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Interview with Damion Searls about Anniversaries [Part II]

I'm on a self-imposed hiatus from writing posts for this site until I finish two other articles for other publications (almost done!), but I am lifting this restriction for one post to share the next set of answers from Damion Searls in my (probably never-ending) interview with him about Uwe Johnson's Anniversaries.  To ...

Interview with Michael Reynolds about Europa’s Nonfiction Line

Thanks to AWP I'm a few days behind in my April posts, but as will be explained in full tomorrow, this month's main focus is going to be on nonfiction in translation. Our nonfiction titles are 30% off all month (use NONFICTION at checkout), and I'll be writing a lot about recent nonfiction titles, ...

Interview with Damion Searls about Anniversaries [Part I]

Assuming that I'll be reading Anniversaries slowly but surely over the next four months, I thought it would be fun to talk to translator Damion Searls about the book along the way. If all goes according to plan, these monthly installments will develop into a rich conversation about the book, translation issues, and much ...

Why Are Ebooks [Let’s Talk about Catalonia]

Just like with last week's post, I want to kick off this mini-survey of a couple Catalan titles with a chart of the presses who have brought out the most Catalan translations (according to the Translation Database): My first response is: Thank god I finally realized how easy it is to change the color on these charts! I ...

Books about Death [BTBA 2019]

Today's Best Translated Book Award post is from George Carroll, retired publisher rep living in Seattle, rooting for the Sounders, and kicking ass in our Fantasy Premier League league.  In his preface to Best European Fiction 2016, Jon Fosse wrote “But crime fiction is not literature; it is the opposite of it . . . for ...

Two Month Review: #5.02: FOX by Ugresic (“A Story about How Stories Come to Be Written”)

This week's podcast is pretty fast and loose, with Fortnite disruptions, embarrassing pronunciations, lots of ribbing, and a deep dive into the various games going on in Part I of Dubravka Ugresic's Fox, "A Story about How Stories Come to Be Written." Starting from Pilnyak's story of the same name, this section revolves ...

Some Clues About the BTBA Fiction Finalists

Patrick Smith deserves all the credit for coming up with these clues about which books made the shortlist for fiction for this year's Best Translated Book Awards. As you may already know, the BTBA finalists will be officially unveiled tomorrow, Tuesday, May 15th at 10am Eastern over at The Millions. (And the winners will ...

Death by Poetry and The Lies about Me

I have a litany of reasons for why I’m combining a few posts here and writing a shorter, more condensed, straightforward post than most of the others. Baby (always an excuse), other obligations—such as the Best Translated Book Award longlists announcement and a bachelor party in which “what happens in Boiceville, stays ...

About

Three Percent launched in the summer of 2007 with the lofty goal of becoming a destination for readers, editors, and translators interested in finding out about modern and contemporary international literature. The motivating force behind the website is the view that reading literature from other countries is vital to ...

Thinking About Book Reviews

Clarice Lispector is undoubtedly one of the great writers of the past century. Her recent rediscovery—sparked off by the reissuing of The Hour of the Star in Ben Moser’s new translation—is definitely merited, and will hopefully usher in a time in which any number of very deserving female authors from the ...

Interview with Allison M. Charette about "Beyond the Rice Fields" by Naivo

This semester, in my World Literature & Translation class, we’re reading twelve translations from 2017-18 and talking with almost all the translators, including Allison M. Charette, who is responsible for the publication in English of Naivo’s Beyond the Rice Fields. Over the past few weeks, we conducted this ...

Third Season of the "Two Month Review" is All About Mercè Rodoreda

The voting is in and . . . Well, The Physics of Sorrow and Maidenhair ended up with the most votes. That said, we’re not going to do those books next. Instead, since we haven’t featured any books by women yet—and since Catalan is undergoing some serious shit right now—we’re going to start by ...

Two Month Review #7: "A Few Things You Happen to Think About When All You Want Is to Think About Nothing" (The Invented Part, Pages 231-300)

This week, Jonathan Lethem (Motherless Brooklyn, Chronic City) joins Chad and Brian to talk about The Writer’s trip to a hospital, where he assumes something horrible is happening, which is countered by a gushing forth of new story ideas. Jonathan tells of his own experience coming up with one of his most famous books ...

Five New Clues about the 2017 BTBA Fiction Longlist [Day Two]

Following on yesterday’s post about the upcoming Best Transated Book Award longlist announcement, I thought I’d give you some more clues, all centering around “new” additions to the “BTBA family.” 1) There are five presses with a book on the BTBA longlist for the first time ever; 2) ...

Quick Clues about the BTBA Finalists

I wanted to write a lot more about this, but I’m running out of time . . . Here are a few clues about the fiction and poetry finalists for the 2016 Best Translated Book Awards. The shortlists will be officially unveiled tomorrow morning (Tuesday, April 19th) at 10am over at The Millions. Fiction ...

Let's Talk about Lists

If you’ve been reading this blog for more than a few months, you’ve probably come across one rant or another about listicles and lists in general. Aside from the ones on the ROC in Your Mouth blog I think most of these things are pretty stupid. Actually, let me refine that a bit: “Best of” lists can ...

An Article about a Book I'm Working On [100 Best Translations of the Century]

I’ve made reference to this a few different times—in a couple posts, on the podcast—but this article in today’s Frankfurt Show Daily (also available as a PDF) is the first official mention of the book that I’m writing with Stephen Sparks of Green Apple Books. (Granted, we don’t have a ...

Books (In Translation) About Books [BTBA 2016]

This week’s Best Translated Book Award post is from Amanda Nelson, managing editor of Book Riot. For more information on the BTBA, “like” our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter. And check back here each week for a new post by one of the judges. Jose Alberto Gutierrez is a garbage truck driver in ...

Who We Talk About When We Talk About Translation: The Bloggers

Who We Talk About When We Talk About Translation: The Bloggers* Bloggers increasingly lead in reviewing international literature, as column inches for book reviews in traditional outlets have shrunk. Prominent bloggers discuss their role and how it’s evolving. Where: Albertine Books, 972 Fifth Avenue (at 79th ...

Who We Talk About When We Talk About Translation: Women's Voices

Who We Talk About When We Talk About Translation: Women’s Voices Where are the women authors in translation? A panel of experts—writers, translators, editors—will consider the gender bias in literary translations published in the United States. Where: Albertine Books, 972 Fifth Avenue (at 79th Street), New ...

Why This Book Should Win: Q&A with Annelise Finegan Wasmoen about The Last Lover

Annelise Finegan Wasmoen is an editor and a literary translator. She is pursuing a PhD in Comparative Literature at Washington University in St. Louis. Daniel Medin teaches at the American University of Paris, where he helps direct the Center for Writers and Translators and is Associate Series Editor of The Cahiers ...

Why This Book Should Win: BTBA Judge Daniel Medin Q&A with John Keene about Letters from a Seducer

John Keene is the author of Annotations, and Counternarratives, both published by New Directions, as well as several other works, including the poetry collection Seismosis, with artist Christopher Stackhouse, and a translation of Brazilian author Hilda Hilst’s novel Letters from a Seducer. Daniel Medin teaches at the ...

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Three Percent #76: All about László

Inspired by Bromance Will’s blog, this podcast is all about how New Directions came to publish László Krasznahorkai and how they stuck with him—a situation that resulted in back-to-back Best Translated Book Award victories. Speaking of, here’s a picture of all three of us from the BTBA party on May ...

Interview with Kazim Ali and Libby Murphy about Duras's "L'Amour"

Over at the Fiction Writers Review, Jennifer Solheim has posted a great interview with the two translators of Duras’s L’Amour, which just pubbed this past Tuesday. You can read the whole thing here, but here are a few highlights. Jennifer Solheim: In your beautiful introduction, Kazim, you write, ...

"The Black Spider" by Jeremias Gotthelf [Books I'm Excited About]

I think it was two summers ago that I was last in Chicago for the annual Goethe Institut Helen and Kurt Wolff Translation Prize Extravaganza. (I love these gatherings. The award ceremony, the people involved with German literature, the panels, etc. It always seems to be a beautiful couple days weather-wise as well, which ...

Last Minute Reminder about PEN Literary Awards

Just a reminder for everyone out there that you have a few more days to submit to the 2013 PEN Literary Awards. From the email I just received: Good news: there’s still time to submit to 2013 PEN awards before the deadline this Friday, February 1, 2013. If you haven’t already, submit today! Our awards ...

In Conversation about Queneau's "Exercises in Style"

One of the coolest releases of the winter has to be the new version of Raymond Queneau’s Exercises in Style—the classic Oulipian text in which Queneau tells and retells the same story of two men who get on a bus and have a minor row, ending with one telling the other to replace a button on his overcoat. The ...

Intriguing Questions about Translation and Culture

Over at today’s Publishing Perspectives, there’s an interesting piece by translator Burton Pike about “Cultural Homogeneity and the Future of Literary Translation.” This essay was written in preparation for a German Book Office panel discussion, and as such, it focuses more on bringing up issues and ...

Quick Note about BTBA Poetry

Just a FYI for all poets, poetry publishers, and translators: We’re in the process of nailing down the last judge for this year’s BTBA Poetry committee, after which time (probably early next week), I’ll post an announcement with everyone’s mailing address, etc. Just so you know, the deadline for ...

More about Mo Yan's "POW!"

One of the things that may have gotten buried in all the articles about Mo Yan receiving this year’s Nobel Prize for Literature is the fact that Seagull Books is bringing out his next work in English translation—POW!, which sounds pretty wild, and has been compared to the works of Witold Gombrowicz and Javok ...

Latest Review: "The Truth about Marie" by Jean-Philippe Toussaint

The latest addition to our Reviews Section is a piece by Katie Assef on Jean-Philippe Toussaint’s The Truth about Marie, translated from the French by Matthew B. Smith and available from Dalkey Archive Press. Katie Assef is another of Susan Bernofsky’s students who very kindly offered to write reviews for Three ...

The Truth about Marie

In The Truth about Marie, Belgian writer Jean-Philippe Toussaint takes us on a journey from Paris to Tokyo, with a sensuous detour to the island of Elba. It’s a book that begins with a thunderstorm and ends in massive forest fires, a love story examined through the lens of a tumultuous breakup. When the novel opens, Marie ...

"The Truth about Marie" by Jean-Philippe Toussaint [25 Days of the BTBA]

As with years past, we’re going to spend the next four weeks highlighting the rest of the 25 titles on the BTBA fiction longlist. We’ll have a variety of guests writing these posts, all of which are centered around the question of “Why This Book Should Win.” Hopefully these are funny, accidental, ...

About Time

From this PW piece on BookExpo America and changes to the show: Reed is already looking to bigger changes in 2013. In a blog post yesterday Rosato discussed a move to B2C, enabling publishers to connect directly with consumers. The show would move to Thursday to Saturday with the general public invited to attend author ...

Ruth Franklin on Five Books She Wished She Had Written About

Over at The New Republic Ruth Franklin (who is working on a biography of Shirley Jackson, which should be amazing) has a piece detailing the five books that came out in 2011 that she wishes she had reviewed. It’s a great list that includes Teju Cole’s Open City (“Reminiscent of the works of W.G. Sebald, ...

One Interesting Translation Person Talking About Another

Last Sunday’s New York Times Book Review had a few interesting pieces, including Adam Thirlwell’s review of David Bellos’s new book Is That a Fish in Your Ear?, which is, by far, one of the best reviews I’ve read about this title. That’s not all that surprising, since Thirlwell is such an ...

"There Are Things I Want You to Know" About Stieg Larsson and Me

I will admit, right off the bat, that I have never read anything by Stieg Larsson. Not a word, not a page, not even the back of a book cover. Yes, I am aware of the existence of the Millennium Trilogy, with the movies and the books and the commercials and whatnot, and I have perhaps eavesdropped on a few hushed, excited ...

Latest Review: "'There Are Things I Want You to Know' About Stieg and Me" by Eva Gabrielsson

The latest addition to our Reviews Section is a piece by Julianna Romanazzi on the punctuation-confused “There Are Things I Want You to Know” About Stieg and Me by Eva Gabrielsson, translated by Linda Coverdale and published by Seven Stories. Julianna’s been posting here for the past few months during her ...

Nabokov and Books about Nabokov

Although I haven’t read all of his works, Vladimir Nabokov is one of my personal favorite writers. I love Pale Fire and Lolita, but also like the less tricksy novels, like Laughter in the Dark. (Which was on Lost!) And for the past year(s) I’ve been planning on reading The Gift and Ada, or Ardor, both of which ...

I Can't Keep Writing Posts about Cutting You Up

So the last time I went to BookExpo America, I ended up writing a five-part series that was basically about how everything sucked, the publishing industry was imploding, BEA’s focus was fuzzy at best, etc., etc. Well, last week BEA took place in the fairly dysfunctional Jacob Javits Center in NY and the mood was . . ...

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Three Percent #2: So, about that revolution . . .

As you may have noticed, last week, we launched a new Three Percent podcast featuring myself and Tom Roberge of New Directions. Our goal with this is to talk every week about books, events, some industry stuff, and so on. Hopefully these will be around 20 minutes long (we both talk a lot) and will provide a nice preview of ...

PEN: Who Tells the Story? Children’s Book Writers Talk About Voice

Where: Greenwich House Music School, Renee Weiler Concert Hall, 46 Barrow St., New York City Must the writer get inside the head of the child in order to find an authentic voice for a young character? Or does the authentic voice come from someplace else? Three distinguished writers share ideas about how their lives shape ...

Don't Forget to Tweet about Granta

As mentioned yesterday, this morning we’re having a special “Twitter Party” regarding Granta‘s special issue featuring the “Best of Young Spanish-Language Novelists.” So fire up your TweetDeck and join us . . . At this moment, I’m probably trying to cram a dozen hyperbolic statements ...

And a Reminder about Submitting Books for the BTBA

Following up on the earlier post about the updated Translation Databases, I just wanted to encourage all translators, authors, and publishers to send copies of your eligible translations to all the Best Translated Book Award judges to ensure that all these titles are considered for this year’s awards. All original ...

And While We're Talking about England . . . [New Translation Prize]

As seems to be the case always and everywhere these days, I’m way behind with e-mails, announcements, blog posts, etc. So you may already have heard about this, but a couple Fridays ago English PEN announced that Putin’s Russia by Anna Politkovskaya, translated from the Russian by Arch Tait, is the winning title ...

OR Books & A Bit about TOC

OK, I’m bloody exhausted. There’s only so many meetings, parties, dinners, jokes, and seven-hour plane rides one can take before totally crashing. I’ve been traveling since October 1st—after spending a late night out with Paul Auster on the 30th, which seems like maybe two months ago—so forgive ...

And While We're Talking about PEN . . .

As if my inbox wasn’t jacked enough—trips to NY, Frankfurt prep, etc., and etc.—PEN is pouring on the press releases . . . Last night they announced the winners of this year’s Literary Awards. You can find them all here, but below are a few notable ones: PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in ...

A Rational Discussion about Amazon

Over at The New Republic, Ruth Franklin has one of the most rational pieces on Amazon.com that I’ve seen in a long while. She wrote this in response to Colin Robinson’s The Trouble with Amazon article that appeared in a recent issue of The Nation. (And which I haven’t read, because after subscribing to The ...

