24 January 11 | Chad W. Post

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!

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