So the 2011 longlist for the IMPAC Award was announced this morning, and includes 162 books from 43 countries. According to the press release 42 are titles in translation, covering 14 different languages.
This is where I usually complain about the IMPAC’s website, the absurdity of a 162 book longlist, of the name of the award, the baroque set of eligibility requirements, of the fact that the shortlist will be announced in April and the winner in June (a mere seven months from now) with
little PR build-up to that date, and oh, did I mention their website was created circa the time of Reagan? But to be honest, I’m totally out of jokes. It is what it is, and having been subject to questionable attacks re: a book award in the not-so-distant past, I’ve decided to forgo snark in favor of the books themselves. So here’s a list of the 42 translated titles (and it is a damn good list!) All comments obviously mine, all links to reviews we ran of these books:
Milena Agus, The House in Via Manno translated by Brigid Maher
Niccolo Ammaniti, As God Commands translated by Jonathan Hunt
Vladislav Bajac, Hamam Balkania translated by Randall A. Major
This book is from the Serbian Prose in Translation (aka SPIT) series that Geopoetika launched, and which totally ROCKS.
Ferenc Barnas, The Ninth translated by Paul Olchváry
Made the BTBA Longlist last year.
Gioconda Belli, Infinity in the Palm of her Hand translated by Margaret Sayers Peden
Petch is one of our newest fans, and one of the best translators ever.
Maissa Bey, Above All, Don’t Look Back translated by Senja L. Djelouah
Mikkel Birkegaard, The Library of Shadows translated by Tiina Nunnally
A translation by Tiina Nunnally was the 1,000th title to be entered into the Translation Database. Thankfully—for my sanity, for the perceived health of book culture—we reached 1,000 translated titles before I reached 1,000 Facebook friends.
Marie-Claire Blais, Rebecca, Born in the Maelstrom translated by Nigel Spencer
I feel like I need to read more Marie-Claire Blais.
Massimo Carlotto & Marco Videtta, Poisonville translated by Antony Shugaar
Hélène Cixous, Hyperdream translated by Beverley Bie Brahic
Philippe Claudel, Brodeck’s Report translated by John Cullen
Maurice G. Dantec, Grand Junction translated by Tina A. Kover
Jean Echenoz, Running, translated by Linda Coverdale
Man did it take a while to get to the first title reviewed at Three Percent.
Julia Franck, The Blind Side of the Heart translated by Anthea Bell
Luiz Alfredo Garcia-Roza, Alone in the Crowd translated by Benjamin Moser
Ben Moser is fantastic. And I hold him responsible (along with Andy Tepper) for the renewed interest in Clarice Lispector.
Paolo Giordano, The Solitude of Prime Numbers translated by Shaun Whiteside
Wolf Haas, The Weather Fifteen Years Ago translated by Stephanie Gilardi and Thomas S. Hansen
This book is AMAZING. OK, I know it’s a bitch to get ahold of, but please try. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
Tahar Ben Jelloun, Leaving Tangier translated by Linda Coverdale
Linda Coverdale translates a lot. And a lot of great books.
Ayse Kulin, Farewell: A Mansion in Occupied Istanbul translated by Kenneth J. Dakan
Siegfried Lenz, A Minute’s Silence translated by Anthea Bell
Alain Mabanckou, Broken Glass translated by Helen Stevenson
I heart Alain Mabanckou. Hoping this book ends up on the BTBA list for 2011.
Javier Marías, Your Face Tomorrow: Poison, Shadow and Farewell translated by Margaret Jull Costa
I need a month of days off to read this entire trilogy beginning to end. Totally blew my chance with the Conversational Reading Reading Group.
Patricia Melo, Lost World translated by Clifford Landers
Wu Ming, Manituana translated by Shaun Whiteside
Like Linda Coverdale, Shaun Whiteside translates more than one would think is humanly possible. Especially considering that all the books he does tend to win awards . . .
Vida Ognjenovic, Adulterers translated by Jelena Bankovic / Nicholas Moravcevich
Second book from the SPIT series on this list.
Amos Oz, Rhyming Life and Death translated by Nicholas De Lange
Thank god. I was starting to think that we had really bad taste in book reviews. Must be all those Dalkey books we’ve been reviewing! (Kidding.)
Orhan Pamuk, The Museum of Innocence translated by Maureen Freely
This made the BTBA 2010 fiction longlist and became the focal point of almost all media coverage of the award. It was then promptly trounced by all the other books and left off the shortlist. This is why I love our award.
Claudia Pineiro, Thursday Night Widows translated by Miranda France
Santiago Roncaglio, Red April translated by Edith Grossman
Maryam Sachs, Without Saying Goodbye translated by Sara Sugihara
Bahaa Taher, Sunset Oasis translated by Humphrey T. Davies
Jean-Philippe Toussaint, “Running Away“: translated by Matthew B. Smith
This was a BTBA Honorable Mention last year. And I still think The Bathroom is his best book.
Dubravka Ugresic, Baba Yaga Laid an Egg translated by Ellen Elias-Bursac, Celia Hawkesworth, and Mark Thompson
The IMPAC site actually says “Ellen Elias-Bursac et all.” Shameful!
Chika Unigwe, On Black Sisters’ Street translated by H. Van Riemsdijk
Srdjan Valjarevic, Lake Como translated by Allice Copple Tosic
This is the third SPIT book on the list, which means that 60% of the books they published in their inaugural season were longlisted for the IMPAC. Go Serbian Lit!
Esther Verhoef, Close-Up translated by Paul Vincent
Dimitri Verhulst, Madame Verona Comes Down the Hill translated by David Colmer
I really love Verhulst’s Problemski Hotel. Absolutely stunning novel.
Jorge Volpi, Season of Ash translated by Alfred J. MacAdam
Holy shit—it’s an Open Letter title!
Abdourahman Waberi, In the United States of Africa translated by David and Nicole Ball
Pieter Waterdrinker, The German Wedding translated by Brian Doyle
Tommy Wieringa, Joe Speedboat translated by Sam Garrett
No offense to anyone at Grove, but the title of this book turns me off. Makes me think of Sunday afternoon movies that TV stations play when the
Buffalo Bills local football team’s game is blacked out. Something involving a raft, a meadow, a floppy eared dog, and a con man. Sorry, I’m sure this book is golden—don’t let my quirky prejudices influence your reading choices.
Carlos Ruiz Zafon, The Angel’s Game translated by Lucia Graves
If Zafon were American or British, I think he would be a lot more like Dan Brown: an author everyone either loved, or hated, or loved to hate. Because he’s Spanish, only a fraction of readers either love, hate, or love to hate him.
So, in conclusion, Jorge Volpi should win this award, Serbian literature is HOT, and Shaun Whitside and Linda Coverdale are the workhorses of high-quality literary translation. And thank you International IMPAC Dublin Award committee for providing us with such a rich list of books to look into. (There are several on this list that I’ve never heard of.) And I’ll bet anyone $1million that Michael Orthofer has reviewed way more of these titles than we have. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s reviewed as many as 30 . . . that man is a machine!
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. . .
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. . .