28 February 13 | Chad W. Post

Less than one week before we announce the fiction longlist for the Best Translated Book Award (I have three more pre-announcements posts in the works to whet your appetite), but in the meantime, the French-American Foundation just announced the finalists for their Translation Prize.

The French-American Foundation received 64 submissions to the Translation Prize this year from more than 35 American publishers. . . . There will be one Fiction and one Non-Fiction prize presented at the annual Awards Ceremony on June 5 in New York. Each winning translator will receive a $10,000 cash prize funded by the Florence Gould Foundation.

The jury, which includes Linda Asher, David Bellos, Linda Coverdale, Emmanuelle Ertel and Lorin Stein, has selected the best English translations of French works published in 2012.

Here’s the list of the Fiction Finalists (descriptions theirs):

No One by Gwenaëlle Aubry and translated by Trista Selous (Tin House Books)

No One is a fictional memoir in dictionary form that investigates the unstable identity of the author’s father, a lawyer affected by a disabling bipolar disorder. Letter by letter, Aubry gives shape and meaning to the father who had long disappeared from her view.

We Monks and Soldiers by Lutz Bassmann and translated by Jordan Stump (University of Nebraska Press)

While humanity seems to be fading around them, the members of a shadowy organization are doing their inadequate best to assist those experiencing their last moments. This remarkable work offers readers a thrilling entry into Bassmann’s numinous world.

HHhH by Laurent Binet and translated by Sam Taylor (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

A seemingly effortlessly blend of historical truth, personal memory, and Laurent Binet’s remarkable imagination, HHhH—a winner of the prestigious Prix Goncourt du Premier Roman—is a work at once thrilling and intellectually engrossing, a fast-paced novel of the Second World War.

Prehistoric Times by Eric Chevillard and translated by Alyson Waters (Archipelago Books)

The characters in Prehistoric Times remind us of the inhabitants of Samuel Beckett’s world: dreamers who in their savage and deductive folly try to modify reality.

With the Animals by Noëlle Revaz and translated by W. Donald Wilson (Dalkey Archive Press)

With the Animals, Noëlle Revaz’s shocking debut, is a novel of mud and blood whose linguistic audaciousness is matched only by its brutality, misanthropy, and gallows humor.

And for those of you who have read this far in this post, you should know that two of those five titles made the Best Translated Book Award fiction longlist . . .


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Astragal
Astragal by Albertine Sarrazin
Reviewed by Tiffany Nichols

Upon completing Albertine Sarrazin’s Astragal I was left to wonder why it ever fell from print. Aside from the location, Astragal could pass as the great American novel. Its edginess and rawness capture the angst and desires we all had. . .

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Live Bait
Live Bait by Fabio Genovesi
Reviewed by Megan Berkobien

When my eyes first crossed the back cover of Fabio Genovesi’s novel Live Bait, I was caught by a blurb nestled between accolades, a few words from a reviewer for La Repubblica stating that the novel was, however magically, “[b]eyond. . .

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The Skin
The Skin by Curzio Malaparte
Reviewed by Peter Biello

“I preferred the war to the plague,” writes Curzio Malaparte in his 1949 novel, The Skin. He speaks of World War II and the destruction it has wrought on Italy, the city of Naples in particular. But the plague he. . .

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Love Sonnets & Elegies
Love Sonnets & Elegies by Louise Labé
Reviewed by Brandy Harrison

With the steady rise of feminist scholarship and criticism in recent decades, it is little wonder that the work of Louise Labé should be attracting, as Richard Sieburth tells us in the Afterword to his translation, a “wide and thriving”. . .

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Conversations
Conversations by César Aira
Reviewed by Tiffany Nichols

In Conversations, we find ourselves again in the protagonist’s conscious and subconscious, which is mostly likely that of Mr. César Aira and consistent with prototypical Aira style. This style never fails because each time Aira is able to develop a. . .

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Nothing Ever Happens
Nothing Ever Happens by José Ovejero
Reviewed by Juan Carlos Postigo

You are not ashamed of what you do, but of what they see you do. Without realizing it, life can be an accumulation of secrets that permeates every last minute of our routine . . .

The narrative history of. . .

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The Pendragon Legend
The Pendragon Legend by Antal Szerb
Reviewed by P. T. Smith

Literature in translation often comes with a certain pedigree. In this little corner of the world, with so few books making it into this comforting nook, it is often those of the highest quality that cross through, and attention is. . .

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Mr. Gwyn
Mr. Gwyn by Alessandro Baricco
Reviewed by Paul Doyle

Alessandro Baricco’s Mr. Gwyn is a set of two loosely interlinked novellas that play with narrative and the construction of character. Ably translated by Ann Goldstein, Mr. Gwyn plays some subtle metafictional games as Baricco delves into what it means. . .

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Bombay Stories
Bombay Stories by Saadat Hasan Manto
Reviewed by Will Eells

I must admit upfront that I went into reading Saadat Hasan Manto’s Bombay Stories almost entirely blind. I have not read Salman Rushdie. I have read, perhaps, two short stories by Jhumpa Lahiri. I might shamefully add that I really. . .

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The Gray Notebook
The Gray Notebook by Joseph Pla
Reviewed by Christopher Iacono

Throughout his work The Gray Notebook, Josep Pla mentions many different authors, some of whom have inspired him to pick up a pen. One of them is Marcel Proust. Even though Pla normally prefers nonfiction, he lauds the French novelist. . .

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