Review: "Revenge" by Yoko Ogawa

This is the week of Will Eells reviews. In addition to writing about Persona on Tuesday, today he has a piece on Yoko Ogawa’s Revenge, translated from the Japanese by Stephen Snyder and published by Picador. Here’s a bit from his review: One of the most pleasant surprises of the literary world in the past ...

Bookish: What it Isn't [Weekly Rant #1]

OK, so first off, for anyone who saw my little Facebook hissy fit last night about Bookish, I apologize. I may have overstated things a bit (yeah, I know that totally doesn’t sound like me), and jumped the gun a bit on some of my insults. That said, and before I get more fully into the Bookish conundrum, a few of the ...

Latest Review: "Persona" by Naoki Inose with Hiroaki Sato

The latest addition to our Reviews Section is a piece by Will Eells on Persona, a biography of Yukio Mishima available from Stone Bridge Press. Mishima is a huge figure in Japanese literature, and this is a huge biography, so let’s just let Will get into it: ukio Mishima is about as famous as he is infamous. The ...

Persona: A Biography of Yukio Mishima

Yukio Mishima is about as famous as he is infamous. The enormous body of work left behind almost outshines his shocking public suicide after taking hostages with the help of his personal nationalist militia at a Self-Defense Forces base. In Persona, the first biography of Mishima to appear in English in over thirty years and ...

Sin

Zakhar Prilepin is one hell of a writer, and an interesting figure to boot. Sin is an exciting debut in English for one of one of Russia’s most popular and critically-acclaimed writers. Though this is his first novel published in English, Prilepin has written a lot: four novels, three books of short stories, plus a ...

On Submissions [We're Not Phone People]

I’d like to talk a bit about submissions. Because I’ve had a very stressful and involved week of cataloging, catching up with, and responding to every single submission Open Letter has received since essentially July of last year, I’m a little on the edge right now when it comes to submitters repeatedly asking about ...

New Issue of Asymptote

Asymptote, one of the prettiest (and smartest) online magazines, has a new issue out to kick off the new year, and it’s pretty packed with interesting material: For one, we got to talk to our favorite Francophile, Edmund White, about why Proust is “a more profound psychologist than Freud”. We also have ...

The Story of My Purity

I have long lamented the lack of literature translated from Italy, the country of my grandparents. The span between Dante and Umberto Eco is wide, populated with fine writers, though it seems few of them get translated, much less read. Thus, it was with great interest that I approached Francesco Pacifico’s novel, The Story ...