The Buenos Aires Review, which, over the past few months, has been posting really interesting works of fiction and poetry, info about kick-ass bookstores, interviews, translator’s notes, and more, has just released its first quarterly issue entitled “Tongue Ties”:
This first quarterly issue of the Buenos Aires Review boasts new literary works from a variety of tongues—French, Galician, German, Portuguese, Russian, and a touch of Hungarian accompany the Spanish and English of always—and locales ranging from Rio de Janeiro, México, London, Paris, A Coruña, and São Paulo, to Moscow, Los Angeles, Costa Rica, Mar del Plata and New York.
Fiction. We unravel the mystery of Bola Negra, the shapeshifting piece by Mario Bellatin that led to a film and an opera, tap the spirit(s) of Mad Men with James Warner, and winter with Rosario Bléfari on the Argentine coast, while Juan Álvarez gets tangled up with hitmen and supermodels in Colombia and Sacha Sperling — France’s latest enfant terrible — takes on literary glam & doom.
Time Regained. We revisit the sublime and fantastic world of Paul Karl Wilhem Scheerbart (1863-1915) through the translations of Mariana Dimópulos and Joel Morris.
Conversations: on Conceptualisms. We listen in as Latin America’s first and foremost conceptual artist Roberto Jacoby sits down with Reinaldo Laddaga, Ubuweb founder and Uncreative Writer Kenneth Goldsmith binds past and present with Michael Romano, and American poet David Shook talks poetry drones with Pola Oloixarac.
Art. We join Ben Merriman in the factory that became Costa Rica’s best museum.
Translator’s Note. Fulbright scholar Adam Z. Levy takes a heady swig of Hungarian and Yiddish.
Definitely worth checking out.Tweet
Zachary Karabashliev, author of the wildly fun 18% Gray recently participated in the Texas Book Festival in Austin. According to the dozen or so friends I know who attended, it sounded like a real blast. So I thought I’d ask Zach a few questions about his experience, and share some of his photographs. (If you’ve read 18% Gray, you know that photography plays a big role in the novel. So it’s fitting to include some of Zack’s photos here.)
Chad W. Post: Was this your first time participating in the Austin Book Festival? What exactly did you do there?
Zachary Karabashliev: First time in Austin, yes. I was invited to join all the activities there, as well as talking on a panel themed “America, the beautiful?” with another writer—Claire Vaye Watkins—who has written these great stories mostly set in the West. An awesome take-no-prisoners writing, I loved it. The moderator was Callie Collins, the Editor-In Chief of the new publishing house Strange Object. So we talked about The West, The East, America in between . . . the notions of freedom, and all that. It looked like the audience had fun—they were laughing more than usual for your typical book reading.
CWP: How did this festival compare to others you’ve participated in?
ZK: This one was unique—it was set in the majestic State Capitol Building. I found this really symbolic—as if for three days literature took power. The bastion of politics was now a house of letters. It became a meeting place for writers and readers. We were let in the very rooms some of the most important and controversial political decisions have been made. There were many parties afterwards, free booze, and so much music, God, so much great music. Austin literally rocks. A great fest town.
CWP: How was the attendance? Was it well-organized?
ZK: It was extremely well organized—from the car picking you at the airport to all the parties, to sending you off. I loved that. The street in front of the Congress Building was blocked, all tents and stuff—it was all literature. And the attendance was record high, I believe.
CWP: Favorite non-book fair event: Phil Anselmo concert with Bromance Will, or eating your first BBQ?
ZK: Man, I’ve been a proud U.S. resident for over 14 years, but it was in Austin where for the first time I experienced the true beauty and pleasure of eating a real, slow cooked brisket. And that did it, man. I’ve been initiated. I’ve arrived.
About Phillip Anselmo and the Illegals, hahaha—I was a huge Pantera fan back in the 90’s. So, when I saw Anselmo’s band I was—wow, right on. He actually started a Horror Film Festival the same weekend. And he closed the fest with his own new project. So, Phillip Anselmo was awesome, but The Illegal’s material sucked, I’m so sorry to report. I loved the other band that played that night—Eyehategod—these guys are the real deal.
CWP: Any favorite authors that you met there?
