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.
Though far from the most convincing reason to read literature in translation, one common side effect is learning of another culture, of its history. Within that, and a stronger motivation to read, is the discovery of stories not possible within. . .
Despite cries that literature is dead, dying, and self-replicating in the worst way, once in a while a book comes along to remind readers that there’s still a lot of surprise to be found on the printed page. To be. . .
“I was small. And my village was small, I came to know that in time. But when I was small it was big for me, so big that when I had to cross it from one end to the other,. . .
A few weeks after moving into a farm house in the Welsh countryside, Emilie, an expatriate from the Netherlands, starts to think about her uncle. This uncle tried to drown himself in a pond in front of the hotel where. . .
Think back to the last adventure- or action-type book you read. Wasn’t it cool? Didn’t it make you want to do things, like learn to shoot a crossbow, hack complicated information systems, travel to strange worlds, take on knife-wielding thugs,. . .
In Aira’s Shantytown, while we’re inside the characters’ heads for a good portion of the story, the voice we read on the page is really that of Aira himself, as he works out the plot of the book he’s writing.. . .
Noir is not an easy genre to define—or if it once was, that was a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away; as a quick guess, maybe Silver Lake, Los Angeles, 1935. When two books as different as. . .
Some time ago I read this phrase: “The page is the only place in the universe God left blank for me.”
Pedro Mairal’s short novel The Missing Year of Juan Salvatierra is more about these blank spaces than the usual full. . .
“What if even in the afterlife you have to know foreign languages? Since I have already suffered so much trying to speak Danish, make sure to assign me to the Polish zone . . .”
So reads a typical aphoristic “poem”. . .
If you somehow managed to overlook the 2012 translation of Andrés Neuman’s breathtaking Traveler of the Century (and woe betide all whom continue to do so), you now have two exceptional works of fiction from the young Argentine virtuoso demanding. . .