Where People Talk about Books

The other week, the first Future of Reading conference took place at the Rochester Institute of Technology. It was a fantastic few days, very interesting, with a range of great speakers. Rather than summarize each panel or person, I want to try and explore a few of the topics that came up. A lot of these posts will be simply ...

What We Talk about When We Talk about the Future of Reading

The other week, the first Future of Reading conference took place at the Rochester Institute of Technology. It was a fantastic few days, very interesting, with a range of great speakers. Rather than summarize each panel or person, I want to try and explore a few of the topics that came up. A lot of these posts will be simply ...

A Final Post about Lost

So the other week when I joked about how Lexiophiles referred to Three Percent as containing “random, unrelated informational debris”? Well, this post sort of proves their point . . . At 2:30am this morning, I finished what I think will be the last real piece that I’ll ever write about Lost. (Not counting ...

Let's Talk about Amazon for a Minute

I’ve been meaning to write about The AmazonCrossing announcement all week, but it’s taken a few days of Torino detox to partially regain my ability to put words into some sort of meaningful order. (Emphasis on “partially” . . . my mind is still unfurling, but hopefully by the time I’m drowning in ...

A Tipsy Post about Drunken Literature [Pilch's "A Thousand Peaceful Cities"]

This was written late last night and set aside for, um, proofing. For the sake of accuracy, one should never drink while proofreading. But in the case of Jerzy Pilch, it just feels right . . . After all, The Mighty Angel is—despite all of the narrator’s attempts to artfully beautify this away with words and ...

Little Video about Open Letter

The other week, media strategist David Henderson came to the University of Rochester to give us some media training on how best to present yourself on TV, how to buy a second to think of a good answer to a tricky question, how to speak slowly, etc., etc. (And no, that last one didn’t stick. At least not for ...

Douglas Rushkoff's Optimism about the Book Industry

PW‘s Soapbox pieces can be a bit hit-or-miss, but the one this week from Douglas Rushkoff (author of several books, including Life, Inc., which, along with Gaddis’s JR, should be mandatory reading for all business school students) is pretty fantastic. There’s nothing particularly new in Rushkoff’s ...

One More Thing about V-Books . . .

Following up on yesterday’s rant about v-books, from what we can find, Amazon is the exclusive retailer for these videos. I’ll bet that’ll go over well. ...

Some Good News about Reading from the NEA

This past Monday, the National Endowment for the Arts released some promising findings about the reading habits of Americans, showing that for the first time in 25 years, the percentage of adults reading literature increased over the previous study. (Studies have been done five times since 1982, which is why this phrasing is ...

An Echo of My Post about Schuler

From Charlotte Higgins’s piece in The Guardian about shopping in her local Borders: Walk in and you are bombarded with the visual cacophony of three-for-two offers, TV chefs and Parky’s biography. Of course they have a wide selection of books, but the place is such a jungle – Aldi is surely more of a ...

More about the End of Book Culture as We Know It

I realize this is an old article (I think I’ll be catching up for days . . .), but this piece in the Independent is strange, conventional, and interesting all at once. Can intelligent literature survive in the digital age? starts with the question of how the internet age is changing the way we read, with Nicholas ...

Kharms short stories about Pushkin

Someone has collected some short (very short) stories that Daniil Kharms wrote and put them online, including some about Pushkin: 1. Pushkin was a poet and was always writing something. Once Zhukovsky caught him at his writing and exclaimed loudly: – You’re not half a scribbler! From then on Pushkin ...

Latest Review: Night Wraps the Sky: Writings By and About Mayakovsky

Our latest review is by Margarita Shalina, who reviews a collection of writings by and about Vladimir Mayakovsky, Night Wraps the Sky, which was edited by Michael Almereyda. ...

Night Wraps the Sky: Writings By and About Mayakovsky

“A Mayakovsky Bestiary” Maria – Don’t you want me? You don’t want me! “A Cloud in Pants” (p. 103), Vladimir Mayakovsky Big man with a big voice, Futurist, prisoner in solitary confinement, graphic designer, propagandist, early Soviet film star, Poet, suicide. There is no ...

Insert Your Own Joke/Complaint About Government Spending Here

According to PW: President Bush’s proposed 2009 budget eliminates all the funding for Reading Is Fundamental’s book distribution program that has, since 1966, provided more than 325 million books to more than 30 million underprivileged children. “With 13 million children living in poverty in this country, ...

Whereabouts Press

Chad’s thorough investigation of the economics of publishing translations all over the world based on the PEN/Ramon Llull To Be Or Not To Be Translated report has left me amazed that people bother to translate books, since the business is so unreliable and financially risky. Highly deserving literary voices are passed over ...

More from Lawrence Venuti about Literature in Translation

A couple weeks ago we linked to Lawrence Venuti’s article on Words Without Borders about the business of publishing translations. It’s a very interesting piece that was written for a panel on the To Be Translated or Not To Be report and puts forth a somewhat provocative stance on what should be published in ...

Lots of Love for Lost and a Little Secret about Episode 4

So, the highly-anticipated fourth season of Lost premieres tomorrow night, picking up where last season and its mind-blowing flash forward left off. And I for one can’t wait. (Especially for episode 4 . . . feel free to scroll to the bottom if you want to know why.) I unabashedly love Lost, and over the past few years ...

I Think Today Is All About Esposito and Barcelona

Following on the Monzo review, Conversational Reading has an interesting Friday Column by Barcelona author Neus Arques called “On Translations or the Pursuit of the Domino Effect.” Arques recently published her first novel, and discussing the long, winding road to trying to get her book published in ...

One Last Post about Karl Pohrt in China

In reference to Karl’s earlier posts re: the Beijing Book Fair, here’s a picture of him with Allison Hill in front of the entrance to the Forbidden ...

And While We're Talking about Scott Esposito

Here’s a link to his recommendation of Enrique Vila-Matas’s Moreno’s Malady. In these seemingly anti-literary times, authors tend to do all they can to support literature; Spanish novelist Enrique Vila-Matas (pictured above) is the first I’ve seen to treat it like a disease. That’s not to ...

On the Media's Episode about Books

I made a snarky mention of this yesterday, but now that I’ve listened to the entire program, I have to say, the recent episode of On the Media is actually a really solid overview of publishing issues. The program primarily focuses on business issues as they relate to the emergence of new media, so there’s a bit ...

Arguments about the Translation Quality of War and Peace

This post on Languagehat.com is fascinating, especially in the context of yesterday’s post on the way reviewers review translations. Over the past few weeks, there’s been an ongoing discussion of the new Pevear and Volokhonsky translation of War and Peace in the i>NY Times Reading Room. According to ...

Translation Buzz — Finally, a Panel about Books

When I was out in Iowa with Dedi Felman from Words Without Borders, we talked about how rare it was to have a panel about translations in which people actually talked about the books they’re reading. Usually panelists wax on and on about “obstacles” and “problems” and about “losing ...

PW Reviews — More about Priorities

Publishers Weekly is one of my favorite review sources, providing a slew of brief, intelligent reviews every week. I especially like the fact that they cover a higher percentage of independent, small press, and university presses than most newspapers or magazines. In this week’s reviews there’s a nice write-up ...

Vs. When a Publisher Talks about Books

It’s only available online in German at a cost of .50 Euro, but Der Spiegel recently interviewed Diogenes publisher Daniel Keel about his life’s work, the state of literary publishing, etc. Diogenes just sent me a fully-translated version, which is absolutely fascinating. I can’t find a copy of this ...

When a Publisher Talks about Sales . . .

Related to my comment yesterday that publishers love to exaggerate sales figures, comes this little nugget about Booker Prize winner Anne Enright: The latest British figures from Nielsen BookScan show that, since it was published in May, only 3,306 copies have been sold in hardback, with a further 381 in paperback. ...

The Neverending Debate about the E-Book

Joe Wikert has an interesting post today about the iPhone, its price drop, and the way in which people get jacked about Apple’s “revolutions” in ways that they never do about eReaders. Even those of us who aren’t Apple fans marvel when Steve Jobs announces the next big thing; it’s guaranteed ...

Another Damn Novel about the Spanish Civil War!

Another Damn Novel about the Spanish Civil War! provides an interesting take on the nature of writing and revision. On its most immediate level, Another Damn Novel is simply a re-release of Isaac Rosa’s first novel The Bad Memory, which was published when the author was just twenty-five. Flawed, yet engaging—at least ...

What do you say about something like this?

The poet and novelist Taslima Nasrin has been attacked at the launch of her book Shodh (Getting Even) in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Reports suggest that a crowd of between 20 and 100 protesters, led by three local politicians (MLAs) belonging to the Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) party, burst into the ...

Little Bit of Breaking News about Lost

Since almost every brilliant book person I know is a huge fan of Lost, and since there isn’t a more literary show out there, I figure I’m justifying in spreading the news that Michael (Walt’s father, the one who left the island) will be back in Season 4. (Via Entertainment Weekly) And before we all get too ...

TMR 8.07: CoDex 1962 (Pages 257-302)

This week's episode covers a lot of ground, from disturbing American racism circa 1917 to codswallop; from werewolves to parliamentary fights, from ghosts to crime/heist narratives. It's a really fun episode that has a good take on this section of the book mixed with some really fun segues and digressions. The next episode ...

Three Percent #162: I Am a Wild Rose

Chad and Tom are joined by Mark Haber from Brazos Bookstore and author of the forthcoming Reinhardt's Garden (October 1, Coffee House Press). They talk a bit about Translation Bread Loaf (two thumbs up) and about a special poster for anyone who buys the First 100 from Open Letter, before trying their best to breakdown a ...

The Five Tools, Part II: Translators [Let’s Praise More of My Friends]

. . .  poor translations, he asserted, were the worst crimes an academic or a writer could commit, and a translator shouldn't be allowed to call themselves a translator until their translation had been read by hundreds of scholars and for hundreds of years, so that, in short, a translator would never know if they were a ...

The Five Tools, Part I: Authors [Let’s Praise My Friends]

One of the most entertaining parts of my past three weeks of travel was the discovery that Norwegians refer to first-time authors as “debutants.” Which, OK, at first, is weird. The first time someone said it aloud, “she’s a debutant author,” I too had the urge to correct them. But then, like any great joke that's ...

TMR 8.06: CoDex 1962 (Pages 199-256)

Chad and Brian break down the next few chapters of "Iceland's Thousand Years" by Sjón, which really set the plot in motion. They also talk about water, what it means to be an Icelander, how "bacon-eater" is an insult, Danes in general, myth-making, and much more. The next episode will focus on pages 257-302 (all in the ...

Three Percent #161: Will a French Book Win the BTBA?

Chad and Tom took some time off on Memorial Day to bring you this little podcast about the Best Translated Book Award finalists (winner will be announced at 5pm on 5/29 at BEA/NYRF, and there will be an informal afterparty at The Brooklyneer on Houston starting at 7), about the Man Booker International winner, about the ...

TMR 8.05: CoDex 1962 (Pages 156-198)

Even without an expert to guide them, Chad and Brian dissect the end of the first volume of CoDex 1962, talking golems and tenderness, speculating about the film behind the narrator's eyes, evaluating origin myths (and their apocalyptic counterparts), and praising the overall narrative structure of "Thine Eyes Did See My ...

Four Attempts at Approaches [Drawn & Quarterly]

This post comes to you thanks to a few different starting points: a box of translated graphic novels that Drawn & Quarterly sent me a couple of weeks ago, the fact that Janet Hong translated one of them (see last week’s interview), the fact that I don’t have time this month to read a ton of novels for these weekly ...

Carlos Labbé “Ofri Afro”

One of the many very cool things about Carlos Labbé (our "Author of the Month!" use LABBE at checkout for 30% off all his books) is that he's not only a fascinating writer--he's also a very interesting musician. You can hear all of his music on Soundcloud and Spotify, but I wanted to take a post just to push his latest ...

Spiritual Choreographies [Excerpt]

As mentioned last week, in celebration of the imminent release of Carlos Labbé's Spiritual Choreographies, we decided to make Carlos our "Author of the Month." From now until June 1st, you can use the code LABBE at checkout to get 30% off any and all of his books. (Including ePub versions. And preorders.) And to try and ...

TMR 8.04: CoDex 1962 (Pages 110-155)

Kári Tulinius joins Chad and Brian this week and provides some incredibly valuable insight into the translation itself, connections to Iceland and to other writings, and much much more. This is one of the most difficult parts of the book to read, given the horrific actions of one of the characters, but also points toward ...

“Melville: A Novel” by Jean Giono

Melville by Jean Giono Translated from the French by Paul Eprile 108 pgs. | pb | 9781681371375 | $14.00 NYRB Review by Brendan Riley   In The Books in My Life (1952), Henry Miller, devoting an entire chapter to French writer Jean Giono (1895-1970), boasts about spending “several years. . . . preaching the ...

Three Percent #160: Double Controversy

One of the calmest podcasts to date featuring two controversial topics: the new Open Letter cover design, and the side-effects of suddenly doubling (or quadrupling) the number of translations published every year. In terms of recommendations, this week Chad is all about the completely wild Bred from the Eyes of a Wolf by ...

Dezafi [Why This Book Should Win]

Check in daily for new Why This Book Should Win posts covering all thirty-five titles longlisted for the 2019 Best Translated Book Awards.  P.T. Smith reads, writes, and lives in Vermont. Dezafi by Frankétienne, translated from the French by Asselin Charles (Haiti, University of Virginia) Every year, the BTBA ...

Transparent City [Why This Book Should Win]

Check in daily for new Why This Book Should Win posts covering all thirty-five titles longlisted for the 2019 Best Translated Book Awards.  Tobias Carroll is the managing editor of Vol.1 Brooklyn and the author of the books Reel and Transitory. He writes the Watchlist column for Words Without Borders. Transparent ...

Negative Space [Why This Book Should Win]

Check in daily for new Why This Book Should Win posts covering all thirty-five titles longlisted for the 2019 Best Translated Book Awards.  Tess Lewis is a writer and translator from French and German. She is co-chair of the PEN America Translation Committee and serves as an Advisory Editor for the Hudson Review. Her ...

the easiness and the loneliness [Why This Book Should Win]

Check in daily for new Why This Book Should Win posts covering all thirty-five titles longlisted for the 2019 Best Translated Book Awards.  Laura Marris is a writer and translator. Her poems and translations have appeared in The Yale Review, The Brooklyn Rail,The Cortland Review, The Volta, Asymptote, and elsewhere. ...

Pretty Things [Why This Book Should Win]

Check in daily for new Why This Book Should Win posts covering all thirty-five titles longlisted for the 2019 Best Translated Book Awards.  Giselle Robledo is a reader trying to infiltrate the book reviewer world. You can find her on Twitter at @Objetpetit_a_. Pretty Things by Virginie Despentes, translated from ...

Interview with Janet Hong [Graphic Novels in Translation]

Off to a bit of a slow start here, but this month's focus on Three Percent is going to be graphic novels in translation. I'll have a post up on Monday about some Drawn & Quarterly titles I've been reading, then one on NYRB Comics later in the month. Also hoping to have another interview or two, but I'll keep those to ...