ZK: I probably met many that I liked, but not knowing how they look like made it difficult. You see, you don’t wanna look like a lit dork wearing that name tag on your neck. But the truth is—no one really knows who you are. So you talk to so and so, and you click and have a good time, and at some point you go—but, wait the minute, this is YOU? Oh, I love your writing. Then, there are the others, that you know from media and book covers, and you kinda pretend that you know their writing only because everybody else pretends they do, so you don’t want to make a fool of your self. But frankly . . . how many of us will really have already read Dissident Gardens, for example? Really?
Reza Aslan (Zealot) was super cool, Nina McConigley (Cowboys and East Indians) was a blast, Kelly Luce, Claire Vaye Watkins, and Jonathan Lethem was incredibly funny.
Yet, my favorite person to spent time with—Will Evans. This man is a maniac—he’s got literature all over. I mean it—on his arms—tattoos of dead people, all of which Russian writers. You talk to Will for a couple of hours, and YOU KNOW world can be a better and definitely a funnier place. He’s the one that introduce me to the true BBQ—how do you forget that?
I don’t know much about this Quantified Writer Project, but seeing that it combines two of my favorite things—Arnon Grunberg’s work and neuroscience—I feel like I really should.
Here’s the basic description from Arnon’s website:
Dutch author Arnon Grunberg and his publishing house, Nijgh & Van Ditmar, initiated the formation of a top class research team that will investigate the physiological processes governing the production and perception of art in a unique collaboration between scientists, an artist and the public.
The team plans to take detailed measurements of the brain activity and the physical signals recorded from the author as he writes his new novel. This will take place in New York, where Grunberg lives, starting November 19th and lasting two weeks. The next phase, in the fall of 2014, will be to study members of public (n=~50) reading the new novel in a controlled situation. On top of this, and using a limited set of parameters, the team will study brain activation in several thousand readers.
There is also a LiveStream box on this page, so maybe we’ll all have the chance to watch as Arnon writes? Regardless, this sounds really cool, and I’m very curious about the results. It seems like something could fit right into Jonah Lehrer’s Imagine, but, you know, actually factually accurate. (Yeah, I went there.)Tweet
A current MALTS student here at the University of Rochester, Allison M. Charette is also a translator from the French who recently helped launch the Emerging Literary Translators’ Network in America. After attending this year’s American Literary Translators Association (ALTA) conference, she wanted to write up a couple of the more interesting panels. Here’s one.
You know those list-y blog posts, right? “Top Ten Things You’re Doing Wrong at Work” or “8 Commonly Mispronounced Words” or “25 Ryan Gosling GIFs to Make You Smile”?
Don’t worry, this isn’t one of them.
But I, a true member of my generation, read lots of them. Some of them even have to do with translation (which I also do). And those lists of “Top Ten Things to Make You a Better Translator” always include a directive to talk. Specifically, to read the original text out loud. Then to read your written translation out loud. Everything is supposed to make more sense when you do.
Jordan Smith agrees. As he pointed out in his panel at the recent ALTA conference, “Decentering Semantics: Poetics and Meaning in Translation,” there’s more to words and characters than just their content and contextual meaning. He’s currently translating some wonderfully experimental poetry by Yoshimasu Gōzō, a Japanese poet, which involves a lot of puns, wordplay between different languages, and homophonographic play within its own language.
There’s a practice in Japan called ateji, which replaces a normal kanji character with different characters that are pronounced the same. English has these word games, too—mondegreens, or the physical card game Mad Gab—but it seems to be more poetic and less slapstick in Japanese. Jordan gave an example from Gōzō’s “火・Fire . . .” (published in last summer’s Poetry Review):
smoke: kemuri 煙
ke mu ri
毛 無 里
HAIR NOTHINGNESS VILLAGE
By sounding out each word carefully, the reader gets a new, alternate meaning in each character (or, in English, set of letters). Sounding it out gives it a new sense. In this particular poem, it’s a deeply interesting feature and a novel idea.
In poetry translation, though, it’s something more: the most extreme way to support the idea that sound is more important than content. Rendering a poem literally into another language is stilted at best and wildly off the mark at worst. Jordan argued that the best approach is to keep the semantic meaning decentered, or at least to recenter it somewhere in the space between languages.
