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 Women’s World Cup is kicking off in Canada next week, it’s time to do this all over again. Except that this time, only living female authors are allowed to participate. (And, as much as possible, the books included were published within the last ten years.)
Before announcing the participating titles, I have to announce that we’re still looking for judges. And, unlike last year, we want at least two-thirds of the eighteen judges to be females. So, if you’re interested—as a judge you read two books, write up the result of that “match” complete with soccer-esque score, then chime in on the final—just email me at chad.post[at]rochester.edu. You’ll have to do this fast though. The competition launches next week . . .
Tomorrow (or later today) we’ll post the new graphics and bracket so that you can see the first round competitions and debate which book has the easiest path to the final four, but for now, here’s a listing of all the titles that we’re including. (These are alphabetical in order of the country each is representing.)
Australia: Burial Rites by Hannah Kent
Brazil: Crow Blue by Adriana Lisboa, translated from the Portuguese by Alison Entrekin
Cameroon: Dark Heart of the Night by Léonora Miano, translated from the French by Tamsin Black
Canada: Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
China: The Last Lover by Can Xue, translated from the Chinese by Annelise Finegan Wasmoen
Colombia: Delirium by Laura Restrepo, translated from the Spanish by Natasha Wimmer
Costa Rica: Assault on Paradise by Tatiana Lobo, translated from the Spanish by Asa Zatz
Cote d’Ivoire: Queen Pokou by Veronique Tadjo, translated from the French by Amy Baram Reid
Ecuador: Beyond the Islands by Alicia Yánez Cossío, translated from the Spanish by Amalia Gladhart
England: Life after Life by Kate Atkinson
France: Apocalypse Baby by Virginie Despentes, translated from the French by Sîan Reynolds
Germany: The Hottest Dishes of the Tartar Cuisine by Alina Bronsky, translated from the German by Tim Mohr
Japan: Revenge by Yoko Ogawa, translated from the Japanese by Stephen Snyder
Mexico: Texas: The Great Theft by Carmen Boullosa, translated from the Spanish by Samantha Schnee
Netherlands: The Ministry of Pain by Dubravka Ugresic, translated from the Croatian by Michael Henry Heim
New Zealand: The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton
Nigeria: Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Norway: The Cold Song by Linn Ullmann, translated from the Norwegian by Barbara Haveland
South Korea: Nowhere to Be Found by Bae Suah, translated from the Korean by Sora Kim-Russell
Spain: The Happy City by Elvira Navarro, translated from the Spanish by Rosalind Harvey
Sweden: The Stranger by Camilla Läckberg, translated from the Swedish by Steven Murray
Switzerland: With the Animals by Noëlle Revas, translated from the French by W. Donald Wilson
Thailand: The Happiness of Kati by Ngarmpun (Jane) Vejjajiva, translated from the Thai by Prudence Borthwick
USA: Home by Toni Morrison
Pascal Quignard’s __The Hatred of Music_ is the densest, most arcane, most complex book I’ve read in ages. It’s also a book that covers a topic so basic, so universal—almost primordial—that just about any reader will be perversely thrilled by. . .
In Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary, Flaubert attempted to highlight the ordinary, tired, and often crass nature of common expressions by italicising them within the text. When Charles, Emma Bovary’s mediocre husband, expresses himself in a manner akin to that of. . .
Eliot Weinberger takes big strides across literary history in his genuinely breathtaking short work, 19 Ways of Looking at Wang Wei, tracking translations of a short ancient Chinese poem from the publication of Ezra Pound’s Cathay in 1915 to Gary. . .
Prose translators will likely disagree, but I believe translating poetry requires a significant level of talent, a commitment to the text, and near mania, all of which suggests that the undertaking is the greatest possible challenge. The task is to. . .
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. . .