Carlos Labbé [Author of the Month]

In celebration of the release of Carlos Labbé's Spiritual Choreographies later this month--and because of a little surprise we'll unveil soon enough--we decided to make Carlos our "Author of the Month." From now until June 1st, you can use the code LABBE at checkout to get 30% off any and all of his books. (Including ePub ...

Disoriental [Why This Book Should Win]

Check in daily for new Why This Book Should Win posts covering all thirty-five titles longlisted for the 2019 Best Translated Book Awards.  James Crossley has stood behind the counter of one independent bookstore or another for more than fifteen years and is currently the manager of brand-new Madison Books in Seattle. ...

Bride and Groom [Why This Book Should Win]

Check in daily for new Why This Book Should Win posts covering all thirty-five titles longlisted for the 2019 Best Translated Book Awards.  Ruchama Johnston-Bloom, who writes about modern Jewish thought and Orientalism. She has a PhD in the History of Judaism from the University of Chicago and is the Associate Director of ...

TMR 8.03: CoDex 1962 (Pages 58-109)

Chad's just back from a 7 hour train ride. Brian is inebriated. Tom Flynn is . . . Tom Flynn? It's a classic episode of the Two Month Review about horny avenging angels, chamber pot dumps, how many books actually last for a hundred years, the name "Karl," whatever Bumble is, and much more. A fun, loose podcast about a ...

People in the Room [Why This Book Should Win]

Check in daily for new Why This Book Should Win posts covering all thirty-five titles longlisted for the 2019 Best Translated Book Awards.  Tom Flynn is the manager/buyer for Volumes Bookcafe (@volumesbooks on all social sites) in Chicago. He can often be found interrupting others' work in order to make them read a ...

Congo Inc.: Bismarck’s Testament [Why This Book Should Win]

Check in daily for new Why This Book Should Win posts covering all thirty-five titles longlisted for the 2019 Best Translated Book Awards.  Noah M. Mintz is a translator, a former bookseller, and a PhD student at Columbia University. Congo Inc.: Bismarck’s Testament by In Koli Jean Bofane, translated from the ...

Architecture of Dispersed Life: Selected Poetry [Why This Book Should Win]

Check in daily for new Why This Book Should Win posts covering all thirty-five titles longlisted for the 2019 Best Translated Book Awards.  Aditi Machado is the author of Some Beheadings and the translator of Farid Tali’s Prosopopoeia. She is the former poetry editor at Asymptote and the visiting poet-in-residence ...

TMR 8.02: CoDex 1962 (Pages 1-57)

This is a special episode of the Two Month Review featuring Chad's "World Literature & Translation" class, who read CoDex 1962 (and ten other contemporary works in translation) this semester. They talk with Chad and Brian about interpretation and translation, how they judge whether a translation is good or bad, Werner ...

A Guesstimation of a Booklist Review-type Post

I alluded to this in an earlier post, but the main reason Three Percent has been light on this sort of content (and heavy on BTBA content, which is all stellar and worth checking out) isn't due to a lack of desire or interest, but a confluence of other events: deadlines for two pieces (one that should be available shortly, ...

“Dark Constellations” by Pola Oloixarac

Dark Constellations by Pola Oloixarac Translated from the Spanish by Roy Kesey 216 pgs. | pb | 9781616959234 | $22.00 Soho Press Reviewed by Grant Barber     Dark Constellations, the second novel in translation by the author of Savage Theories, continues the intriguing, complex narratives of science, ...

Öræfi: The Wasteland [Why This Book Should Win]

Check in daily for new Why This Book Should Win posts covering all thirty-five titles longlisted for the 2019 Best Translated Book Awards.  Keaton Patterson buys books for a living at Brazos Bookstore in Houston, Texas. Follow him on Twitter @Tex_Ulysses. Öræfi: The Wasteland by Ófeigur Sigurdsson, translated ...

Three Percent #159: Publishing in 2025?

Chad and Tom are back to talk about Independent Bookstore Day (and Free Comic Book Day and Record Store Day), the Indie Playlist Initiative, fascists storming Politics & Prose, Alex Shephard's Mueller Report article, how much money Stanford (the Duke of the West?) is wasting on their crappy football program instead of ...

After the Winter [Why This Book Should Win]

Check in daily for new Why This Book Should Win posts covering all thirty-five titles longlisted for the 2019 Best Translated Book Awards.  Rebecca Hussey is a community college English professor, a book reviewer, and a Book Riot contributor, where she writes a monthly round-up of indie press books, including many books ...

Love in the New Millennium [Why This Book Should Win]

Check in daily for new Why This Book Should Win posts covering all thirty-five titles longlisted for the 2019 Best Translated Book Awards.  Rachel Cordasco has a PhD in literary studies and currently works as a developmental editor. She also writes reviews for publications like World Literature Today and Strange Horizons ...

Convenience Store Woman [Why This Book Should Win]

Check in daily for new Why This Book Should Win posts covering all thirty-five titles longlisted for the 2019 Best Translated Book Awards.  Elijah Watson is a bookseller at A Room of One’s Own Bookstore. He can be found on Twitter @wavvymango. Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata, translated from the ...

TMR 8.01: CoDex 1962 (Introduction)

The new season of the Two Month Review kicks off with a pretty wide-ranging discussion. Sure, there is a bit about Sjón (pronounced SYOHN, which is not how Chad says it) and a few things about his earlier books and CoDex 1962, but a good part of this introductory episode is about patterns in narrative, cinematic realism, ...

CoDex 1962: Introduction

The podcast version of this will be live tomorrow morning, but in the meantime, you can always watch us talk about literature, Iceland, my silly theories, a mystery project, cinematic realism, and Game of Thrones.  Subscribe to our YouTube channel and you can catch every Two Month Review episode before the official ...

The Governesses [Why This Book Should Win]

Check in daily for new Why This Book Should Win posts covering all thirty-five titles longlisted for the 2019 Best Translated Book Awards.  Pierce Alquist has a MA in Publishing and Writing from Emerson College and currently works in publishing in Boston. She is also a freelance book critic, writer, and Book Riot ...

The Hospital [Why This Book Should Win]

Check in daily for new Why This Book Should Win posts covering all thirty-five titles longlisted for the 2019 Best Translated Book Awards.  Justin Walls is a bookseller with Powell’s Books in Portland, Oregon and can be found on Twitter @jaawlfins. The Hospital by Ahmed Bouanani, translated from the French by ...

The Man Between [Genre of the Month]

I've been very lax in writing about the Open Letter author/genre of the month for April: nonfiction. But, there are still a couple of weeks left to share some info about our previously published and forthcoming works of nonfiction. And, as always, you can get 30% any of these books by using NONFICTION at ...

Bricks and Mortar [Why This Book Should Win]

Check in daily for new Why This Book Should Win posts covering all thirty-five titles longlisted for the 2019 Best Translated Book Awards.  Tony Messenger is an Australian writer, critic and interviewer who has had works published in Overland Literary Journal, Southerly Journal, Mascara Literary Review, Burning House ...

Season Eight of the Two Month Review: CODEX 1962 by Sjón

If you're a long-time listener to the Two Month Review podcast, or even a part-time follower of the Open Letter twitter,  you've probably already heard that the next season of the podcast (it's eighth?!) is going to be all about Sjón's CoDex 1962.  "Spanning eras, continents, and genres, CoDex 1962—twenty years in ...

Moon Brow [Why This Book Should Win]

Check in daily for new Why This Book Should Win posts covering all thirty-five titles longlisted for the 2019 Best Translated Book Awards.  Tara Cheesman is a blogger turned freelance book critic, National Book Critics Circle member & 2018 Best Translated Book Award Fiction Judge. Her reviews can be found online at ...

Three Percent #158: 2019 Best Translated Book Award Longlists

Best Translated Book Award fiction judge Kasia Bartoszynska joins Chad and Tom to talk about the recently released longlists. After providing some insight into the committee's thinking and discussions (and confirming that Chad had no knowledge of the lists beforehand, while not 100% confirming that Chad isn't Adam ...

Seventeen [Why This Book Should Win]

Check in daily for new Why This Book Should Win posts covering all thirty-five titles longlisted for the 2019 Best Translated Book Awards.  Adam Hetherington is a reader and a BTBA judge. Seventeen by Hideo Yokoyama, translated from the Japanese by Louise Heal Kawai (Japan, FSG) In August of 1985, Japan Airlines ...

Three Percent BONUS EPISODE: Antonia Lloyd-Jones and Sean Bye on Polish Reportage

As part of Nonfiction in Translation Month at Three Percent, Polish translators Antonia Lloyd-Jones and Sean Bye came on the podcast to explain Polish Reportage, talk about some key figures and forthcoming books, and more or less introduce Open Letter's new nonfiction line. Some of the titles mentioned on this podcast ...

The 2019 Best Translated Book Award Longlists

Although it doesn't seem like everyone believes me--I've gotten a few emails about titles that didn't make the Best Translated Book Award longlists, and one promoting a conspiracy theory that I am Adam Hetherington—I had no clear idea which titles made the BTBA longlists until they appeared on The Millions yesterday ...

Who is the Chris Davis of Books? (AKA Does Literature Have “The Room”?)

Let's just get this out of the way, right here at the start: The nonfiction in translation data I've compiled for the PW Translation Database is incomplete. Which you can interpret, with no ill will, as "Chad has done a poor job with this research." To be fair, there is a two-year period in which the nonfiction data is ...

Meet the BTBA Judges!

Tomorrow morning at 10am the 2019 Best Translated Book Award longlists will be revealed over at The Millions. As a bit of a preview, the judges wanted to introduce themselves . . . Keaton Patterson, a lifelong Texan, has an MA in Literature from the University of Houston-Clear Lake. For the past five years, he has been ...

Mike Trout Floats All Boats

Let's start with what this post isn't going to be. It's not going to be a post about nonfiction in translation even though I declared, just yesterday, that this is "Nonfiction in Translation Month" at Three Percent. That's really going to kick off next week with a post about two true crime books in translation and a weird ...

Are These Clues? [BTBA 2019]

We are days away from finding out which titles made the 2019 BTBA longlist! In the meantime, here's a post from Katarzyna (Kasia) Bartoszyńska, an English professor at Monmouth College, a translator (from Polish to English), and a former bookseller at the Seminary Co-op Bookstore in Chicago. There are simply too many good ...

Three Percent #157: Post-Portland AWP

On this atypically subdued episode, Chad recounts some of his adventures in Portland at the AWP conference, and speculates about why this was his favorite one to date. Tom helps illuminate some of the mysteries behind IndieBound and what might be next for independent stores trying to capture some online sales. (And how this ...

Two Month Review #7.9: Radiant Terminus (Chapters 39-49/END)

Chad and Brian finish off Radiant Terminus and talk about possible interpretation of the ending, whether anyone came out of this book OK, the balance between humor and horror, written vs. oral culture, possible readings or approaches to the novel, and a desire for a "Post-Exotic" journal. They also revisit Volodine's ...

Blogging Like It’s 1967 [Anniversaries, Volume 1]

Tomorrow afternoon we'll run the first of several interviews with Damion Searls, translator of the first complete version of Anniversaries to appear in English. If things go according to plan, each month we'll dig deeper and deeper into this massive book, a twentieth-century masterpiece that weighs something ...

Three Percent #156: The Netflix of Titles

On this week's podcast, Chad and Tom talk laugh about how HarperVia conceives of itself, praise this year's National Book Award for Translation judges, give some spotty analysis of the Man Crankstart (?) Booker International longlist, the idea of an International Writers Hall of Fame (vote here), the one NCAA Basketball ...

BTBA-Eligible Books from Japan [BTBA 2019]

We're exactly 24 days away from finding out which titles are on the 2019 BTBA longlist! (It will be announced at The Millions, and I [Chad] won't know what's on it until everyone else finds out. I'm so excited! I love being completely in the dark about this.) If you're interested in joining the conversation about which books ...

“Ergo” by Jakov Lind [Excerpt]

Slowly and heavily, a hippopotamus rising from the Nile, he rose from the paper mountain, beat the nightmare of virginal lewdness out of his clothes and stood there, a squat man of sixty with short gray hair and swollen lips, crossing his hands over his forehead, and looked around him darkly. Have you been watching me again ...

“Landscape in Concrete” by Jakov Lind [Excerpt]

When you lose your way in the Ardennes, you’re lost. What use are plans and prayers. A landscape without faces is like air nobody breathes. A landscape in itself is nothing. The country through which German Sergeant Gauthier Bachmann was making his way on the second Monday before Easter was green but lifeless. [. . .] And ...

Joshua Cohen on Jakov Lind [Author of the Month]

Our featured author of the month is Jakov Lind, an author whose biography, as you'll read below, is absolutely fascinating. To celebrate his work, we're offering 30% off on Landscape in Concrete and Ergo all month—just use the code LIND at checkout.  Joshua Cohen (The Book of Numbers, Witz) wrote an amazing ...

Three Percent BONUS EPISODE: Interview with Edwin Frank of NYRB

Following a trip to India to speak at the Seagull School of Publishing, Edwin Frank sat down to talk about Uwe Johnson's Anniversaries and NYRB's overall editorial history, including surprise hits, books he wishes more people read, and much more. A brilliant reader, publisher, and thinker, this episode will be of great ...

Two Month Review #7.8: Radiant Terminus (Chapters 27-38)

This is a jam-packed episode as Rachel Crawford joins Brian and Chad to talk about Kronauer's "trial," Hannko and Samiya in the Taiga, the lasting impact of PTSD, the post-post-apocalyptic world, Russian literature and French minimalism, New Jersey, and more. This is the penultimate episode of season seven, and sets up a lot ...

Which Living Writers Are Sure-Thing Hall of Famers?

Last Thursday, I must've sent two dozen people a variation on that question above, usually in the form "Name me ten living 'Hall of Fame' writers." No explanation, no context, nothing. I was curious as to who people would name, what biases would come through, which authors would start debates. And I figured I could get a ...

Two Month Review #7.7: Radiant Terminus (Chapters 20-26)

Chad and Brian go it alone through Kronauer's "night of amok" as he attempt to murder Solovyei for his myriad crimes. Then they enter into part four of the book, "Taiga," which is a collection of "narracts" set some seven hundred (or a thousand?) years in the future. Hannko is recreating the feminist post-exotic texts from ...

Three Percent BONUS EPISODE: Interview with Nick During of NYRB

To supplement NYRB month on Three Percent, Chad and Anthony talked to Nick During, publicist for New York Review Books, about the marketing of Anniversaries by Uwe Johnson, the struggles to get attention for reprints, Henry Green's eternal rediscovery, and much more. (Including Nick's ratings of the impact of various ...

NYRB Classics: Some Stats [Strategies for Publishers]

This month, I'm going to switch things up a bit. Initially, I was going to leave Canada behind and focus on one single book: Uwe Johnson's Anniversaries. But, well, this is 1,600 pages long, and I have to proof a couple things this month, and reread some books for my class, and go to AWP, and catch up on Deadly ...

Jakov Lind [Open Letter Author of the Month]

The selection of Jakov Lind as our "Author of the Month" will make even more sense after Monday's post, but after telling my class about Landscape in Concrete on Tuesday, I really wanted to revisit his books—and wanted to convince all of you to join in! As always, for all this month, you can get 30% off of both of his ...