To translate this ateji, though, Jordan was faced with a challenge. No matter how you elongate or twist the sounds in the word “smoke” in English, you’ll never hear anything about hair, or village, or a void. But if the sound is all that matters, then “some-oak” or “sumo-oak” should work just fine. And so it does, in Jordan’s translation:
Thinking of the fire in the heart of Adonis
«drapé de feu»
“soft flames of the earth’s surface, …….(July 8, 2000. From Miyake-jima, like the hand of an infant, // fresh some,oak (smoke, …….) = hair,nothingness,village (ke毛,mu無,ri里, ……)”
door = «戸»
seed of the fire even beyond the seed of the fire in the heart of Adonis-san
door = «戸»
My first reaction to this poetry was “wow, this is strange.” This poem includes three different languages in just this one little excerpt, plus bibliographic information as part of the poem itself. It’s not something you see every day. But it’s beautiful. It sounds beautiful when you speak it out loud. Even though there’s no semantic reference to “oak” in the original poem, it fits. The sound itself fits. And in the end, with poetry, that’s what matters most.
This poem and more will be included in a forthcoming anthology entitled Alice, Iris, Red Horse: Selected Poems of Gozo Yoshimasu: a Book in and on Translation, edited by Forrest Gander.Tweet
I’ve been hoping to cover more crime books on the site—mainly because there are so many, lots of people, including Tom Roberge, that love these sorts of novels, and because it’s a genre of fiction that I don’t read very often—and thankfully George Carroll agreed to try and review some of these for us.
The first ones he decided to write about are two of the five books by Maurizio de Giovanni that Europa Editions has published. He opens by comparing this series to those from two other famous crime writers:
There are curious similarities in three Italian mystery series, written by Maurizio de Giovanni, Andrea Camilleri, and Donna Leon.
They’re all police procedurals, and all set in Italy: Naples, Sicily, Venice.
The three protagonists are Commissarios: Luigi Ricciardi, Salvo Montalbano, and Guido Brunetti.
They all report to self-serving, social-climbing, ass-covering Questore buffoons: Angelo Garzo, Bonetti-Alderighi, and Patta
Each has a loyal, efficient, well-connected right-hand Sergente / Ispettore / Brigadier: Raffaele Maione, Giuseppe Fazio, Lorenzo Vianello.
And they all have testy, feisty relationships with their forensic pathologists: Doctors Modo, Pasquale, Rizzardi
But this is where most of those similarities end.
Click here to read the full thing.Tweet
A couple weeks ago, Words Without Borders celebrated their 10th year with a baller fundraising gala where Drenka Willen received the inaugural James H. Ottaway, Jr. Award for the Promotion of International Literature. (The best write-up about this, and about Drenka in general, is the one Sal Robinson wrote for MobyLives. Sal rocks.)
Here is a picture from the party. And yes, that is Susan Harris with J-Franz.
If you’re into book industry news and whatnot, you’ve probably heard the story about Garth Risk Hallberg’s novel, City on Fire. Just to recap though, before the book had a publisher, Scott Rudin, the movie producer behind Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, and No Country for Old Men, optioned the film rights. That’s a pretty rare situation, and basically ensured that a book deal was imminent. Well, a couple days ago it was announced that Knopf had bought the rights for almost $2 million.
From the New York Times:
“City on Fire” was written by Garth Risk Hallberg, a 34-year-old who has contributed to The New York Times Book Review and The Millions. Publishers who had a copy of the manuscript — and said they could concentrate on little else until they had finished reading it — rapturously compared it to work by Michael Chabon and Thomas Pynchon.
The book drew an advance that is highly unusual for a debut novel. In a two-day bidding war, 10 publishers bid more than $1 million. Knopf emerged the victor, paying close to $2 million, said two people familiar with the negotiations. [. . .]
Sonny Mehta, the chairman and editor in chief of Knopf, said on Sunday, “It’s a large, spacious and extremely ambitious novel. It has a richness to it, and that was really what I responded to almost immediately.”
As much as I kind of loathe the “publishing industry,” it’s totally bad ass that Garth got this money for a book that was initially 1,200 pages long. And given that the last time I saw Garth, he was reading Péter Nádas’s Parallel Stories (and pointing out that most critic who reviewed this seemed not to have read it . . .), I’m guessing that City on Fire isn’t going to be 900 pages of vampire shit and semi-erotic bondage. In fact, this may be the first “Big Book Deal” book that I’m actually excited to read.
