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!
Paul Klee’s Boat, Anzhelina Polonskaya’s newest bilingual collection of poems available in English, is an emotional journey through the bleakest seasons of the human soul, translated with great nuance by Andrew Wachtel. A former professional ice dancer(!), Polonskaya left the. . .
In Seiobo There Below, Lázló Krasznahorkai is able to succeed at a task at which many writers fail: to dedicate an entire novel to a single message, to express an idea over and over again without falling into repetition or. . .
There are curious similarities in three Italian mystery series, written by Maurizio de Giovanni, Andrea Camilleri, and Donna Leon.1
They’re all police procedurals, and all set in Italy: Naples, Sicily, Venice.
The three protagonists are Commissarios: Luigi Ricciardi, Salvo. . .
Poetry always has the feel of mysticism and mystery, or maybe this feeling is a stereotype left over from high school literature class. It is generally the result of confusion, lack of time committed to consuming the poetry, and the. . .
Our Lady of the Flowers, Echoic is not only a translation, but a transformation. It is a translation of Jean Genet’s novel Notre Dame des Fleurs, transmuted from prose to poetry. Originally written in prison as a masturbatory aid (Sartre. . .
Equal parts stoner pulp thriller and psycho-physiological horror story, a pervasive sense of dread mixes with a cloud of weed smoke to seep into every line of the disturbing, complex Under This Terrible Sun. Originally published by illustrious Spanish publishers. . .
From the start, Daniel Canty’s Wigrum, published by Canadian press Talonbooks, is obviously a novel of form. Known also as a graphic designer in Quebec, Canty takes those skills and puts them towards this “novel of inventory” and creates a. . .
Throughout his career—in fact from his very first book, Where the Jackals Howl (1965)—the renowned Israeli writer Amos Oz has set much of his fiction on the kibbutz, collective communities he portrays as bastions of social cohesion and stultifying conformity. . .
Antoon gives us a remarkable novel that in 184 pages captures the experience of an Iraqi everyman who has lived through the war with Iran in the first half of the 1980s, the 1991 Gulf War over the Kuwaiti invasion,. . .
Every fictional work set in L.A. begins with a slow crawl through its streets in the early hours of the morning right after sunrise. Maybe it’s always done this way to emphasize the vast sprawl of the city and highlight. . .