“The Faerie Devouring” by Catherine Lalond [Quebec Literature from P.T. Smith]

Before starting this month's focus on Quebec literature, I asked P.T. Smith to recommend a few books for me to read, since he's one of the few Americans I know who has read a lot of Quebec literature. But rather than hoard these recommendations or write silly things about them, we decided it would be best if P.T. wrote weekly ...

Two Month Review #7.6: Radiant Terminus (Chapters 17-19)

With just Chad and Brian on this week's episode, the show turns almost full superhero. We get Chad's weirdly specific—and unnerving—Volodine-influenced dream. We get to see Samiya Schmidt transform into a raging version of Captain Marvel/Banshee. We get to see Kronauer assume his role as the one chosen to take down ...

Books That Would Make My BTBA 2019 Shortlist If Only They Qualified [BTBA 2019]

Today's Best Translated Book Award post is from Caitlin Baker of Island Books in Seattle/Mercer Island. She's also a frequent Two Month Review guest, and prolific Book Twitterer.  As I get closer to narrowing down the stacks of books I’ve read this past year and finalizing my BTBA 2019 longlist, there are two books ...

Coach House Books & Marie-Claire Blais [2018 Redux]

I've really, really enjoyed Quebec Month here at Three Percent. I had the chance to read the Catherine Leroux book I've been wanting to read, encountered some other really great books and presses I probably would've missed if I hadn't forced this on myself, and got to run a few really cool interviews and excerpts. On top of ...

“The Employee” by Guillermo Saccomanno [Excerpt]

You have three days left to take advantage of Guillermo Saccomanno's status as "Open Letter Author of the Month." Through Thursday night, you can get 30% off both of his books via the Open Letter website by using the code SACCOMANNO at checkout.  With so many positive comments coming in about 77, I thought I'd give you a ...

“Next Episode” by Hubert Aquin [Quebec Literature from P.T. Smith]

Before starting this month's focus on Quebec literature, I asked P.T. Smith to recommend a few books for me to read, since he's one of the few Americans I know who has read a lot of Quebec literature. But rather than hoard these recommendations or write silly things about them, we decided it would be best if P.T. wrote weekly ...

Two Month Review #7.5: Radiant Terminus (Chapters 14-16)

Tobias Carroll (Transitory, Reel) joins Chad and Brian to talk about the latest installment of Radiant Terminus. These three chapters get wild, as Schulhoff (who mysteriously disappeared shortly after his marriage to Hannko, Solovyei's daughter) returns and tries to get Ilyushenko to kill him. And then the never-ending ...

“Aphelia” by Mikella Nicol [Excerpt]

Following on this morning's interview with Dimitri Nasrallah, below you'll find an excerpt from Aphelia by Mikella Nicol, translated from the French by Lesley Trites, and forthcoming from Véhicule Press/Esplanade Books.    The night I met Mia, I was drinking with Louis at the bar. We were joking with the ...

Interview with Dimitri Nasrallah of Esplanade Books

Continuing our month-long series of Quebec literature, below you'll find an interview with Dimitri Nasrallah, writer, translator, and editor of Esplanade Books, the fiction imprint of Véhicule Press. Later this afternoon we'll be running an excerpt from one of their forthcoming titles.  Chad W. Post: I want to ask you ...

Three Percent #154: Celebrity Translators

After an update about Chad's computer files and subscriptions, Tom talks about Amazon leaving NYC and they both get into a long discussion about translator Molly Ringwald (who you might also recognize from Riverdale). Chad tries to order a book from IndieBound (where do these books process from?) and then they talk a bit ...

Véhicule Press/Esplanade Fiction & BookThug/Book*Hug [P.T. Smith Redux]

This really is the P. T. Smith-inspired post. As you likely know, Patrick has been writing weekly posts for Three Percent this month about some of his favorite works of Quebec literature. (See this post and this one.) He's one of the few Americans I know (maybe the only one?) who is deep into Quebec lit, so deep in fact that ...

Books of the Future [BTBA 2019]

Today's Best Translated Book Award post is from George Carroll, life-long Sounders fan, newly converted Tottenham fan..  This is my third rodeo with The Best Translated Book Award. The first year the book that I wanted to win, Seibo There Below, did. But then there was the next year. Not even close, but you have to be a ...

“77” by Guillermo Saccomanno [Excerpt]

To celebrate Guillermo Saccomanno being out "Author of the Month" (get 30% off his books by using SACCOMANNO at checkout) and the release of 77, we thought we'd run this excerpt from his new book.  There was nothing magical about how I ended up in Lutz’s hole-in-the-wall. I’ll try to explain bit by bit. I was ...

New Release! 77 by Guillermo Saccomanno

We're a few days late announcing this here, but Tuesday, February 12th was the official pub date for Guillermo Saccomanno's 77, translated from the Spanish by Andrea G. Labinger. And today, it was featured in Vanity Fair as one of "6 Must-Read Books from Around the World." Here's the full press release that Anthony put ...

The Bones [BTBA 2019]

Today's BTBA post is from Sofia Samatar, author of A Stranger in Olondria and Assistant Professor at James Madison University.  Reading for an award jury is a special type of reading: very alert and very fast. I’m finding that the accelerated pace, combined with a certain sharpness in my eye, which has to read and ...

Kamouraska by Anne Hébert [Quebec Literature from P.T.]

Before starting this month's focus on Quebec literature, I asked P.T. Smith to recommend a few books for me to read, since he's one of the few Americans I know who has read a lot of Quebec literature. But rather than hoard these recommendations or write silly things about them, we decided it would be best if P.T. wrote weekly ...

Two Month Review #7.4: Radiant Terminus (Chapters 9-13)

Rhett McNeil joins Chad Post and pinch-hitter Kaija Straumanis to talk about the first half of part two of Radiant Terminus, "Ode to the Camps." From recounting Chad's latest Volodine-inflected dream to a discussion of the ways various ideologies (fairy tales, anarcho-capitalism, Marxism-Leninism) play out in the novel, to ...

Biblioasis [Catherine Leroux Redux]

Last December, when I was working on this post about Quebec fiction, I came up with the idea of having themed months running throughout 2019. Which is why January was all about Spain, February about Quebec, and March about Uwe Johnson's Anniversaries. (Which might kill me and/or lead me into an insane rabbit-hole of ...

“Gesell Dome” by Guillermo Saccomanno [Excerpt]

As we posted about last week, Guillermo Saccomanno is our featured author of the month. Throughout February, you can get 30% off both of his books by using the code SACCOMANNO at checkout.  To entice you, below you'll find a excerpt from the first Saccomanno book we published, Gesell Dome. Like True Detective through ...

“Go Figure” by Réjean Ducharme [Quebec Literature from P.T.]

Before starting this month's focus on Quebec literature, I asked P.T. Smith to recommend a few books for me to read, since he's one of the few Americans I know who has read a lot of Quebec literature. But rather than hoard these recommendations or write silly things about this, we decided it would be best if P.T. wrote a ...

Two Month Review #7.3: Radiant Terminus (Chapters 4-8)

This week, former TMR guest Rachel Cardasco returns to talk about speculative fiction in translation, various allegories for Radiant Terminus (current political climate, The Tempest, The Bible), who dreams the dreamer, the patriarchy and Maria Kwoll's feminist post-exotic texts, steampunk technology, spider dreams, and ...

Prague by Madue Veilleux [Excerpt]

I wanted to learn how to live alone. I’d never done it. I’d always taken elaborate care to avoid solitude. I’d been single for two months over ten years. Almost never slept alone. I’d built relationships just to have someone, and I’d had sex for the same reason. At that point, I thought I had to choose between my ...

Interview with Peter McCambridge of QC Fiction

Following up on Monday's post, here's an interview with the founder of QC Fiction, Peter McCambridge. Since he goes into most of his bio below, I'm not going to preface this all that much, except to congratulate him on being a finalist for the Governor General’s Award for Translation and the Giller Prize for Songs for the ...

Three Percent #153: Winter Beats and Breaks

At the top of this episode, Tom explains why he and Chad fell off the biweekly schedule for a bit, but then they come back strong, talking about Winter Institute, the Independent Publishers Caucus, minimum wage, this wild New Yorker article that doesn't quite do enough, but makes Chad angry, and Hanif Abdurraqib's Go Ahead ...

QC Fiction [Canada Redux]

I think I might have mentioned this in an earlier post, but now that we’ve put Spain to bed with a week dedicated to each of the four major languages—Castilian, Catalan, Galician, and Basque—we’re turning our attention to the North. As in the Great White. Canada: home of poutine, reasonable political leaders (now that ...

Guillermo Saccomanno [Open Letter Author of the Month]

In celebration of the release of 77 on Tuesday, February 12, we’ve decided to make Guillermo Saccomanno this month’s featured author. Like what we did for Volodine last month, we’re offering 30% all orders for Gesell Dome and 77 (use SACCOMANNO at checkout), and will be running a series of excerpts from his books. ...

Interview with Amaia Gabantxo

To finish off this month of Spanish literature, I talked to Amaia Gabantxo, translator of Twist and Blade of Light by Harkaitz Cano along with a half-dozen other Basque authors, including Bernardo Atxaga, Unai Elorriaga, and Kirmen Uribe, among others. She also moonlights as a flamenco singer and recently released an ...

The Translation Database Has Moved!

As you can read about in this Publishers Weekly article, the Translation Database is no longer being updated on this site. I hope to upload spreadsheets compiling all the data from time to time, but for now, this is where you can get the most up-to-date data about which titles are being published in translation for the ...

Why Are Patreon [Time for a Basque Rundown]

I promise I’ll be back on schedule soon—this computer situation is really taking it’s toll . . . I’m currently writing on my iPad, using a Bluetooth keyboard and feeling like a gross millennial working out of a third-wave coffee shop, saying NO! to Large Computer, and proving that Jobs is Genius and that 2019 is about ...

Two Month Review #7.2: Radiant Terminus (Chapters 1-3)

From Tarkovsky to Jessica Jones, this week's episode covers a lot of ground. Anthony and Chad are joined by Hailey Dezort to walk through the first three chapters of Antoine Volodine's Radiant Terminus. There's a lot to unpack, from the plant names, to the nature of men, to horrible fathers, to the humor found in Gramma ...

New Poetry Editor at Open Letter and Call for Poetry Submissions!

Open Letter’s new Poetry Editor, Anastasia Nikolis, interviewed herself so that you wouldn’t have to. These are the questions she thinks might help you learn about the new person reading the poetry submissions at Open Letter Books.   Tell us a little bit about yourself. What else do you do when you aren’t ...

Two Month Review #7.1: Radiant Terminus (Introduction)

We’re back! . . . And a few days late. Chad explains why on the podcast itself, but suffice it to say that last week was a bit, um, stressful. But Brian and Chad finally got together to talk about Antoine Volodine in general, post-exoticism, Brian Evenson’s introduction to Radiant Terminus, similarities between ...

Three Percent BONUS EPISODE: Interview with Jonathan Dunne

As part of this month's ongoing series of posts about literature from Spain, I talked to author, translator, and publisher Jonathan Dunne, whose Small Stations Press has produced more translations of Galician literature into English than anyone else. On this bonus episode of the Three Percent Podcast, we talk about how to ...

Why Are Preview Lists [Galician Literature + Positivity]

I've been trying sooooooo hard to be positive in 2019. So hard. Stay optimistic in light of distribution issues. Don't worry about sales too much, because I'm 250% certain Anthony is going to take us to the next level. Ignore the fact that Lit Hub listed Night School as one of the best reviewed "nonfiction" books of the ...

“Tell Them of Battles, Kings, & Elephants” by Mathias Énard

Tell Them of Battles, Kings, & Elephants Translated from the French by Charlotte Mandell 144 pgs. | pb |9780811227049 | $19.95 New Directions Publishing Reviewed by Grant Barber Énard is a Very Important Author indeed. He belongs on the stage with Pamuk, T Morrison, Morante, Okri, Delillo, J. Marías, ...

“Eleven Sooty Dreams” by Manuela Draeger [Excerpt]

As we posted about last week, in honor of Radiant Terminus being the next featured Two Month Review title, Antoine Volodine is our "Author of the Month." So, if you want to buy any of his books, you can get 30% off by using the code VOLODINE at checkout. (And yes, that applies to print AND ebooks.)  Last friday we ...

“Radiant Terminus” Two Month Review Reading Schedule

It's almost time for the next season of the Two Month Review—our seventh season. (That's a solid number.) This season we're returning to do an Open Letter title, Antoine Volodine's Radiant Terminus, translated from the French by Jeffrey Zuckerman. The most patently sci-fi work of Antoine Volodine’s to be ...

Three Percent #152: Seven (Or So) Insights

Getting back on schedule for the new year, Chad and Tom convene to talk about two articles: "7 Publishing Insights Revealed by Last Year's Top 100 Bestselling Books," and "Virginia Woolf? Snob! Richard Wright? Sexist! Dostoyevsky? Anti-Semite!" They also talk a bit about YA books and the precipitous decline in reading as ...

SCBWI Opens Work in Progress Grants to Translators of Children’s Literature

For the first time, the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) has opened its Work in Progress (WIP) grants to translators of children's literature.  Beginning this year, translators can follow the instructions here and here to submit to the WIP Translation category. Submissions will be ...

“Gustave and Maxime in Egypt (Or: The Metaphysics of Happening)” by Zsófia Bán

“. . . but an enormous part of our lives is taken up with everything that doesn’t happen.” —Péter Nádas   Gustave and Maxime are traveling. “Et le petit chat,” dit Hélène, “partira-t-il aussi?” Maxime is taking pictures and Gustave is reading. Maxime is running around and Gustave is sitting ...

Radiant Terminus [Excerpt]

In support of Antoine Volodine as our featured "Author of the Month," throughout the day we'll be posting excerpts from the three books of his Open Letter has already published. (Next week we'll run excerpts from forthcoming ones . . . )  The last excerpt for today is from Radiant Terminus, translated from the French by ...

Bardo or Not Bardo [Excerpt]

In support of Antoine Volodine as our featured "Author of the Month," throughout the day we'll be posting excerpts from the three books of his Open Letter has already published. (Next week we'll run excerpts from forthcoming ones . . . )  Next up is Bardo or Not Bardo, translated from the French by J.T. ...

Post-Exoticism in Ten Lessons, Lesson Eleven [Excerpt]

In support of Antoine Volodine as our featured "Author of the Month," throughout the day we'll be posting excerpts from the three books of his Open Letter has already published. (Next week we'll run excerpts from forthcoming ones . . . )  First up is Post-Exoticism in Ten Lessons, Lesson Eleven, translated from the ...

Antoine Volodine [Open Letter Author of the Month]

In addition to the monthly themes, another new series for 2019 is a monthly featured author from the Open Letter backlist. Each month we'll choose someone else from our backlist, write a number of posts about them and their work, and offer up a 30% on all purchases made during that month. And for January we've decided to ...

Landmarks [BTBA 2019]

This week's Best Translated Book Award post is from Tara Cheesman of Reader at Large and BookRiot.  This is my second year as a BTBA fiction judge and (please don’t @ me) the pages are all starting to run together. I’ve discovered that when reading books in rapid succession it helps to identify landmarks on the ...