To go back a step though, and to indulge in some momentary online navel-gazing, the thing that’s weirdest to me about this is that I’ve actually met Garth, officially making him the first person I’ve coffeed with to earn this much cash on a single book deal.
You NEED to listen to the opening of this podcast—it’s a harrowing thought (that you only have XXX number of books left to read in your life) followed by a bit of Garthian wisdom.
Also, I want to thank Garth for being the indirect inspiration for the funniest thing I ever wrote—a play-by-play recap of my battle with Skype/Moneybookers.
And for more info on Garth and what little is known of City on Fire, check out Boris Kachka’s FAQ on GRH.Tweet
This week’s BTBA post is written by George Carroll, a publishers representative based in Seattle who blogs at North-North-West. He is also the soccer editor for Shelf Awareness and he and Chad frequently spent part of the weekend texting about EPL match-ups and Manchester Fucking United.
Paranoia by Victor Martinovich, translated by Diane Nemec Ignashev
A young writer falls in love with a woman who is also the lover of the head of state security in Belarus. The triangle falls apart when the woman says she is pregnant, disappears, is seemingly murdered, and the writer becomes the prime suspect.
The book opens with “There was light, then came darkness.” The beginning is a lot of romantic obsession, a bit cloying at times. The middle is written from transcripts of monitoring the apartment where the lovers meet. The final third of the book is the payoff—writing about it would be a minefield of spoiler alerts. Donald Rayfiled’s review in the TLS remarked that Martinovich’s achievement was showing how “a hole can open up in the ground and drop you into hell.” That pretty much sums it up. It’s dark, unsettling, and capped with a major WTF ending.
That the book takes place in Minsk during the dictatorship of Alexander Lukashenko, and that the head of security invokes the historical figure Mikhail Muraviov, aka “the hangman” is thinly disguised. Timothy Snyder wrote a lengthy piece about the book in New York Review of Books three years ago, noting that the book was removed from bookstore shelves in Belarus two days after it was published.
The Silence and the Roar by Nihad Sirees, translated by Max Weiss
A couple of weeks ago Publishers Weekly announced The Silence and the Roar as one of the top ten books of 2013. What does that mean? Not a whole heck of a lot. However, it’s great to see a book in translation make a general wrap-up and the fact it wasn’t written by one of the Yankees of the Translation League is a huge plus.
The book was written in 2004, pre-current-revolution Syria. The main character, a writer, gets in trouble with security forces, has his ID card taken away, tries to retrieve it at headquarters, only to be refused entrance because, well, he doesn’t have an ID card.
This book, like Paranoia, has all of those descriptive pigeon-holes—Orwellian, Kafkaesque, dystopian. There’s a real snarkiness to the protagonist and the female characters (mother, girlfriend) have a nice depth to them.
The Village Indian by Abbas Khider, translated by Donal McLaughlin
Abbas Khider recently received the Nelly-Sachs-Preis, a biennial prize awarded by the city of Dortmund, who just lost to Arsenal. Wait. That’s a different column I’m writing. Previously Khider was a runner-up for the Adelbert von Chammiso Award, given to non-German writers who make a contribution to German letters. Not bad for someone who arrived in Berlin knowing three German words: Hitler, Lufthansa, and scheisse.
Khider was arrested six times for leafleting against Saddam Hussein’s regime and spent two years in an Iraqi prison. On his release, he became an undocumented refugee traveling through North Africa and Europe.
The narrator in the book finds a manuscript on a Munich-Berlin train that tells his own story but with a different name. How much similarity the character Rasul Hamid has with Khider would be very interesting to know. My takeaway from the book—when you’re on the run, carry a knife and duct tape.
That Smell by Sonallah Ibrahim, translated by Robyn Creswell
After spending five years in prison, a political prisoner, now under house arrest, tries to adjust to life in Cairo. This book doesn’t qualify for the BTBA award. Snap. But just because it doesn’t qualify, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t read it.Tweet
Being a judge for the Best Translated Book Award is one of the pleasures I have had the opportunity to participate in for the past few years. Not only because I am able to read the incredibly diverse and creative works submitted and the efforts of translators to bring to justice the works of those writers, but also because of the robust, if not often contentious, discussion that they incite. What are the personal aesthetic criteria of each judge? What do we consider “lit-er-ah-ture?” Are we representing too much of one culture? Not considering enough minority viewpoints? These questions, along with the personal literary peccadilloes that each judge wants to champion, are thrown into the pot and stirred until its narrowed down to the top 25 titles.
