A number of months ago, I alluded to the idea of having Three Percent host a “World Cup of Literature” pitting all of the World Cup qualifying countries (see below) against one another in a battle for world literature supremacy. (At least until the next World Cup.)
Anyway, the time for that is now!, and so here are all the details:
Here’s where you all come in: We need recommendations of books for all the World Cup countries. The full list of countries is below. And I set up a special email account (email@example.com) for you to send in your ideas. There’s also a Facebook page and Twitter feed that we’ll get going over the next few days. Submit recommendations there are well!
In terms of what we’re looking for, I think the books we end up including in this competition should be fun, interesting, enjoyable, “readable,” etc. So, in contrast to the BTBA finalists, this could include more genre works and the like. Not that we want to include crap, but I don’t think this should feature 32 obscure, high modernist writers from around the world.
And to keep in the World Cup spirit of young, healthy people running around athletically, we’d like to include books published from 2000 onwards. Keep it young! (And avoid match-ups like The Tin Drum vs. The Great Gatsby.)
Please send along any and all recommendations you have by June 10th. Obviously, there are certain countries that are trickier to find good representatives from than others. (Like Costa Rica. Like Côte d’Ivoire. And good luck coming up with an American book.) I’ll post all the recommendations we get after the 10th, and we’ll announce the official representatives later that week along with a match schedule.
Also, I’m serious about looking for a few more judges. Rather than calling on all the usual suspects, I think it would be more fun to include a bunch of Three Percent/International Literature fans in the judging process. As a judge you will be assigned two matches that you’re responsible for, and can vote on the championship. The pieces you write can be as serious or as flippant as you want—it’s up to you. Just email the same address (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you’re interested.
I think that’s it for now . . . So for the non-soccer obsessed, here are the countries that are participating:
Karel Schoeman’s Afrikaans novel, This Life, translated by Else Silke, falls into a genre maybe only noticed by the type of reader who tends toward Wittgenstein-type family resemblances. The essential resemblance is an elderly narrator, usually alone—or with one other. . .
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. . .
There are books that can only wisely be recommended to specific types of readers, where it is easy to know who the respective book won’t appeal to, and Kristiina Ehin’s Walker on Water is one these. What makes this neither. . .
Imagine the most baroque excesses of Goethe, Shakespeare, and Poe, blended together and poured into a single book: That is The Nightwatches of Bonaventura. Ophelia and Hamlet fall in love in a madhouse, suicidal young men deliver mournful and heartfelt. . .
In 1899, Maurice Ravel wrote “Pavane pour une infante défunte” (“Pavane for a Dead Princess”) for solo piano (a decade later, he published an orchestral version). The piece wasn’t written for a particular person; Ravel simply wanted to compose a. . .
Fiston Mwanza Mujila is an award-winning author, born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, who now, at 33, lives in Austria. From what I could find, much of his work is influenced by the Congo’s battle for independence and its. . .
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. . .
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. . .
There’s little to say about a series of prose poems that willfully refuse to identify pronoun antecedents. Or perhaps there are a million things. The poems in Morse, My Deaf Friend— the chapbook by Miloš Djurdjević published by Ugly Duckling. . .
The Crimson Thread of Abandon is the first collection of short fiction available in English by the prolific Japanese writer and all-around avant-garde trickster Terayama Shūji, who died in 1983 at the age of 47. This collection would be important. . .