“Four by Four” by Sara Mesa

Below is an excerpt from Four by Four by Sara Mesa, translated by Katie Whittemore. To give you a bit of context, I'm including the synopsis that Katie sent us with her original sample: The novel is composed of three sections, each written in a distinct narrative voice and style. In Part One, we are introduced to ...

Why Are Meritocracy [Two Castilian Books]

I have two books that I want to talk about this week, and one related publishing/cultural issue, but before I get into all of that, I thought it would be interesting to dig a bit into some of the data from last week's "Spain By the Numbers" post. As I mentioned in that same post, over the course of this month, I'm going to ...

“Seventeen” by Hideo Yokoyama

Seventeen by Hideo Yokoyama Translated from Japanese by Louise Heal Kawai 368 pgs. | hc | 9780374261245 | $28.00 MCD/Farrar, Straus and Giroux Review by Maggie Myers   Seventeen is a thrilling mixture of truth and fiction by Hideo Yokoyama, acclaimed author of Six Four (which has also been translated into ...

Interview with Katie Whittemore

We're starting out this month's focus on Spanish literature with a look at a couple Castilian authors, especially Sara Mesa, whose works Open Letter will be publishing in 2020. Because I'm a bit impatient, I thought I'd introduce her to you now, via a sample of Four by Four (available on 1/9), a short piece on her ...

Books from Spain [By the Numbers]

I alluded to this in an earlier post (or two?), but one of the things I'd like to do on Three Percent this year is highlight a different group of books every month. It could be a particular country—like this month—or a set of publishers, or a single publisher, or single author. Regardless of the specifics of a particular ...

9 x 9 x 9: Everything Comes to an End

The other day I saw someone on Twitter asking haters of "best of" lists what changes they would institute to make these things more palatable. I thought about this for longer than I'd like to admit because a) circa-2001, I used to love year-end recaps. This was the era of "Best Week Ever" and other clip shows that were ...

I Wrote Some Stuff in 2018

In some ways, this is long overdue, but just in time for the final post of the year, here's the complete collection of "articles" that I wrote this year for Three Percent. The initial plan was to do one a week, using a new translation as a launching pad to talk about international literature, publishing, and book culture, ...

Two Month Review #6.11: The Book of Disquiet (sections 394-END)

It's all over! After eleven weeks of Pessoa, Chad and Brian have finished The Book of Disquiet. And to celebrate, they each wrote some jacket copy and blurbs and went hard at trying to get BINGO for someone. They also preview the next season of TMR and come up with a very marketable Pessoa-themed product idea . . . As ...

Three Percent #151: A Time for Gifting

After a long conversation about a rather strange Rochester gathering of arts organizations, Chad and Tom get down to business: recommending their favorite books of 2018. Except, rather than just make a list, they decide which of their friends or relatives should receive each of these titles. Then they talk about a couple ...

All the Cameras in Japan

As December rolled around and I started plotting out the end of this year-long series, I had a bunch of ideas for what the final few posts could be about. Knowing that 2019 will bring about some changes to Three Percent (has it ever really remained the same? over eleven-plus years, the one thing that's remained constant is my ...

Maybe These Days Will Be Over, Over Soon

Man, Three Percent is on a Canadian kick as of late. We podcasted with Kevin Williams of Talonbooks. We ran a review of Mama's Boy by David Goudreault. And now this post. It's as if I were 25% Canadian or something! (Fun fact: I actually am.) Oh, Canada. That country Americans remember exists every time we elect a ...

Two Month Review #6.10: The Book of Disquiet (sections 359-393)

Probably the most controversial Two Month Review to date, so buckle up! Are there unhinged rants? You bet! Questions regarding the marketing and "completeness" of the New Directions edition? Yep! A long discussion about the differences in voice between the both excellent Margaret Jull Costa and Richard Zenith translations? ...

Adam’s Sexy Post [BTBA 2019]

This week's Best Translated Book Post is from Adam Hetherington, a reader from Tulsa who also served on last year's jury. “Do you want to do it again?” he asks. Shit. He is my friend, P.T. Smith. We were both BTBA judges last year; this year he’s invented some sort of easy supervisory role for himself, and invited ...

“Quo Vadis, Baby?” by Grazia Verasani

  Quo Vadis, Baby? by Grazia Verasani Translated from the Italian by Taylor Corse and Juliann Vitullo 180 pgs. | pb | 9781599103662 | $15.00 Italica Press Review by Jeanne Bonner   The last time I wrote about Grazia Verasani’s Quo Vadis, Baby? (Mondadori, 2007) I was researching an article for Literary Hub ...

Two Month Review #6.9: The Book of Disquiet (sections 316-358)

This week David Smith—former Open Letter intern and current grad student at the University of Iowa—joins Chad and Brian to debate poetry vs. prose, separating the p.o.v. of Pessoa's heteronyms from his own personal viewpoint, Soares's morality and metaphysics, how to judge the quality of a translation, and much more. As a ...

Three Percent #150: Canadian Publishing

This week, Kevin Williams of Talonbooks out of Vancouver, British Columbia joins Tom and Chad to talk about the state of publishing in Canada. He recaps his career in the book business—as a bookseller, distributor, agent, and publisher—and provides a lot of insight into the Canadian funding structures, the not-so-great ...

The Fault in Our Numbers

the cigarette consumed itself inside her body, her extraordinary body, 70 percent water, 30 percent smoke, and I could not understand it —The Nocilla Lab (Sales(S) x List Price(P)) x Readership® – Fixed Operating Expenses(FOE) – Printing(PR) – Author Payment(AP) – Translator Payment(TP) – Marketing Costs(MC) = ...

Women in Translation [BTBA 2019]

This week's Best Translated Book Award post is from Pierce Alquist of Book Riot. After a record-breakingly frigid Thanksgiving here in the northeast, I’m dreaming wistfully of August. BBQs, beaches, and bikinis are all good but I mostly just miss being able to go outside without wrapping multiple scarves around my face. ...

In the Borderlands [BTBA 2019]

Today's BTBA post is from Sofia Samatar, author of A Stranger in Olondria and Assistant Professor at James Madison University.  We agreed to spend several months in the borderlands. Every few weeks, each of us would send off a dispatch describing our experiences there, a report that might take any form we liked, we were ...

Two Month Review #6.8: The Book of Disquiet (sections 274-315)

Chad and Brian fly solo this week, filling in dozens of TMR Bingo squares, and trying to come up with "rules for writers" based on this particular section of The Book of Disquiet. It's a pretty imprecise set of rules, but whatever, in the words of Pessoa, "perfection is inhuman." They also talk a bit about a "Mount Rushmore ...

Three Percent #149: I Have Some Advice

LIVE PODCAST! Well, sort of. Tom was in Rochester, so he and Chad recorded a spontaneous podcast while being in the same room as one another. (And with eight-month-old Aleks, who makes an appearance.) They talk about bookstores Tom visited on this trip, the National Book Awards, and J Franz's now infamous "rules for writers." ...

So Many Books [BTBA 2019]

Today's BTBA post is from Keaton Patterson of Brazos Bookstore.  As a first-time judge for the BTBA or any literary award for that matter, the question that pops into my mind as the books come flooding in is this—where to start? I’ve been the buyer for an Brazos for over six year now. I’m no stranger to sifting ...

Long Books and Quick Hits [BTBA 2019]

This week's Best Translated Book Award post is from Elijah Watson. If you're a publisher and haven't submitted your titles for BTBA consideration, there's still time! All the info can be found here. I’m between working at bookstores right now, having left the great A Room of One’s Own in Madison, Wisconsin only a ...

My Struggle, Part II: The 60% Post

Over the past two weeks I've been in NYC for the Words Without Borders gala (THANK YOU AGAIN FOR THE OTTAWAY!), then to LA for the PEN Gala (amazing time with Jessica St. Clair and Dan O'Brien and you too, Ross, I suppose), to Seattle (Amazon Spheres are a thing!), and Minneapolis (sales conference isn't sales conference ...

Two Month Review #6.7: The Book of Disquiet (sections 222-273)

This week's special guest is Portuguese author and translator João Reis who knows a lot about Pessoa and the writings of his various heteronyms. He also talks about his forthcoming novel, The Translator's Bride, and his work as a translator. There's some of the usual banter as well, including a solid rundown of everyone's ...

Three Percent #148: The Hottest Trend

Sticking more or less to their biweekly schedule, Chad and Tom reconvene to talk about a couple recent articles, the challenges of being a literary nonprofit, interesting books they're reading, humblebrags about the Words Without Borders and PEN galas, and more. Surprising lack of sports talk this week, although there is a ...

Two Month Review #6.6: The Book of Disquiet (sections 174-221)

This week's podcast goes off the rails pretty quickly, and includes a hungover dismissal of this version of The Book of Disquiet, the phrase "reclaim some of the douchery" is spoken, there is a lot of laughter, a discussion about the tensions between trying to read this as poetry vs. the expectations that come from trying to ...

Holiday BTBA Overview [BTBA 2019]

It's Best Translated Book Award build-up time, which lasts, like four months . . . Anyway, here's Kasia Bartoszynska's overview of a number of exciting titles vying for the BTBA 2019! The holiday season is not yet upon us, but for us judges, there’s an exciting new gift in the mail almost daily, in the form of packages ...

Two Month Review #6.5: The Book of Disquiet (sections 131-173)

This week Chad and Brian come to some conclusions about the Vicente Guedes part of The Book of Disquiet and get very excited about the more "mature, sophisticated" writings of Bernardo Soares. They both love this new voice and dig into what separates the heteronyms and their philosophies on life. And without a guest, Chad ...

Three Percent #147: Helping Listeners One Translation Heuristic at a Time

This week's episode is mostly inspired by an email from a listener about evaluating translations, and although Tom and Chad don't provide the hardest and fastest rules, they do have an interesting conversation about how they read and judge translated books. They also follow up on a few different threads from earlier episodes ...

“Mamma’s Boy” by David Goudreault

Mamma's Boy by David Goudreault Translated from the French by JC Sutcliffe 192 pgs. | pb | 9781771663823 | $20.00 Book*hug Review by Rafael Sanchez Montes     This incredibly fun novel is a first-person account and confession by the unnamed protagonist, who offers his side of the story to what he ...

Johnson O’Connor Research Foundation Study of Translators

This is a special request from former University of Rochester student and Open Letter intern Will Eells. He's working on an interesting study of translators and thought some of Three Percent's readers would be interested in participating. Hello Three Percent readers! The Johnson O’Connor Research Foundation is looking ...

Two Month Review #6.4: The Book of Disquiet (sections 82-130)

BINGO! That's the theme of today's episode, which includes a Twin Peaks reference, awkward introduction, LitHub reference, and many other squares on the recently released Two Month Review bingo cards. It's explained in full at that post and on the podcast, but every week, the first person to email Chad with "bingo" in the ...

A Rat, a Labyrinth, “Ah Library TNT”?

What makes an Oulipian book Oulipian? Because my outline for this Deep Vellum post is approximate 17,000 words long, I'm going to condense my planned opening into eight bullet points. If you're not familiar with the Oulipo or their literary program, here's a quick-hitting introduction: Read this book by Warren ...

Two Month Review Bingo

It may have started as a joke, but now we're deadly serious about Two Month Review Bingo. Starting tomorrow (Wednesday, October 24th), the first person each week to listen to the podcast and send a photo of their completed Bingo card will get 30% off any order at openletterbooks.org (excluding subscriptions). New to ...

My Struggle, Part I: Confusion and Value

As part of my "Deep Vellum Month" experiment, I decided to move from the toponymy—and topography—of Iceland to geography. Or rather, "geography," as in the Geography of Rebels by Maria Gabriela Llansol. Like with most of the books I've been reading of late, I knew basically nothing about this book before picking it ...

Two Month Review #6.3: The Book of Disquiet (sections 40-81)

Jerónimo Pizzaro—editor of the "complete edition" of The Book of Disquiet published by New Directions—is the special guest on this week's Two Month Review. He discusses his history with Pessoa, how this volume came to be, the next three volumes in the New Directions project, how to approach The Book of Disquiet and ...

The Icelandic Connection

If you're a long time reader of Three Percent and/or literature in translation, I'm sure you've heard of Deep Vellum, and probably know most of their history. But to kick off my series of posts about their September/October books—and to put the numbers below in context—it's probably worth a quick recap. Back in the ...

Two Month Review #6.2: The Book of Disquiet (sections 1-39)

This is one of the most Two Month Review podcasts yet. Chad, Brian, and Tom Flynn (Volumes Books in Chicago) come together to discuss the first forty-six pages (sections 1-39) of the complete version of Fernando Pessoa's The Book of Disquiet. In addition to breaking down the philosophy and literary style representing ...

It’s the Postseason! [Welcome to October]

It's been too long since I last posted a comprehensive update of where we are with translations this year. Which is why I spent most of today updating the Translation Database. There are probably still a number of books to be added before the year is out, but we're getting close to having a pretty stable—and pretty ...

“Odd Jobs” by Tony Duvert

Odd Jobs by Tony Duvert Translated from the French by S. C. Delaney & Agnés Potier 56 pgs. | pb | 9781939663290 | $11.95 Wakefield Press Review by Kaija Straumanis   I've long been a fan of Wakefield Press, ever since I first read Pataphysical Essays by René Daumal, though I don't get to read nearly as ...

Two Month Review #6.1: “The Book of Disquiet” with Declan Spring

The Two Month Review is back! This season we'll be reading the New Directions publication of The Book of Disquiet by Fernando Pessoa, translated from the Portuguese by Margaret Jull Costa, one of the greatest works of literature (or poetry?) from the past century. To kick things off Declan Spring joined Brian Wood and a ...

Three Percent #145: Lobbying for No Celebrities

In response to a listener email, Tom expands on his comments from last podcast about the American Booksellers Association. Chad shares some data about genre works in translation and wonders about adding this to the Translation Database. He also has some curious info about Icelandic books in translation and then promotes one ...

A Frozen Imagination

Over the course of the eleven years that Three Percent has existed, we've published approximately 300 posts about Iceland. We even held a special "Icelandic Week" when Iceland was Guest of Honor at the 2011 Frankfurt Book Fair. In addition to highlighting a ton of authors and musicians, we tried to record a Brennivín ...

Two Month Review: #5.10: Bonus Episode with Dubravka Ugresic!

Dubravka Ugresic is in Rochester for Open Letter's tenth anniversary celebration, so she got together with Chad and Brian to talk about how she wrote Fox, Melania-related tourism, the two story points that launched the book, her writing process, and more! As always, Fox (and all the previous Two Month Review titles) is ...

Missed Opportunities (Here’s the NBA Translation Post I Promised)

Per usual when I'm writing these posts, I'm standing in front of my TV with the St. Louis Cardinals game on in the background, dwelling on what this season could've been. Sure, as I type, they have a .5 game lead for the final wild-card slot, but their odds of making the playoffs are only at 68.1%—far from a ...

Three Percent #144: The Perfect Publishing Award

Were the National Book Award longlists announced last week? Do Chad and Tom have opinions? YES AND YES. That conversation leads into talking about Penguin Random House, the "perfect publishing house," and then into a frank discussion about the future of small press publishing and the challenges of having a career in nonprofit ...

