The other day, Academica Rossica announced the longlist for its 2014 Translation Prize, and, thankfully, Mikhail Shishkin’s Maidenhair made it!
Not to diminish the value of this longlist, but, to be honest, I would’ve been pissed if it hadn’t have made it, given the fact that there are forty-five books listed on this. I mean, that’s still a few hundred books short of the IMPAC Prize longlist (which is the very definition of absurd), but I was surprised to find out that there were forty-five eligible Russian translations.
That said, these are forty-five really interesting books, including works by Daniil Kharms, Mikhail Bulgakov, Andrei Gelasimov, Oleg Zalonchovsky, German Sadulaev, Viktor Shklovsky, Andrey Kurkov, Anna Starobinets, Vasily Grossman, Andrey Platonov, Victo Martinovich, Mikhail Shishkin, Vladimir Nabokov, Marina Tsvetaeva, and many other.
(Given the breath of this list, it would be really cool if there was a downloadable anthology with 5-10 pages from each. That would be an excellent way to introduce people to a wide range of Russian writing.)
Also, a lot of great Russian translators are on here—frequently with more than one book. Marian Schwartz, Andrew Bromfield, Carol Apollonio, Shushan Avagyan, Arch Tait, Amanda Love Darragh, Robert and Elizabeth Chandler, Jamey Gambrell, and many, many others.
The shortlist will be announced on February 25th and the winners on March 19th. In the meantime, check out the full list of titles and place your bets.
Many of Virginie Despentes’s books revolve around the same central idea: “To be born a woman [is] the worst fate in practically every society.” But this message is nearly always packaged in easy-to-read books that fill you with the pleasure. . .
Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer’s La Superba is appropriately titled after the Italian city of Genoa, where, after escaping the pressures of fame in his own country, the semi-autobiographical narrator finds himself cataloguing the experiences of its mesmerizing inhabitants with the intention. . .
It took reading 44 pages of Intervenir/Intervene before I began to get a sense of what Dolores Dorantes and Rodrigo Flores Sánchez were up to. Recurring throughout these 44 pages—throughout the entire book—are shovels, shovel smacks to the face, lobelias—aha!. . .
As presaged by its title, contradiction is the theme of Peter Stamm’s novel, All Days Are Night. Gillian, a well-known television personality, remains unknowable to herself. And Hubert, a frustrated artist and Gillian’s lover, creates art through the process of. . .
It’s a rare and wonderful book that begins and ends with violence and humor. At the start of Etgar Keret’s The Seven Good Years, Keret is in a hospital waiting for the birth of his first child while nurses, in. . .
Last year, Han Kang’s The Vegetarian was an unexpected critical hit. Now, it’s just been published in the U.S. and has already received a great deal of positive critical attention. The Vegetarian was a bold book to attempt as an. . .
It’s been almost a year since the publication of Nowhere to Be Found by Bae Suah, but despite being included on the 2015 PEN Translation award longlist, and some pretty vocal support from key indie presses, the book has. . .
Jorge Eduardo Benavides’ novel La paz de los vencidos (The Peace of the Defeated) takes the form of a diary written by a nameless Peruvian thirty-something intellectual slumming it in Santa Cruz de Tenerife in Spain’s Canary Islands. Recently relocated. . .
Anyone with any interest at all in contemporary Moroccan writing must start with Souffles. A cultural and political journal, Souffles (the French word for “breaths”) was founded in 1966 by Abdellatif Laâbi and Mostafa Nissabouri. Run by a group of. . .
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. . .