Over the weekend, the National Book Critics Circle announced the list of finalists for this year’s awards, which consist of six categories: fiction, nonfiction, poetry, autobiography, biography, and criticism. You can find the complete list of finalists at the link above, but I just want to list the fiction finalists, since 40% of the list is literature in translation:
Jennifer Egan, A Visit from The Goon Squad (Knopf)
Jonathan Franzen, Freedom (Farrar, Straus And Giroux)
David Grossman, To The End of The Land, translated from the Hebrew by Jessica Cohen (Knopf)
Hans Keilson, Comedy in a Minor Key, translated from the German by Damion Searls (Farrar, Straus And Giroux)
Paul Murray, Skippy Dies (Faber & Faber)
Interesting that there’s literally no overlap between this list and the National Book Awards shortlist . . . Not terribly surprised that Freedom is on here, but I really, really hope it doesn’t win.
In terms of the two translations, Dan Vitale reviewed both Comedy in a Minor Key and The Death of the Adversary for us earlier this year. Every since then (and after reading the almost over-the-top review in the New York Times), I’ve wanted to read this.
We never actually received a copy of To the End of the Land, but I’ve heard it’s pretty awesome . . . On a side-note, I had a sit-com like experience with David Grossman at the last Frankfurt Book Fair. When I was waiting to meet people for dinner, I crashed the fancy Hanser party, right during the time when Michael Kruger was introducing all the famous guests who were in the audience. I was circling around the back, trying to make myself invisible, when suddenly Kruger pointed right at me and said, “and we even have the recipient of the German Book Trade Peace Prize in the audience!” Everyone—truly everyone—turned to stare right through my guilty-looking self and applaud David Grossman, who was quite literally, right behind me . . . Anyway, hopefully Knopf will send us a review copy at some point . . .
And in terms of award announcements, we might have more about the NBCC awards later, but on Thursday, we’ll be announcing the 25-title fiction longlist for this year’s Best Translated Book Award. Stay tuned!
Randall Jarrell once argued a point that I will now paraphrase and, in doing so, over-simplify: As a culture, we need book criticism, not book reviews. I sort of agree, but let’s not get into all of that. Having finished. . .
Like any good potboiler worth its salt, Fuminori Nakamura’s The Gun wastes no time setting up its premise: “Last night, I found a gun. Or you could say I stole it, I’m not really sure. I’ve never seen something so. . .
Heiner Resseck, the protagonist in Monika Held’s thought-provoking, first novel, This Place Holds No Fear, intentionally re-lives his past every hour of every day. His memories are his treasures, more dear than the present or future. What wonderful past eclipses. . .
If you’ve ever worked in a corporate office, you’ve likely heard the phrase, “Perception is reality.” To Björn, the office worker who narrates Jonas Karlsson’s novel The Room, the reality is simple: there’s a door near the bathroom that leads. . .
I recently listened to Three Percent Podcast #99, which had guest speaker Julia Berner-Tobin from Feminist Press. In addition to the usual amusement of finally hearing both sides of the podcast (normally I just hear parts of Chad’s side. . .
Let’s not deceive ourselves, man is nothing very special. In fact, there are so many of us that our governments don’t know what to do with us at all. Six billion humans on the planet and only six or seven. . .
“Rambling Jack—what’s that?”
“A novel. Novella, I guess.”
“Yeah, it looks short. What is it, a hundred pages?”
“Sorta. It’s a duel language book, so really, only about… 50 pages total.”
“And this—what. . .
Many authors are compared to Roberto Bolaño. However, very few authors have the privilege of having a Roberto Bolaño quote on the cover of their work; and at that, one which states, “Good readers will find something that can be. . .
In Josep Maria de Sagarra’s Private Life, a man harangues his friend about literature while walking through Barcelona at night:
When a novel states a fact that ties into another fact and another and another, as the chain goes on. . .
César Aira dishes up an imaginative parable on how identity shapes our sense of belonging with Dinner, his latest release in English. Aira’s narrator (who, appropriately, remains nameless) is a self-pitying, bitter man—in his late fifties, living again with. . .