Publishing Strategies of Rediscovery

A few years ago, New Directions reissued three Clarice Lispector books (and one never-before translated one) with covers that combined into one giant portrait. Although it was preceded by the publication of a new translation of The Hour of the Star—by Ben Moser, who had recently written an all-encompassing biography of ...

“The Great Passage” by Shion Miura

The Great Passage by Shion Miura translated from the Japanese by Juliet Winters Carpenter 222 pgs. | pb |9781477823071 | $14.95  AmazonCrossing Reviewed by Talia Franks   Shion Miura’s The Great Passage chronicles the construction of a dictionary also called The Great Passage, which is a comprehensive catalog ...

Two Month Review: #5.09: FOX by Dubravka Ugresic (“The Fox’s Widow”)

Ryan Chapman (Conversation Sparks, Riots I Have Known) came on this week to talk about the final section of Dubravka Ugresic's Fox. They discuss "business class vs. economy class" writers, authenticity and performing in the role of a writer, Franzen, the overall genius of Ugresic's writing, and much more. It's a very ...

Three Percent #143: The Cocky Pod

This week, Chad and Tom return to basics--more book talk than industry talk, a promise to release a new episode every other Wednesday--but start off with something that's very, very Three Percent: #Cockygate. Although the #Cockygate lawsuit is interesting in its own right, it's the breakdown of the seedy underworld of gaming ...

The Simple Pleasures of Reading

My initial plan for this post was to do a huge data dump for Women in Translation Month, but Meytal Radzinski already went and totally crushed it. She has all the best graphs, pie charts, breakdowns, overviews, recommendations, and more. Go click on that link and spend a day reading everything she has to say. I looked over ...

Two Month Review: #5.08: FOX by Dubravka Ugresic (“Little Miss Footnote”)

Caitlin Luce Baker from University Bookstore in Seattle joined Chad and Brian to talk about the "Little Miss Footnote" section of Dubravka Ugresic's Fox. They touch on Dorothy Leuthold, Vladimir Nabokov, and much more, including a very subtle weaving of references that you'll definitely want to tune in to learn ...

BTBA 2019: Juries, Dates, Request for Your Books

Earlier this week, Patrick Smith sent out the email below to as many publishers as possible, letting them know about this year's Best Translated Book Award juries. In case you didn't get this--or, if you're a translator or author who wants to make sure your book is submitted--I'm reposting it all here. (And, we will have a ...

“The Bottom of the Jar” by Abdellatif Laâbi

The Bottom of the Jar by Abdellatif Laâbi translated from the French by André Naffis-Sahely 220 pgs. | pb |9781935744603 | $17.00  Archipelago Books Reviewed by Brendan Riley   For English language readers, like this reviewer, whose literary sense of North Africa is delimited by periodic forays into the ...

Two Month Review: #5.07: FOX by Dubravka Ugresic (“The Theocritus Adventure”)

This episode, Chad and Brian are joined by the newest Open Letter employee--Anthony Blake! He joins in on a really fun episode about Russian avant-garde literature, connections between the fourth part of Fox and the very earliest sections of the book, footnotes, invented novels, how to smuggle like a fox, and more. This ...

Three Percent #142: The Great American Podcast

Back from their respective vacations, Chad and Tom talk about PBS's "Great American Read," the NEA's "Big Read," building a sustainable publishing model that puts readers first, the attempt to address the direct-to-consumer discount problem, books that they've recently read, and ones Tom refuses to stock. Tom also discloses ...

Two Month Review: #5.06: FOX by Dubravka Ugresic (“The Devil’s Garden”)

Pete Mitchell—who wrote this great review of Fox for Asymptote—joined Chad and Brian this week to talk about the heartbreaking (and semi-profane) ending to "The Devil's Garden," the third part of Dubrakva Ugresic's latest novel. From the idea of a small ping singling one's eventual crack-up to peeing on the side of the ...

August 2018 Newsletter

Celebrate Women in Translation Month with 40% Off All Open Letter Books Written by Women OR Translated by Women Women in Translation Month is always an exciting time to discover, read, discuss, and celebrate books by women from around the world. It was created by Meytal Radzinski back in 2014, and has since spawned ...

The Very Pleasant Post

Usually I try and make the first post of the month one that's based around some sort of statistical analysis of what's going on with literature in translation. Since this is Women in Translation Month (#WIT2018), it would make a great deal of sense to run a bunch of data about women writers in translation, women translators, ...

Two Month Review: #5.05: FOX by Dubravka Ugresic (“The Devil’s Garden”)

In this week's Two Month Review, Brian drops some excellent knowledge about why this chapter is called "The Devil's Garden," opening a window into Ugresic's genius, guest George Carroll talks about his time in Kolkata, and Chad says a bunch of mildly entertaining things about camping and landmines. The most stunning moment ...

A Balance of Plot and Place (Two Month Review: #5.03-5.04: FOX by Dubravka Ugresic – Blog Post)

Last week, Chad and Brian were joined by Ellen Elias-Bursác, one of the Fox translators, for an incredible discussion on the second half of “A Balancing Art.” Ellen was enamored with the dynamics between the Widow and Ugresic’s narrator, the former finding success managing the works of her late husband and the latter ...

Two Month Review: #5.04: FOX by Ugresic (“A Balancing Art”)

After a two week hiatus due to technical difficulties trying to record from Dublin, the Two Month Review is back! Chad and Brian are joined by translator Ellen Elias-Bursać to talk about her favorite section of the novel--"A Balancing Art." They discuss the various viewpoints presented in this chapter--especially that of the ...

A Whole Lot of Blather

I'm back from Ireland! I was there for the past two weeks as part of a University of Rochester Travel Club trip for which I served as the "academic host" and gave four different lectures--two on Ulysses, one on Irish humor, and one on the relationship between contemporary Irish literature and language. I think they all went ...

The Best Female Chinese Novelist You’ve Never Heard Of

To say that Xiao Hong's life was rough is a serious understatement. She was born in 1911, during one of China's most turbulent periods, all leading up to the Second Sino-Japanese War. In addition to the cultural turmoil, Xiao's mother passed away when she was nine, leaving her to be raised by an abusive father whom ...

“Katalin Street” by Magda Szabó

Katalin Street by Magda Szabó translated from the Hungarian by Len Rix 248 pgs. | pb | 9781681371528 | $15.95  NYRB Classics Reviewed by Jason Newport     What is a woman, or her ghost, to do for herself? This is the question that haunts Hungarian author Magda Szabó in her three novels ...

Selection Bias, Best Translations, and Where Are the Women in Translation From?

A couple weeks ago, Boyd Tonkin, the excellent critic and founder of the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize--the inspiration for the Best Translated Book Award, and now the Man Booker International--released a rather unattractive looking book called The 100 Best Novels in Translation.  It's pretty obvious what's ...

Two Month Review: #5.03: FOX by Ugresic (“A Balancing Art”)

Tom Flynn from Volumes is back, surprising Brian, who mostly prepared for the podcast by Googling Croatian Fun Facts. World Cup banter and good natured ribbing aside, Chad, Brian, and Tom dig in to the first half or "A Balancing Art," talking about immigration vs. tourism, literary conferences and celebrity, one of the best ...

Is this All Fox-y Enough? (Two Month Review: #5.02: FOX by Dubravka Ugresic – Blog Post)

Last week, Chad, Brian, and returning special guest Tom Flynn of Volumes Bookcafe broke down some of the bigger elements of the introductory section of Dubravka Ugresic’s Fox, including the all-important question: is Ugresic’s fox metaphor fox-y enough? We’ll take our own look at some segments of this opening section ...

Videocast of Two Month Review Season 5, Episode 2

The podcast version of this week's Two Month Review will go live on Thursday morning, and will likely correct some of the crazy shit that happened last night during the live recording. Although my inability to pronounce names will remain, as will the various minor harassments suffered by all three participants. This was a ...

Three Percent #141: Reimagining the Podcast (AKA Everything Stays the Same)

This week, Chad and Tom talk about the "newly reimagined" BookExpo, the New York Rights Fair, the Albertine Prize (congrats to Emma Ramadan, Anne Garreta, and Deep Vellum!), the BTBA (congrats to Will Vanderhyden and Rodrigo Fresán!), likely shortlisted titles for next year's award, and more. Totally lacking in sports talk ...

9 Books Likely to Win the 2019 Best Translated Book Award

I'm just back from a poetry reading that's part of Rochester's The Ladder literary conference . . . actually, it was a poetry reading PLUS short stories (which are the poetry of novel writing), which is neither here nor there, except that a few of us played a sort of drinking game? Actually, we just straight up played a ...

Two Month Review: #5.01: An Introduction to Dubravka Ugresic

The new season is here! For the next two months, Chad and Brian will be talking about Dubravka Ugresic's Fox with a wide range of guests. To kick things off this week, Chad talks about Ugresic's writing career and his history of publishing her, and Brian comes up with a great challenge for our listeners and a running gag ...

New Two Month Review Season Starts 6/11!

After a bit of a hiatus, we're back! Starting tonight (Monday, June 11th) at 9pm, Brian and I are going to tackle Dubravka Ugresic's latest novel--Fox. Here's what Kirkus Reviews had to say about it in their STARRED review: Another tricky treasure from an internationally renowned author. Ugresic has been in exile from ...

9 Comp Authors for Dag Solstad, Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Embrace the Listicle

So much has happened over the past two weeks! Given all that I want to say about Dag Solstad's books and the people who review them, I'm going to rush through a few general comments about recent publishing events. First off: the New York Rights Fair and BookExpo. This year marked the first ever NYRF and the "newly ...

The Crime in the Data

A couple weeks ago, writer Kári Tulinius asked me for some information on how prevalent crime novels are in what gets translated. As with most statistics related to literature in translation (and/or the book industry in general), the correct answer was, "uh . . . no idea. Maybe a lot? Sure seems like it . . . So, yeah." I ...

“Snatching Bodies” by Rodrigo Fresán [New Fiction]

To celebrate the release of The Bottom of the Sky (which happens to be Open Letter's 100th title!), we wanted to share this "bonus track" to the novel. He initially wrote this story as a sort of explanation for one paragraph in The Bottom of the Sky, and then had it anthologized in collection of “dysfunctional family” ...

“Paraguayan Sea” by Wilson Bueno [Why This Book Should Win]

And with this post, we're done! All the longlisted titles have been featured in the Why This Book Should Win series. Thanks to everyone who contributed, and for this particular post, thanks to Raluca Albu from BOMB. Paraguayan Sea by Wilson Bueno, translated from the Portunhol and Guarani by Erin Moure ...

May Is a Month of Grading

The Best Translated Book Award Finalists were announced earlier this week, and following up on my earlier post looking at the representation of various languages on the BTBA longlists, I thought I'd take a second to highlight the publishing houses (#NameThePublisher) that have historically done the best on the BTBA ...

Three Percent #140: Save All the Nobels

Chad and Tom reunite after a few weeks of travel and hot takes to talk about the Best Translated Book Award shortlists, the Nobel Prize controversy, why we should (or shouldn't? or who cares?) save Barnes & Noble, and the awesomeness that is Jean-Patrick Manchette. This week's music is "Every 1's a Winner" by Ty ...

“The Last Bell” by Johannes Urzidil [Why This Book Should Win]

This entry in the Why This Book Should Win series (almost done!) is from Abe Nemon who writes essays and reviews of old and out-of-print books at OldBookAppreciator.com, as well as daily bios of obscure authors on their birthdays on Twitter at the handle @bookappreciator. The Last Bell by Johannes Urzidil, translated ...

“The Magician of Vienna” by Sergio Pitol [Why This Book Should Win]

This entry in the Why This Book Should Win series is from P.T. Smith. A full-time writer of WTBSW entries. The Magician of Vienna by Sergio Pitol, translated from the Spanish by George Henson (Mexico, Deep Vellum) Books that are part of a series have a tough time getting the recognition they deserve, in general and ...

“August” by Romina Paula [Why This Book Should Win]

This entry in the Why This Book Should Win series is from BTBA judge and University Bookstore bookseller Caitlin Baker. August by Romina Paula, translated from the Spanish by Jennifer Croft (Argentina, Feminist Press) I initially picked up August because of its beautiful cover and then I read the first ...

“I Am the Brother of XX” by Fleur Jaeggy [Why This Book Should Win]

This entry in the Why This Book Should Win series is from BTBA judge, reader, and reviewer P.T. Smith.  I Am the Brother of XX by Fleur Jaeggy, translated from the Italian by Gini Alhadeff (Switzerland, New Directions) Instant love is well and good. Confident and rejection is the same, if you’re the one doing the ...

What if Writers Were Treated Like Soccer Players?

Told you I'd be back soon to catch up on these weekly posts! Next week I'll put together a recap linking to all of the posts in the series so far, and including a line or two about what they cover. And then, in addition to writing about one (or two) new books, next week I'll also post a May overview with some more data, a ...

“Bergeners” by Tomas Espedal [Why This Book Should Win]

This entry in the Why This book Should Win series is from BTBA judge Patrick Smith, who is scrambling to finish covering all the books in this series. If you want to write about one of the remaining few, please get in touch! Bergeners by Tomas Espedal, translated from the Norwegian by James Anderson (Norway, Seagull ...

“Iron Moon: An Anthology of Chinese Worker Poetry” [Why This Book Should Win]

This Why This Book Should Win entry is from Raluca Albu, BTBA judge, and editor at both BOMB and Guernica.  Iron Moon: An Anthology of Chinese Worker Poetry, translated from the Chinese by Eleanor Goodman (China, White Pine Press) “Iron Moon” is an anthology of Chinese migrant  worker poetry that transports ...

“Ghachar Ghochar” by Vivek Shanbhag [Why This Book Should Win]

The final Why This Book Should Win entry for today is  from Katarzyna (Kasia) Bartoszyńska, an English professor at Monmouth College, a translator (from Polish to English), most recently of Zygmunt Bauman’s and Stanisław Obirek’s Of God and Man (Polity), and a former bookseller at the Seminary Co-op Bookstore in ...

“Incest” by Christine Angot [Why This Book Should Win]

Today's second Why This Book Should Win post is from Bradley Schmidt, a translator of contemporary German literature, most recently of Philipp Winkler’s Hooligan (Arcade), who also teaches writing and translation at Leipzig University. More at bradley-schmidt.com. Incest by Christine Angot, translated from the ...

Poetry Presses and Radical Idea #1

Thanks to a different writing deadline, the revamping of this website (still a bit of a work in progress), and trips to Chicago, Houston, and New York (with another NY trip later this week), I've fallen slightly behind with my weekly missives, so expect a bunch of these to drop over the next week or so. First up, I want to ...

“Fever Dream” by Samanta Schweblin [Why This Book Should Win]

This entry in the Why This Book Should Win series is from former BTBA judge and founder of the Literary License blog, Gwendolyn Dawson, who lives in Houston, TX and is a practicing lawyer. She is a longtime supporter of literature in translation and all literary arts. Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin, translated from ...

“The Iliac Crest” by Cristina Rivera Garza [Why This Book Should Win]

First Why This Book Should Win entry for today is from Tim Horvath. Tim Horvath is the author of Understories (Bellevue Literary Press) and Circulation (sunnyoutside), as well as fiction in Conjunctions, AGNI, Harvard Review, and elsewhere. He teaches in the Creative Writing BFA/MFA programs at the New Hampshire ...