One of my peccadilloes happens to be short story collections. It’s been said (I should cite a source, but I am protecting the guilty) that short story collections have a difficult time being considered as the top contender for the Best Translated Book Award because the collections are not strong enough overall to go up against the considerable strength of a novel. I have no definitive answer to this besides the fact that I really enjoy short stories and the thought and creativity that goes into a producing a cohesive collection. Collections are not “just a bunch of disparate stories thrown together.” They are often constructed like a puzzle and the reader can’t see the whole picture until the the last story of the collection is read.
Despite the constant incantation that “short story collections don’t sell” humming softly in the background of our literary culture, writers keep writing them, readers keep reading them and publishers keep publishing them. Also, let’s not forget the hundreds of literary journals that are dedicated to showcasing the best short fiction of our time. Even with that, and as I sit bedside in ICU to witness the alleged last gasp of the dying “short story collection,” let me present a few collections from our submissions this year that have managed to thrive despite their mortality rate.
Revenge: Eleven Dark Tales by Toko Ogawa, Translated by Stephen Snyder, Picador
This collection is a slow burn. After reading the first story, I didn’t think it was that dark. By the end of the collection, I was thoroughly creeped out by the lingering effect of borderline personalities that pop up suddenly to rock the calm boat of Ogawa’s deceptively plain and steady prose. In short, direct sentences, Ogawa describes the setting, perhaps some minor characters, and then delivers a macabre jab to the reader that sets the eerie tale rolling. The connections are bizarre; there is a hospital secretary who kills living in the apartment above a woman who moves into the Museum of Torture, the scamming butler that curates the collection begun by the dead twin sisters he worked for, and I can’t leave out the strawberry shortcake. I will never look at kiwi and strawberry shortcake quite the same again. Yes, this collection, by the time you finish it, will haunt with it’s detached tone and voice telling of a murdering old woman and a man who makes a bag for a heart. It’s as if this collection has Asperger’s Syndrome – no emotion, just the quotidian, lurid facts. Enjoy!
Milk and Other Stories by Simon Fruelund, Translated by K. E. Semmel, Santa Fe Writers Project
Fruelund takes the functionality of an Egg chair and the irony of Kierkegaard to weave a collection of stories that linger and make us question those small moments, seemingly small decisions, that effect us more than we think they will. Fruelund is as dark as Okawa, but in a much more emotional and existential way. His stories are brief, a few pages at most, but taut with the importance of those seminal moments that sneak up on us. Memory, mistakes, and betrayal play integral parts in this collection and it is certain to spur on a bit of self-reflection. A man having a an affair comes to terms when he takes his lover to a farmhouse he visited as a child in “Fling,” a teacher/mentor dismisses and rejects a former student and his poetry in “Unsettled,” and the brutal honesty of a cheating husband in “Hair” all portray the pain of betrayal for the victims as wells as the perpetrator. The story of betrayal I found the most poignant, “Chairs,” tells the story of a widow whose recently lost her husband that she married in 1932 and realizes after going through his book collection that he had affair with her sister.
The story also incorporates the difficulty of old age with this powerful line:
“On the dust jacket, she read how this was a story about ‘impossible love, burning desire and unavoidable destruction.’ Was there a reason she’d never felt the urge to read it? She’d outlived both of them, but their secret had almost survived her.”
“That’s the way it is, growing old, she thought: one moves from chair to chair.”
