Earlier this month Gazeta Wyborcza announced the longlist for the 2008 Nike Prize, which is awarded to the best Polish book from last year.
The website is less than helpful—every time I click on the “more” button about the prize, I’m brought back to the same opening page and the fragmented statement—and totally in Polish, but what I can decipher is pretty interesting. There are twenty finalists and the winner will be announced in October. Starting earlier this month, the site started highlighting a finalist a day, which is a pretty nice feature.
Here’s the longlist in all its untranslated glory:
Great to see Jerzy Pilch on this list (we’re publishing The Mighty Angel next April), and we just got a copy of Pawel Huelle’s Castorp (a finalist for this year’s Independent Foreign Fiction Prize) in for review.
I’l post more useful, reliable info about the individual titles as soon as I can find it. (Google Translator sucks as much as Babelfish with the Polish. See: “Contemporary American prose, it is impossible to describe, but fragmentary. Zwielokrotniła so much that the world is not literally.” Yes, yes Zwielokrotnila is that much.)
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. . .
Following The Infatuations, Javier Marías’s latest novel seems, like those that have preceded it, an experiment to test fiction’s capacity to mesmerize with sombre-sexy atmospheres and ruminative elongated sentences stretched across windowless walls of paragraphs. Thus Bad Begins offers his. . .
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. . .
Jocelyne Saucier’s Twenty-One Cardinals is about the type of unique, indestructible, and often tragic loyalty only found in families. For a brief but stunningly mesmerizing 169 pages, Twenty-One Cardinals invited me in to the haunting and intimate world of the. . .
We know so very little; so little that what we think to be knowledge is hardly worth reckoning with at all; instead we ought to settle for being pleasantly surprised if, on the edge of things, against all expectations, our. . .
Many of Virginie Despentes’s books revolve around the same central idea: “To be born a woman [is] the worst fate in practically every society.” But this message is nearly always packaged in easy-to-read books that fill you with the pleasure. . .
Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer’s La Superba is appropriately titled after the Italian city of Genoa, where, after escaping the pressures of fame in his own country, the semi-autobiographical narrator finds himself cataloguing the experiences of its mesmerizing inhabitants with the intention. . .
It took reading 44 pages of Intervenir/Intervene before I began to get a sense of what Dolores Dorantes and Rodrigo Flores Sánchez were up to. Recurring throughout these 44 pages—throughout the entire book—are shovels, shovel smacks to the face, lobelias—aha!. . .
As presaged by its title, contradiction is the theme of Peter Stamm’s novel, All Days Are Night. Gillian, a well-known television personality, remains unknowable to herself. And Hubert, a frustrated artist and Gillian’s lover, creates art through the process of. . .
It’s a rare and wonderful book that begins and ends with violence and humor. At the start of Etgar Keret’s The Seven Good Years, Keret is in a hospital waiting for the birth of his first child while nurses, in. . .