“Third-Millennium Heart” by Ursula Andkjær Olsen [Why This Book Should Win]

This entry in the Why This Book Should Win series is from poet, translator, editor, and BTBA judge, Aditi Machado.  Third-Millennium Heart by Ursula Andkjær Olsen, translated from the Danish by Katrine Øgaard Jensen (Denmark, Broken Dimanche Press/Action Books) What’s a translated book got to do to ...

“Old Rendering Plant” by Wolfgang Hilbig [Why This Book Should Win]

Now that the new website is up and working, we can start catching up on the Why This Book Should Win series. (And I can go back to writing my unhinged weekly missives about literature in translation.) Today's first post is from Joseph Schreiber, writer, editor at 3:AM Magazine, maintains literary blog, ...

“Compass” by Mathias Énard [Why This Book Should Win]

This entry in the Why This Book Should Win series is from former BTBA judge and founder of the Literary License blog, Gwendolyn Dawson, who lives in Houston, TX and is a practicing lawyer. She is a longtime supporter of literature in translation and all literary arts. Compass by Mathias Énard, translated from the ...

“For Isabel: A Mandala” by Antonio Tabucchi [Why This Book Should Win]

This entry in the Why This Book Should Win series is from BTBA judge Jeremy Keng. For Isabel: A Mandala by Antonio Tabucchi, translated from the Italian by Elizabeth Harris (Italy, Archipelago Books) The photographer shifted positions and lit another cigarette in his long ivory holder. He seemed uneasy. Silent, he ...

“Chasing the King of Hearts” by Hanna Krall [Why This Book Should Win]

This entry in the Why This Book Should Win series is from Ruchama Johnston-Bloom, who writes about modern Jewish thought and Orientalism. She has a PhD in the History of Judaism from the University of Chicago and is the Associate Director of Academic Affairs at the London center of CAPA: The Global Education ...

“Ebola 76” by Amir Tag Elsir [Why This Book Should Win]

Today’s first entry into the Why This Book Should Win series is from Riffraff co-owner, Three Percent podcast co-host, and French translator, Tom Roberge. Ebola 76 by Amir Tag Elsir, translated from the Arabic by Chris Bredin and Emily Danby (Sudan, Darf Publishers) Sudanese writer (and doctor) Amir Tag Elsir’s ...

“Directions for Use” by Ana Ristović [Why This Book Should Win]

Today’s poetry entry into the Why This Book Should Win series is from BTBA judge—and Riffraff co-owner—Emma Ramadan. Directions for Use by Ana Ristović, translated from the Serbian by Steven Teref and Maja Teref (Serbia, Zephyr Press) Very occasionally, reading a book in translation can feel like I’m ...

Spanish Literature Is Our Favorite Scene

Last week, the 2018 longlists for the Best Translated Book Award were released and were loaded with books translated from the Spanish. Eight works of fiction and one poetry collection. Nine titles total out of the thirty-seven on the combined longlists. That’s just a smidge under 25%. Twenty-five percent! One-quarter of the ...

“Affections” by Rodrigo Hasbún [Why This Book Should Win]

Mark Haber of the BTBA jury and Brazos Bookstore has today’s fiction entry in the “Why This Book Should Win” series. Affections by Rodrigo Hasbún, translated from the Spanish by Sophie Hughes (Bolivia, Simon & Schuster) There is a lot to be said for subtlety, the quiet ability to tackle the heavy ...

“Things That Happen” by Bhaskar Chakrabart [Why This Book Should Win]

Today’s entry from the BTBA poetry longlist is from writer and translator Tess Lewis, who also has a title longlisted on the fiction side of things. Things That Happen by Bhaskar Chakrabart, translated from Bengali by Arunava Sinha (India, Seagull Books) I love ordinariness. Rejected, pedestrian conversations and ...

The End (Part VIII, IX, Epilogue, Pgs 237-281)

Last week, Chad and Brian (welded at the hip) were joined by “Stiliana Milkova”:https://www.oberlin.edu/stiliana-milkova of Oberlin College’s department of comparative literature to discuss the final moments of Georgi Gospodinov’s The Physics of Sorrow. While we learned that Chad doesn’t like Elena Ferrante, and ...

“Remains of Life” by Wu He [Why This Book Should Win]

This afternoon’s entry in the “Why This Book Should Win” series is from BTBA judge Adam Hetherington. Remains of Life by Wu He, translated from the Chinese by Michael Berry (China, Columbia University Press) I’m not sure how to define historical fiction. How true does regular fiction need to be to become ...

“Tómas Jónsson, Bestseller” by Guðbergur Bergsson [Why This Book Should Win]

This afternoon’s entry in the “Why This Book Should Win” series is from writer and Russian translator, Andrea Gregovich. She also interviews literary translators about their new books for the Fiction Advocate blog. Tómas Jónsson, Bestseller by Guðbergur Bergsson, translated from Icelandic by Lytton Smith ...

“The Invented Part” by Rodrigo Fresán [Why This Book Should Win]

Between now and the announcement of the BTBA finalists on May 15th, we’ll be highlighting all 37 longlisted books in a series we call “Why This Book Should Win.” The first post is from BTBA judge and Ebenezer Books bookseller P.T. Smith. The Invented Part by Rodrigo Fresán, translated from the Spanish by Will ...

Two Month Review: #4.09: The Physics of Sorrow (Part VIII: “An Elementary Physics of Sorrow”)

This week, Chad and Brian are joined by Stiliana Milkova from Oberlin College to talk about the final sections of The Physics of Sorrow: “An Elementary Physics of Sorrow,” “Endings,” and “Epilogue.” They talk about the structure of the novel as a whole, about Chad’s favorite page in the book, about aging and ...

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Three Percent #139: The Local Scene

Chad and Tom reconvene to talk about self-published titles that stay local, the Best Translated Book Award longlists, the elitism of the industry, and how you should vote for Emma Ramadan’s translation of Not One Day for this year’s Albertine Prize. This week’s music is a snippet from the 13+ minute long Beach ...

A Quantum Spiral by Another Name (Part VII, Pgs 201-236)

Last week, Chad and Brian were joined by Rachel S. Cordasco of Speculative Fiction in Translation as they discussed Part VII, “Global Autumn,” of Georgi Gospodinov’s Physics of Sorrow. This section hits us from too many angles, from the relatable hilarity of having a phobia of being asked “how are you?” to trying ...

Best Translated Book Award 2018: The Longlists!

April 10, 2018—Celebrating its eleventh consecutive year of honoring literature in translation, the Best Translated Book Awards is pleased to announce the 2018 longlists for both fiction and poetry. Announced at The Millions, the lists include a diverse range of authors, languages, countries, and publishers. On the ...

Translation Database

Three Percent was named after the oft-cited statistic (first established by Bowker) that only 3% of books published in the U.S. are translations. We suspected that 3% number was a little high, but we had no way of confirming our suspicions--there were no real records of the number of translations published from year to ...

Catching up on Season Four of the Two Month Review

As you hopefully noticed, earlier this morning the eighth episode of the current season of the Two Month Review went live. This was the seventh straight week of talking about Georgi Gospodinov’s incredible novel, The Physics of Sorrow, which was translated from the Bulgarian by Angela Rodel. And the eighth write-up by ...

Two Month Review: #4.08: The Physics of Sorrow (Part VII: “Global Autumn”)

This week, Rachel Cordasco from Speculative Fiction in Translation and the Wisconsin Historical Society Press joined Chad and Brian for a fun conversation about part VII of Georgi Gospodinov’s The Physics of Sorrow. They talked about how this book invokes a variety of memories, hotel rooms, Eastern European self-deprecating ...

The Return of Gospodinov, the Curator (Part VI, Pgs 179-200)

This week for the Two Month Review of Georgi Gospodinov’s The Physics of Sorrow we’re looking at section six, “The Story Buyer,” which greets us with an up-front discussion of Gospodinov’s writing process along with more beautiful prose throughout a series of the darkest and most human stories in this collection ...

Scary Fiction [BTBA 2018]

This week’s Best Translated Book Award post is from Katarzyna (Kasia) Bartoszyńska, an English professor at Monmouth College, a translator (from Polish to English), most recently of Zygmunt Bauman’s and Stanisław Obirek’s _Of God and Man (Polity), and a former bookseller at the Seminary Co-op Bookstore in ...

A Myth with a Twist (Part V, Pgs 151-178)

Last week, Chad, Brian, and special guest Tom Flynn had a particularly boisterous discussion of Part V of The Physics of Sorrow that was as insightful towards the literature at hand as much as it was to learn sick burns for your friends with weak March Madness brackets. But between the trash talk and discussion of oysters, ...

This Headline’ll Make You MAD, MAD!

It’s fitting that I’m writing this post about a book called Trick as Stormy Daniels is on 60 Minutes? This is one of the daily reminders that life is not books, and that books aren’t as important as I make them out to be in my mind. Nothing matters, nothing makes sense. Guns and corruption are way more important than ...

Two Month Review: #4.06: The Physics of Sorrow (Part V: “The Green House”)

In addition to ripping on Chad and the poor showing by the Michigan State Spartans in the NCAA Tournament, Brian Wood and Tom Flynn (from Volumes Bookcafe) discuss the morality of animals, how this section of The Physics of Sorrow focuses more on the “animal” side of the minotaur, the mixture of lightness and sorrow in ...

Ties that Confine [BTBA 2018]

This week’s Best Translated Book Award post is from Lori Feathers, co-owner of Interabang Books in Dallas, TX. She’s also a freelance book critic and member of the National Book Critics Circle. Her recent reviews can be found at Words Without Borders, Full Stop, World Literature Today, Three Percent, Rain Taxi, and on ...

Gospodinov, the Curator; “The Physics of Sorrow,” the Time Capsule (Part IV, Pgs 119-150)

Last week, Chad, Brian, special guest Patrick Smith, and an insightful YouTube commentator discussed part IV of Georgi Gospodinov’s The Physics of Sorrow. This section, in many ways, brought us full circle to the nature of Gospodinov’s work by introducing us to the cultural phenomena of the time capsule, and the ...

9 Moments That Make “Tomb Song” the Frontrunner for the National Book Award in Translation

  Tomb Song by Julián Herbert, translated from the Spanish by Christina MacSweeney (Graywolf Press) Moment Number One “Technique, my boy,” says a voice in my head. “Shuffle the technique.” To hell with it: in her youth, Mamá was a beautiful half-breed Indian who had five husbands: a fabled pimp, a ...

Two Month Review: #4.05: The Physics of Sorrow (Part IV, Pgs 119-150)

This week, Patrick Smith joined Chad and Brian to talk about time capsules and their potential danger, nostalgia and the urge to collect, aliens, Chernobyl, and more. It was a very fun part of the book to discuss, and the three of them made the most of it, really digging into how The Physics of Sorrow is constructed, while ...

Pathways to Discovering the Obscure?

  The Life and Opinions of Zacharias Lichter by Matei Calinescu, translated from the Romanian by Adriana Calinescu and Breon Mitchell (New York Review Books) When I first started reading The Life and Opinions of Zacharias Lichter by Matei Calinescu, translated from the Romanian by Adriana Calinescu and Breon ...

Obsessive Empathetic-Somatic Syndrome and You (Part III)

On this week’s Two Month Review blog post, we’re exploring Part III: “The Yellow House” from Georgi Gospodinov’s The Physics of Sorrow. As was unanimous from the conversation between Chad, Brian, and Nick last week, this is where the magic of the book and the skill of Gospodinov as a writer truly start to shine. And ...

Two Month Review: #4.04: The Physics of Sorrow (Part III, Pgs 73-118)

To up the Bay Area sports content, we invited Nick Buzanski of Book Culture to come on and talk about one of his favorite sections of Georgi Gospodinov’s The Physics of Sorrow. They talk about community and storytelling, seeing movies in person, Gospodinov’s humor and beautiful writing, Gaustine’s wild ideas, sexy books ...

Context Is Everything

Given the length of yesterday’s post, I’m just going to jump right into things, starting with this handmade Excel spreadsheet showing the three-year rolling average of the total number of translations published in the first quarter (January-March) of every year since 2008.   That’s not the most illuminating ...

We are Minotaur, or: Eat your Darlings (Part II)

This week we’re following up from Chad, Brian, special guest Caitlin Baker (University Book Store in Seattle), and their discussion of Part II of Georgi Gospodinov’s The Physics of Sorrow, “Against an Abandonment: The Case of M.” Here, Gospodinov throws us for another loop, as we move from the halls of memory ...

Everyone Needs an Editor

Before I get into the meat of this post—which is basically just a bunch of quotes and a handful of observations—I wanted to check back in on something from an earlier essay. Back in January, I wrote about Leïla Slimani’s The Perfect Nanny and basically assumed that it would be a best-seller. (There was also a lot of ...

Two Month Review: #4.03: The Physics of Sorrow (Part II, Pgs 59-72)

Caitlin Baker of the University Book Store in Seattle joined Chad and Brian to talk about this very short section of Georgi Gospodinov’s The Physics of Sorrow. Mostly they talk about the constant conflicts between kids and their parent in myths. And eating children. But it’s not as gruesome as all that! Mostly they have a ...

Sorrow-Maker Gospodinov (Part 1, Pgs 1-58)

This week we will be looking at the opening section of Georgi Gospodinov’s The Physics of Sorrow. If you didn’t already, you can catch the conversation between Chad Post, Tom Roberge, and Brian Wood on this section of the book at Three Percent or on YouTube for the unedited, behind the scenes full audio-visual experience ...

Less Than Deadly Serious

Every spring, I teach a class on “World Literature & Translation” in which we read ~10 new translations, talk to as many of the translators as possible, and then the students have to choose one of the books to win their imaginary “Best Translated Book Award.” It’s a great exercise—trying to explain why they ...

Two Month Review: #4.02: The Physics of Sorrow (Part I, Pgs 1-58)

Chad and Brian are joined by Tom Roberge of Riffraff (and the Three Percent Podcast) to discuss the first section of Georgi Gospodinov’s The Physics of Sorrow. They talk about the book’s general conceit, the minotaur myth, Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, Eastern European history, fascism and communism, and much ...

Georgi Gospodinov and The Physics of Sorrow (Introduction)

Throughout this season of the Two Month Review, Santiago Morrice will be writing weekly pieces about the section of the book discussed on the previous week’s podcast. These will likely go a bit more in depth into the style and content of the novel itself, nicely complementing the podcasts. On last week’s podcast, Chad ...

Noble Expectations

When I first decided to undertake this project of writing about one 2018 translation a week, I knew that there would come a week in which I didn’t finish the book that I had planned to write about. This might be due to time constraints, or simply because I didn’t feel like finishing the book in question. Well, it took ...

Making the List [BTBA 2018]

This week’s Best Translated Book Award post is from Tara Cheesman, a freelance book critic and National Book Critics Circle member whose recent reviews can be found at The Rumpus, Book Riot, Los Angeles Review of Books, and Quarterly Conversation. Since 2009 she’s written the blog Reader At Large (formerly BookSexy ...

