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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The Little Horse
The Little Horse by Thorvald Steen
Reviewed by P. T. Smith

The last five days of the eleventh-century Icelandic politician, writer of sagas, and famous murder victim Snorri Sturleleson (the Norwegian spelling, Snorre, is preserved in the book) make up Thorvald Steen’s most recently translated historical fiction, The Little Horse. Murdered. . .

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Guys Like Me
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Self-Portrait in Green
Self-Portrait in Green by Marie NDiaye
Reviewed by Lori Feathers

Marie NDiaye has created a tiny, psychological masterpiece with her Self-Portrait in Green. In it she explores how our private fears and insecurities can distort what we believe to be real and can cause us to sabotage our intimate relationships.. . .

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The Madmen of Benghazi
The Madmen of Benghazi by Gerard de Villiers
Reviewed by P. T. Smith

Reading a genre book—whether fantasy, science fiction, crime, thriller, etc.—which begins to seem excessively, stereotypically bad, I have to make sure to ask myself: is this parodying the flaws of the genre? Usually, this questioning takes its time coming. In. . .

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The Four Corners of Palermo
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The Sicilian Mafia has always been a rich subject for sensational crime fiction. The Godfather, Goodfellas, and The Sopranos worked the mob’s bloody corpses and family feuds to both entertainment and artistic value. Giuseppe di Piazza’s debut novel attempts this,. . .

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Antoine Volodine’s vast project (40 plus novels) of what he calls the post-exotic remains mostly untranslated, so for many of us, understanding it remains touched with mystery, whispers from those “who know,” and guesswork. That’s not to say that, were. . .

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My Brilliant Friend
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It hasn’t quite neared the pitch of the waiting-in-line-at-midnight Harry Potter days, but in small bookstores and reading circles of New York City, an aura has attended the novelist Elena Ferrante and her works. One part curiosity (Who is she?),. . .

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