Two or Three Years Later: Forty-Nine Digressions by Ror Wolf, Translated by Jennifer Marquart, Open Letter Books
This collection is where we get our surrealism on. Wolf is one wacky German with a penchant for the humorous and the grim. This two part collection begins with forty-eight fictions that focus on the comical nature of death (Isn’t death a hoot?!) and the second part is the twelve-part forty-ninth digression about the narrator’s surreal sojourn around the world. I like the word digressions in a titular way because a digression is, well, vague as far as literary definitions are concerned. They have no stereotypical form. This allows Wolf to exercise his right to be abstract, abstruse and ambivalent. He gives the reader no promises nor any solid ground. It’s all in the word, as aptly illustrated in this digression (in its entirety), “Not a Word:”
Yes, these are Wolf’s imponderables that can entertain and exasperate. Details can be rare and makes us yearn for a character, a story, anything to hold onto for more than a few pages. And just when I thought I was out, he pulled me back in.
“Not a word was uttered by an unknown man as he embraced an unknown twenty-year-old from behind on Boppstrasse. She was able to get away and call for help. What the man actually wanted is unknown.”
The forty-ninth digression can be read and reread because there is so much there. At first glance, it may seem like your typical surreal fare, but in it Wolf dares to become the surrealist’s surrealist, with the twist and turns of deep REM sleep that are vivid, real and inexplicable. It felt Jonkean (hello Gert!) at moments which I loved, but then there are passages that feel like Wolf’s signature style, eccentric and commanding:
That is the moment I fell in love with Wolf. It appears in the first part of the forty-ninth digression. The story ascends and descends creating its own fluid yet extreme narrative vicissitudes. There are weighty moments limned with irony and wit so shrewd, like at the end of “The Anaconda’s Smile:”
“In ’54 I worked in several bars as an assistant waiter. Some claimed I sang from time to time. Yes, I sang from time to time, but only brieflly and very quietly, and only in the darkest corners behind the coat check. I slept in a tiny room cluttered with stacks of furniture, on a slit-open mattress reeking of decay. Otherwise, not much happened. Sometimes, I sang a little, it’s true, but all I basically cared about was that I didn’t drop the beer. One day, in March ’55, I received a letter that said I should come to B, to Berlin. Come to Berlin right away, while you’re still in this chapter.”
Simultaneously believable and unbelievable, Wolf creates his own structure of a digression with an architecture that has no walls, but many rooms.
Though I knew, naturally, that in this world you can’t be calm for a single moment. There is no entitlement to being calm.”
Red Spectres: Russian Gothic Tales from the Twentieth Century Selected and Translated by Muireann Maguire, Overlook Press
This collection of Russian Gothic tales is ineligible because it is an anthology, but must be mentioned because of these wonderfully supernatural, haunting stories from the likes of such Russian greats as Mikhail Bulgakov, Sigizmund Kryzhizhanovksy and A.V. Chayanov. Sure, that’s a mouthful, but well worth learning how to pronounce their names so that you can tell your friends to read this fantastically strange collection. Plus, the cover is one of the best I’ve seen this year. Judge this book by its cover. Please.Tweet
In response to the incredibly lame GoodReads Choice Awards (and yes, I’m totally voting for Jodi Picoult in the fiction category), Typographical Era launched their own Translation Award:
It all started when I asked a simple question on Twitter yesterday. Why in the HELL do the GoodReads Choice Awards not have a category dedicated to allowing users to vote for their favorite literary translation of the year? There are twenty categories. TWENTY. Yet translations are completely ignored. Thus the first ever Typographical Translation Award is born. Lovers of international fiction, this is your chance to be speak up and be heard! You tell us, what was the best translation published in 2013? Here’s how it works:
I’ve started the ball rolling by officially nominating 20 titles that appeared in English translation in the United States for the first time in 2013. Some of these we’ve reviewed on the site, others we have not. While no list can ever be all encompassing, I’ve done my best to select quality works spanning a wide variety of publishers, languages, countries, and subject matter. In the interest of fairness, I’ve linked each title below directly to its publisher’s informational page and NOT, where applicable, to our review. I’ve also included an “other” field as part of the poll where you can write-in a vote for your favorite novel if it didn’t make the list. Any write-ins that are received will automatically be added to the poll so that others can vote for them as well. I reserve the right to remove a title if it doesn’t qualify as an original work that was published in 2013. Confused about what’s eligible? Three Percent’s translation database is a great resource.
Voting is limited to one per IP address. The polls will close on the evening of November 28th at which time I’ll reveal the results and the top 8 titles will move on to a final round of voting, with your overall champion being crowned on December 19th.
