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!
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. . .