OK, so, tomorrow at 10am sharp (or as sharp as I can make it), we’ll be announcing the 10 fiction finalists for this year’s BTBA, while over at the Poetry Foundation’s blog the 6 poetry finalists will be revealed.
As of this moment, I know which books made the poetry list, but have NO IDEA what’s on the fiction shortlist. Which means that it’s a good time to speculate wildly . . .
Having read a few more of these books since the list was originally released, I’m in a slightly better position to guess as to which titles will be finalists. But mind you, I don’t know shit—this list below is just to get the conversation started.
Satantango by László Krasznahorkai, translated from the Hungarian by George Szirtes (New Directions; Hungary)
Maidenhair by Mikhail Shishkin, translated from the Russian by Marian Schwartz (Open Letter Books; Russia)
My Struggle: Book One by Karl Knausgaard, translated from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett (Archipelago Books; Norway)
Traveler of the Century by Andrés Neuman, translated from the Spanish by Nick Caistor and Lorenza Garcia (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux; Argentina)
The Map and the Territory by Michel Houellebecq, translated from the French by Gavin Bowd (Knopf; France)
The Colonel by Mahmoud Dowlatabadi, translated from the Persian by Tom Patterdale (Melville House; Iran)
Autoportrait by Edouard Levé, translated from the French by Lorin Stein (Dalkey Archive Press; France)
With the Animals by Noëlle Revaz, translated from the French by Donald W. Wilson (Dalkey Archive Press; Switzerland)
Joseph Walser’s Machine by Gonçalo M. Tavares, translated from the Portuguese by Rhett McNeil (Dalkey Archive Press; Portugal)
The Hunger Angel by Herta Müller, translated from the German by Philip Boehm (Metropolitan Books; Romania)
What do you think? Any books you really want to make the shortlist?
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. . .
There are plenty of reasons you can fail to find the rhythm of a book. Sometimes it’s a matter of discarding initial assumptions or impressions, sometimes of resetting oneself. Zigmunds Skujiņš’s Flesh-Coloured Dominoes was a defining experience in the necessity. . .
In a culture that privileges prose, reviewing poetry is fairly pointless. And I’ve long since stopped caring about what the world reads and dropped the crusade to get Americans to read more poems. Part of the fault, as I’ve suggested. . .
I would like to pose the argument that it is rare for one to ever come across a truly passive protagonist in a novel. The protagonist (perhaps) of Three Light-Years, Claudio Viberti, is just that—a shy internist who lives in. . .
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. . .
We all know Paris, or at least we think we know it. The Eiffel Tower. The Latin Quarter. The Champs-Élysées. The touristy stuff. In Dominique Fabre’s novel, Guys Like Me, we’re shown a different side of Paris: a gray, decaying. . .
One hundred pages into Birth of a Bridge, the prize-winning novel from French writer Maylis de Kerangal, the narrator describes how starting in November, birds come to nest in the wetlands of the fictional city of Coca, California, for three. . .
At 30, the Mexican writer Valeria Luiselli is already gathering her rosebuds. Faces in the Crowd, her poised debut novel, was published by Coffee House Press, along with her Brodsky-infused essay collection, Sidewalks. The essays stand as a theoretical map. . .
Fantomas Versus the Multinational Vampires: An Attainable Utopia (narrated by Julio Cortázar) is, not disappointingly, as wild a book as its title suggests. It is a half-novella half-graphic novel story about . . . what, exactly? A European tribunal, Latin. . .
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.. . .