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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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 (email@example.com) if you’re interested.
I think that’s it for now . . . So for the non-soccer obsessed, here are the countries that are participating:
César Aira dishes up an imaginative parable on how identity shapes our sense of belonging with Dinner, his latest release in English. Aira’s narrator (who, appropriately, remains nameless) is a self-pitying, bitter man—in his late fifties, living again with. . .
Originally published in French in 2007, We’re Not Here to Disappear (On n’est pas là pour disparaître) won the Prix Wepler-Fondation La Poste and the Prix Pierre Simon Ethique et Réflexion. The work has been recently translated by Béatrice Mousli. . .
Even though the latest from Jean Echenoz is only a thin volume containing seven of what he calls “little literary objects,” it is packed with surprises. In these pieces, things happen below the surface, sometimes both literally and figuratively. As. . .
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. . .
For the past 140 years, Anna Karenina has been loved by millions of readers all over the world. It’s easy to see why: the novel’s two main plots revolve around characters who are just trying to find happiness through love.. . .
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. . .
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. . .