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.
Prose translators will likely disagree, but I believe translating poetry requires a significant level of talent, a commitment to the text, and near mania, all of which suggests that the undertaking is the greatest possible challenge. The task is to. . .
The biggest issues with books like The Subsidiary often have to do with their underpinnings—when we learn that Georges Perec wrote La Disparition without once using the letter E, we are impressed. Imagine such a task! It takes a high. . .
Following The Infatuations, Javier Marías’s latest novel seems, like those that have preceded it, an experiment to test fiction’s capacity to mesmerize with sombre-sexy atmospheres and ruminative elongated sentences stretched across windowless walls of paragraphs. Thus Bad Begins offers his. . .
Death by Water, Kenzaburo Oe’s latest novel to be translated into English, practically begs you to read it as autobiography. Like The Changeling, as well as many other works not yet released in English, Death by Water is narrated in. . .
Jocelyne Saucier’s Twenty-One Cardinals is about the type of unique, indestructible, and often tragic loyalty only found in families. For a brief but stunningly mesmerizing 169 pages, Twenty-One Cardinals invited me in to the haunting and intimate world of the. . .
We know so very little; so little that what we think to be knowledge is hardly worth reckoning with at all; instead we ought to settle for being pleasantly surprised if, on the edge of things, against all expectations, our. . .
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. . .