5 January 10 | Chad W. Post

After months and months (twelve to be exact) and books upon books, our nine fiction panelists finally came up with the 25-title fiction longlist for this year’s Best Translated Book Award.

It was a rather difficult decision—it always is, and for me, there’s always a moment where it seems like 30 books would be a better number than 25 . . . —but I’m personally really happy with the list that we came up with. There are some classic authors (Robert Walser, Robert Bolano), some relative unknowns (Wolf Haas, Ferenc Barnas, Cao Naiqian), and a nice geographical mix (including books from Egypt and Djibouti).

Over the next few days, we’ll be highlighting some anthologies, retranslations/reprints, and honorable mentions that didn’t make the longlist. Then, starting next Monday and running for 25-consecutive business days, I’ll highlight a title a day building up to Tuesday, February 16th when we’ll announce both the fiction and poetry finalists for the 2010 Best Translated Book Awards.

One interesting thing about this year’s fiction longlist—it’s incredibly diverse. We have authors from 24 different countries, writing in 17 different languages, and published by 15 different publishers . . .

Without further ado, here are the 25 fiction finalists. Click on the title to purchase the book from Idlewild Books—our featured indie store of the month—or click on the publisher’s name to go to the dedicated page on the publisher’s website.


2010 Best Translated Book Award: Fiction Longlist

Ghosts by César Aira.
Translated from the Spanish by Chris Andrews. (Argentina)
(New Directions)

The Ninth by Ferenc Barnás.
Translated from the Hungarian by Paul Olchváry. (Hungary)
(Northwestern University Press)

Anonymous Celebrity by Ignácio de Loyola Brandão.
Translated from the Portuguese by Nelson Vieira. (Brazil)
(Dalkey Archive)

The Twin by Gerbrand Bakker.
Translated from the Dutch by David Colmer. (Netherlands)
(Archipelago)

The Skating Rink by Roberto Bolaño.
Translated from the Spanish by Chris Andrews. (Chile)
(New Directions)

There’s Nothing I Can Do When I Think of You Late at Night by Cao Naiqian.
Translated from the Chinese by John Balcom. (China)
(Columbia University Press)

Wonder by Hugo Claus.
Translated from the Dutch by Michael Henry Heim. (Belgium)
(Archipelago)

Every Man Dies Alone by Hans Fallada.
Translated from the German by Michael Hofmann. (Germany)
(Melville House)

Op Oloop by Juan Filloy.
Translated from the Spanish by Lisa Dillman. (Argentina)
(Dalkey Archive)

Vilnius Poker by Ričardas Gavelis.
Translated from the Lithuanian by Elizabeth Novickas. (Lithuania)
(Open Letter)

The Zafarani Files by Gamal al-Ghitani.
Translated from the Arabic by Farouk Abdel Wahab. (Egypt)
(American University Press of Cairo)

The Weather Fifteen Years Ago by Wolf Haas.
Translated from the German by Stephanie Gilardi and Thomas S. Hansen. (Austria)
(Ariadne Press)

The Confessions of Noa Weber by Gail Hareven.
Translated from the Hebrew by Dalya Bilu. (Israel)
(Melville House)

The Discoverer by Jan Kjærstad.
Translated from the Norwegian by Barbara Haveland. (Norway)
(Open Letter)

Memories of the Future by Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky.
Translated from the Russian by Joanne Turnbull. (Russia)
(New York Review Books)

Desert by J. M. G. Le Clézio.
Translated from the French by C. Dickson. (France)
(David R. Godine)

The Museum of Innocence by Orhan Pamuk.
Translated from the Turkish by Maureen Freely. (Turkey)
(Knopf)

News from the Empire by Fernando del Paso.
Translated from the Spanish by Alfonso González and Stella T. Clark. (Mexico)
(Dalkey Archive)

The Mighty Angel by Jerzy Pilch.
Translated from the Polish by Bill Johnston. (Poland)
(Open Letter)

Rex by José Manuel Prieto.
Translated from the Spanish by Esther Allen. (Cuba)
(Grove)

Death in Spring by Mercè Rodoreda.
Translated from the Catalan by Martha Tennent. (Spain)
(Open Letter)

Landscape with Dog and Other Stories by Ersi Sotiropoulos.
Translated from the Greek by Karen Emmerich. (Greece)
(Clockroot)

Brecht at Night by Mati Unt.
Translated from the Estonian by Eric Dickens. (Estonia)
(Dalkey Archive)

In the United States of Africa by Abdourahman Waberi.
Translated from the French by David and Nicole Ball. (Djibouti)
(University of Nebraska Press)

The Tanners by Robert Walser.
Translated from the German by Susan Bernofsky. (Switzerland)
(New Directions)


Comments are disabled for this article.
....
The Indian
The Indian by Jón Gnarr
Reviewed by P. T. Smith

The opening of Jón Gnarr’s novel/memoir The Indian is a playful bit of extravagant ego, telling the traditional story of creation, where the “Let there be light!” moment is also the moment of his birth on January 2nd, 1967. Then. . .

Read More >

Mother of 1084; Old Women; Breast Stories
Mother of 1084; Old Women; Breast Stories by Mahasweta Devi
Reviewed by Christopher Iacono

Mahasweta Devi is not only one of the most prolific Bengali authors, but she’s also an important activist. In fact, for Devi, the two seem to go together. As you can probably tell from the titles, she writes about women. . .

Read More >

Tristana
Tristana by Benito Pérez Galdós
Reviewed by Lori Feathers

The prolific Spanish author Benito Pérez Galdós wrote his short novel, Tristana, during the closing years of the nineteenth century, a time when very few options were available to women of limited financial means who did not want a husband.. . .

Read More >

The History of Silence
The History of Silence by Pedro Zarraluki
Reviewed by P. T. Smith

Pedro Zarraluki’s The History of Silence (trans. Nick Caistor and Lorenza García) begins with the narrator and his wife, Irene, setting out to write a book about silence, itself called The History of Silence: “This is the story of how. . .

Read More >

Flesh-Coloured Dominoes
Flesh-Coloured Dominoes by Zigmunds Skujiņš
Reviewed by P. T. Smith

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. . .

Read More >

Iraqi Nights
Iraqi Nights by Dunya Mikhail
Reviewed by Vincent Francone

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. . .

Read More >

Three-Light Years
Three-Light Years by Andrea Canobbio
Reviewed by Tiffany Nichols

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. . .

Read More >

The Little Horse
The Little Horse by Thorvald Steen
Reviewed by P. T. Smith

The last five days of the eleventh-century Icelandic politician, writer of sagas, and famous murder victim Snorri Sturleleson (the Norwegian spelling, Snorre, is preserved in the book) make up Thorvald Steen’s most recently translated historical fiction, The Little Horse. Murdered. . .

Read More >

Guys Like Me
Guys Like Me by Dominique Fabre
Reviewed by Peter Biello

We all know Paris, or at least we think we know it. The Eiffel Tower. The Latin Quarter. The Champs-Élysées. The touristy stuff. In Dominique Fabre’s novel, Guys Like Me, we’re shown a different side of Paris: a gray, decaying. . .

Read More >

Birth of a Bridge
Birth of a Bridge by Maylis de Kerangal
Reviewed by Christopher Iacono

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. . .

Read More >