Below you’ll find the entire list of 20 nominated titles, but really, you should only be voting for one of these two books:
The Dark by Sergio Chejfec, translated from the Spanish by Heather Cleary
Tirza by Arnon Grunberg, translated from the Dutch by Sam Garrett
But if you insist on voting for something that wasn’t published by Open Letter, here’s the rest of the nominated titles:
All Dogs Are Blue by Rodrigo de Souza Leao, translated from the Portuguese by Zoe Perry
My Struggle: Book Two by Karl Ove Knausgaard, translated from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett
Cold Sea Stories by Pawel Huelle, translated from the Polish by Antonia Lloyd Jones
Under This Terrible Sun by Carlos Busqued, translated from the Spanish by Megan McDowell
The Whispering Muse by Sjon, translated from the Icelandic by Victoria Cribb
The Fall of the Stone City by Ismail Kadare, translated from the Albanian by John Hodgson
The President’s Hat by Antoine Laurain, translated from the French by Jane Aitken
The Infatuations by Javier Marias, translated from the Spanish by Margaret Jull Costa
Seiobo There Below by Laszlo Krasznahorkai, translated from the Hungarian by Ottilie Mulzet
The Elixir of Immortality by Gabi Gleichmann, translated from the Norwegian by Michael Meigs
A True Novel by Minae Mizumura, translated from the Japanese by Juliet Winters Carpenter
Ten White Geese by Gerbrand Bakker, translated from the Dutch by David Colmer
The Devil’s Workshop by Jachym Topol, translated from the Czech by Alex Zucker
The Black Lake by Hella Haasse, translated from the Dutch by Ina Rilke
The Jew Car by Franz Fuhmann, translated from the German by Isabel Fargo Cole
Kafka’s Hat by Patrice Martin, translated from the Dutch by Chantrell Bilodeau
The Fata Morgana Books by Jonathan Littell, translated from the French by Charlotte Mandell
Sandalwood Death by Mo Yan, translated from the Chinese by Howard GoldblattTweet
Paul Klee’s Boat, Anzhelina Polonskaya’s newest bilingual collection of poems available in English, is an emotional journey through the bleakest seasons of the human soul, translated with great nuance by Andrew Wachtel. A former professional ice dancer(!), Polonskaya left the. . .
In Seiobo There Below, Lázló Krasznahorkai is able to succeed at a task at which many writers fail: to dedicate an entire novel to a single message, to express an idea over and over again without falling into repetition or. . .
There are curious similarities in three Italian mystery series, written by Maurizio de Giovanni, Andrea Camilleri, and Donna Leon.1
They’re all police procedurals, and all set in Italy: Naples, Sicily, Venice.
The three protagonists are Commissarios: Luigi Ricciardi, Salvo. . .
Poetry always has the feel of mysticism and mystery, or maybe this feeling is a stereotype left over from high school literature class. It is generally the result of confusion, lack of time committed to consuming the poetry, and the. . .
Our Lady of the Flowers, Echoic is not only a translation, but a transformation. It is a translation of Jean Genet’s novel Notre Dame des Fleurs, transmuted from prose to poetry. Originally written in prison as a masturbatory aid (Sartre. . .
Equal parts stoner pulp thriller and psycho-physiological horror story, a pervasive sense of dread mixes with a cloud of weed smoke to seep into every line of the disturbing, complex Under This Terrible Sun. Originally published by illustrious Spanish publishers. . .
From the start, Daniel Canty’s Wigrum, published by Canadian press Talonbooks, is obviously a novel of form. Known also as a graphic designer in Quebec, Canty takes those skills and puts them towards this “novel of inventory” and creates a. . .
Throughout his career—in fact from his very first book, Where the Jackals Howl (1965)—the renowned Israeli writer Amos Oz has set much of his fiction on the kibbutz, collective communities he portrays as bastions of social cohesion and stultifying conformity. . .
Antoon gives us a remarkable novel that in 184 pages captures the experience of an Iraqi everyman who has lived through the war with Iran in the first half of the 1980s, the 1991 Gulf War over the Kuwaiti invasion,. . .
Every fictional work set in L.A. begins with a slow crawl through its streets in the early hours of the morning right after sunrise. Maybe it’s always done this way to emphasize the vast sprawl of the city and highlight. . .