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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Sphinx
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The Indian
The Indian by Jón Gnarr
Reviewed by P. T. Smith

The opening of Jón Gnarr’s novel/memoir The Indian is a playful bit of extravagant ego, telling the traditional story of creation, where the “Let there be light!” moment is also the moment of his birth on January 2nd, 1967. Then. . .

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Mother of 1084; Old Women; Breast Stories
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Mahasweta Devi is not only one of the most prolific Bengali authors, but she’s also an important activist. In fact, for Devi, the two seem to go together. As you can probably tell from the titles, she writes about women. . .

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Tristana
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The prolific Spanish author Benito Pérez Galdós wrote his short novel, Tristana, during the closing years of the nineteenth century, a time when very few options were available to women of limited financial means who did not want a husband.. . .

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The History of Silence
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Reviewed by P. T. Smith

Pedro Zarraluki’s The History of Silence (trans. Nick Caistor and Lorenza García) begins with the narrator and his wife, Irene, setting out to write a book about silence, itself called The History of Silence: “This is the story of how. . .

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