Two Month Review: #4.01: The Physics of Sorrow (Introduction)

The new season of the Two Month Review kicks off now with a general overview Georgi Gospodinov’s The Physics of Sorrow, one of the most beloved books Open Letter has ever published. Brian’s on the lam, or in witness protection, or something, so Open Letter senior editor Kaija Straumanis stepped in to talk about one of the ...

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Three Percent #138: This Is the Most This Podcast Ever

Alex Shepard from The New Republic joins Chad and Tom to discuss the state of book journalism, the new National Book Award for Translation, Chad’s annoying whining about BookMarks, Winter Institute, and more. It’s a fun episode that goes deep into some contemporary book publishing issues—and the disparity between the ...

An Imaginary Sabermetrics for Publishing

  Empty Set by Verónica Gerber Bicecci, translated from the Spanish by Christina MacSweeney (Coffee House) Although five books is most definitely a small sample size of throwaway proportions, out of the books that I’ve written about for this weekly “column,” Empty Set by Verónica Gerber Bicecci and ...

Love Is Colder than Death [BTBA 2018]

This week’s BTBA post is from Jeremy Kang, an avid reader, writer, artist, and photographer and freelance reviewer. He is interested in film, languages, culture, and history.   Bergeners by Tomas Espedal, Translated from the Norwegian by James Anderson (Seagull Books) “The Ballad of Denmark Square” A car ...

Interview with Madame Nielsen

The following is an excerpt from an interview that was conducted by David Damrosch and Delia Ungureanu—both of Harvard University—with Madame Nielsen in Copenhagen this past July. If you would like to see the entire piece, email me at chad.post [at] rochester.edu David Damrosch: Across your career, your several ...

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Three Percent #137: The Fire & the Fury Over No Amazon in Rochester

After a few weeks away from podcast, Chad and Tom reunite to talk about sales of Fire and Fury and its lasting impact, Milo’s edits, the TA First Translation Prize Shortlist, Rochester’s failure to land the new Amazon HQ, Wormwood, and more. For those keeping track as you listen, here’s the baffling video ...

The Translation Industry Is Frozen

Before getting into the February translations, data on what’s being published (or not being published), and all the random stuff, I wanted to point out a few modifications to the Translation Database at Publishers Weekly that were recently implemented. First off, when you’re entering a title, you can now ...

Never Fact-Check a Listicle

Back when I kicked off my 2018 Translations series I chose to include Frankenstein in Baghdad by Ahmed Saadawi as the fourth book from January I would read and review. And why not? It won the 2014 International Prize for Arabic Fiction1 and came with pretty high praise. “A haunting allegory of man’s savagery against man ...

Season 4 of the Two Month Review: The Physics of Sorrow

After a bit of a break for the holidays and whatnot, we’re BACK! Or about to be. Starting on February 15th, there will be all new episodes of the Two Month Review, this time focuses on The Physics of Sorrow by Georgi Gospodinov.   Probably the Open Letter title that Tom Roberge likes the best, The Physics of ...

Romain Gary's "The Kites" [BTBA 2018]

This week’s Best Translated Book Award post is from Mark Haber of Brazos Bookstore, an upstanding young citizen whose novel will be published by Coffee House next year. The Kites by Romain Gary, translated from the French by Miranda Richmond Mouillot (New Directions) Romain Gary’s final book (and my ...

The Best Sports Novels Match Sport and Style

On some old episode of NPR’s All Songs Considered, Robin Hilton and Bob Boilen talked about their unique irresistible song elements. Those bits in songs that aren’t the main hook, or even an integral part of the song itself, but, when they appear, automatically make you like a particular song. Like, for me, if ...

“Joyce y las gallinas” by Anna Ballbona

Joyce y las gallinas by Anna Ballbona 200 pgs. | pb | 9788433937261 | €17.90  Anagrama Reviewed by Brendan Riley   This review was originally published as a report on the book at New Spanish Books, and has been reprinted here with permission of the reviewer. The book was originally published in the Catalan ...

A Best-seller Should Be Divisive

When I came up with my plan of reading (and writing about) a new translation every week, I wanted to try and force myself to read books that I would normally just skip over. There are definitely going to be months filled with books by New Directions, Coffee House, Dalkey Archive, etc., but to write about just those titles ...

In Favor of Translator Afterwords

As dumb as the content might be, there’s something to be said for hot takes in the sports world. Or maybe not the takes themselves—again, always dumb, always misguided, always loaded with bad suppositions and overly confident writing—but rather the situation in which you get to dissect and dismantle a hot take. It’s ...

Tabucchi in Portugal: On Tabucchi’s “Viaggi e altri viaggi” [an essay by Jeanne Bonner]

Jeanne Bonner is a writer, editor and journalist, and translator from the Italian now based in Connecticut. In the fall, she began teaching Italian at the University of Connecticut where she is also working on several translation projects. You can find out more about Jeanne and her work at her website here. It’s a travel ...

Why Continue [BTBA 2018]

“Why am I reading this?” I ask myself this almost constantly. Sometimes the answer is obvious: when the book is a masterpiece, when the pleasure is so deep or constant that there’s little else I want. I treasure those books, but if it was the only reason I read a book, I wouldn’t read much. There are novels where the ...

It’s 2018 and Where Have the Translations Gone?

Now that the Translation Database is over at Publishers Weekly, and in a format that makes it both possible to update in real time1 and much easier to query, I want to use it as the basis of a couple new regular columns here at Three Percent. First off, I want to get back to running monthly previews of translations. But, ...

I Don’t Know If Hilbig Actually Uses the Word “Pace” Anywhere in His Novel Old Rendering Plant [BTBA 2018]

This week’s BTBA post is from Adam Hetherington. He lives and works in Tulsa, Oklahoma and is the author of the forthcoming novel Ontogeny Is Beautiful. My clever idea was to very briefly quote him in the title of this blog, then claim that any extended quotation does him a disservice. I was going to tell you ...

Two Month Review #3.10: Death in Spring (pgs. 119-150)

Here it is, the infamous live recording at McNally Jackson! There was a great turnout to hear Brian, María Christina, and I work our way through our thoughts about Death in Spring, Rodoreda’s overall stature, the banning of the color yellow, and much more. We had a great time doing this, and thanks again to McNally ...

“Lost in Translation: An Illustrated Compendium of Untranslatable Words from Around the World” by Ella Frances Sanders

Lost in Translation: An Illustrated Compendium of Untranslatable Words from Around the World by Ella Frances Sanders 112 pgs. | hc | 9781607747109 | $14.99 Ten Speed Press Reviewed by Kaija Straumanis   Hello and greetings in the 2017 holiday season! For those of you still looking for something to gift a ...

The Size of the World

The Size of the World by Branko Anđić translated from the Serbian by Elizabeth Salmore 208 pages | pb | 9788661452154 | $10.99 Reviewed by Jaimie Lau   Three generations of men—a storyteller, his father and his son—encompass this book’s world. . . . it is a world of historical confusion, illusion, ...

BTBA Gift Guide [BTBA 2018]

This post was compiled by BTBA judge P.T. Smith. From now until the announcement of the long list, we’ll be running one post a week from a BTBA judge, cycling through the nine of us. To launch those posts, just in time for the holidays (just in time, yes), here’s a gift guide. These are books that have stood out to ...

Two Month Review #3.9: Death in Spring (pgs. 69-118)

Mara Faye Lethem joins us this week to talk about Catalonia’s scatological obsession, the challenges of the current political situation, Max Besora’s wild novel, and Rodoreda’s triumphant return to the best-seller list. Then they get into a more autobiographical reading of this section of Death in Spring, a section ...

Breaking Things and Growing Up [Two Month Review]

This post should’ve gone up last Tuesday, December 12th, which happened to be the same day as our recording in front of a live audience at McNally Jackson. Although I did get some work done on the train ride to NYC, the Amtrak WiFi is garbage and crushed my hopes of writing this then. And Wednesday’s train ride ...

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Three Percent #136: The Riffraff Is Upon Us

Back at last! Chad and Tom reunite after a month in which Tom finished building an entire bookstore and bar, which is now open! In addition to talking about Riffraff’s first week of business, they talk about the NCIBA statement against publishers selling direct to consumers and institutions, about Tyrant Books tweeting ...

Two Month Review #3.8: Death in Spring (pgs. 28-68)

This week, fresh off a publication in the Boston Review, Jess Fenn (JR Fenn) joins Chad, Brian, and Best Translated Book Award judge Patrick Smith (P.T. Smith) to talk about the second part of Death in Spring. They trace a few motifs, talk about dystopias and literary world-building, and much more. Another very informative ...

Two Month Review #3.7: Death in Spring (pgs. 1-27)

Welcome to one of the strangest villages in all of fiction! Now that Chad and Brian have gone through the stories, they turn their attention to Rodoreda’s Death in Spring, which was published posthumously in 1986. They’re joined by Catalan researcher and translator Meg Berkobien and Anastasia Nikolis, who you ...

Two Month Review LIVE at McNally Jackson Next Tuesday (12/12/17)

For our final episode of the Rodoreda season, Brian and I will be taking the early morning train to NYC (seriously, it leaves at 5:41am, which is a time that exists) so that we can talk about Death in Spring in front of a live audience. At 7pm at McNally Jackson (52 Prince St.) we’ll be joined by María Cristina ...

Myths, Rituals, Fears in Death in Spring [Two Month Review]

Coming up on this Thursday’s Two Month Review podcast I join Brian Wood, Meg Berkobien, and Anastasia Nikolis to talk about the opening section of Death in Spring, the first Rodoreda novel that Open Letter ever published. To preface that conversation (which is a lot of gushing over her prose and ideas, along with some ...

Two Month Review #3.6: Selected Stories (pgs. 208-255)

After yelling at Skype a bunch, Chad, Brian, and special guest Tom Flynn of Volumes Bookcafe discuss the merits of some of Rodoreda’s final stories, especially “The Thousand Franc Bill,” “Paralysis,” and “The Salamander.” Then they manage to slightly diss groups upon groups of ...

All the Posts and Podcasts for "The Invented Part" Two Month Review

I’ve been meaning to do this for a while, and here it is: A single Word Document collecting all the posts about The Invented Part along with all of the Two Month Review podcasts. What I did was list every single essay with a link to the corresponding podcast, followed by the complete interview that Will Vanderhyden ...

Everybody Loves a List [Two Month Review]

Coming up on this Thursday’s Two Month Review podcast I join Brian Wood and Tom Flynn to talk about the last six stories in Rodoreda’s Selected Stories. (And mildly insult a bunch of different people. As you do.) I’m not prefacing that conversation at all in the post below. As always, you can get ...

Two Month Review #3.5: Selected Stories (pgs. 144-207)

After doing a bit of a deeper dive into the situation in Catalonia—and discussing the LIVE recording that will take place on December 12th at the new McNally Jackson—Chad and Brian are joined by George Carroll to talk about this batch of Rodoreda’s stories. Although a couple of the stories discussed in this ...

Looking at Some Rodoreda Criticism [Two Month Review]

Coming up on this Thursday’s Two Month Review podcast I join Brian Wood and George Carroll to talk about some of the stranger, more war influenced, Rodoreda stories. Specifically, we talk about “Before I Die,” “Ada Liz,” “On a Dark Night,” “Night and Fog,” and ...

Two Month Review #3.4: Selected Stories (pgs. 103-143)

Things are a bit rough for Chad the morning after the Open Letter gala, but he powers through and talks about this new phase of Rodoreda’s stories. He and Brian break down some of the more challenging of her stories, including “Noctural” and “The Bath,” and talk about what does and doesn’t ...

Two Events in Toronto!

If you listen to either of our podcasts, you probably know that I’ve been traveling a whole lot this fall. Spain, Poland, Minneapolis (twice!), and Brazil. All of these trips have been fantastic, and you can expect some posts about Poland and Brazil in the near future, but in the meantime, I wanted to tell you about my ...

Trying to Understand "Nocturnal" [Two Month Review]

Coming up on this Thursday’s Two Month Review podcast Brian and I go it alone and talk about six Rodoreda stories: “The Beginning,” “Nocturnal,” “The Red Blouse,” “The Fate of Lisa Sperling,” “The Bath,” and “On the Train.” On that podcast, we ...

Two Month Review #3.3: Selected Stories (pgs. 51-102)

This week, Mark Haber of Brazos Bookstore and the Best Translated Book Award committee joins Chad and Brian to talk about the next seven stories in Mercè Rodoreda’s collection. Although they touch on a number of them, a lot of time is spent focusing on “Carnival” and the literary antecedents to Rodoreda. ...

2018 International Dublin Literary Award Longlist

We talked (and joked) about this on the podcast we recorded this morning, but the International Dublin Literary Award longlist was announced earlier today. A mere 150 titles (?!), this is a daunting array of books. It’s always a bit overwhelming, and the website always leaves a bit to be desired, but we are proud to ...

Tracing Rodoreda's Motifs in "Carnival" [Two Month Review]

Coming up on this Thursday’s Two Month Review podcast Brian and I talk about the next seven stories in Selected Stories by Mercè Rodoreda (with special guest Mark Haber!): “Afternoon at the Cinema,” “Ice Cream,” “Carnival,” “Engaged,” “In a Whisper,” ...

Two Month Review #3.2: Selected Stories (pgs. 1-50)

This week, Chad and Brian dive into the first six stories in Mercè Rodoreda’s Selected Stories and call up Quim Monzó, arguably the most important contemporary Catalan author, to talk about the precision and emotionality in her work. They also talk about Catalan literature as a whole, A Thousand Morons, Catalan ...

Three Observations and One Story [Two Month Review]

Coming up on this Thursday’s Two Month Review podcast Brian and I talk about the first six stories in Mercè Rodoreda’s Selected Stories : “Blood,” “Threaded Needle,” “Summer,” “Guinea Fowls,” “The Mirror,” and “Happiness.” Which is only the ...

"A Working Woman" Happy Hour with the CAT

Have a drink on us and learn about the newest release from Two Lines Press. Join us for happy hour at the CAT and Two Lines offices to celebrate the release of A Working Woman. Stop by after work for wine and tapas and hear readings from the book by Two Lines staff. A Working Woman by Elvira Navarro, translated by ...

Two Month Review #3.1: Reunited! (Intro to Mercè Rodoreda)

Brian Wood is BACK. Complete with a poem he wrote in his time away from the Two Month Review . . . In the introduction to season three, Chad and Brian talk about Catalan literature (briefly), Mercè Rodoreda’s career and comps, possible approaches to discussing Rodoreda’s stories, and more. As noted ...

“I Am a Season That Does Not Exist in the World” by Kim Kyung-Ju

I Am a Season That Does Not Exist in the World by Kim Kyung-Ju translated from the Korean by Jake Levine 144 pgs. | pb |9781939568144 | $14.95 Black Ocean Reviewed by Jacob Rogers   Kim Kyung Ju’s I Am a Season That Does Not Exist in the World, translated from the Korean by Jake Levine, is a wonderful ...

Introducing Mercè Rodoreda [Two Month Review]

If you prefer, you can also download this post as a PDF document. As you hopefully already know, the third season of the Two Month Review podcast will be dedicated to Mercè Rodoreda. Since most of her books are relatively slim (a.k.a., of readable length unlike the beasts that we’ve worked through in seasons one and ...

Dominique Fabre & David Ulin in Conversation

The Last Bookstore is pleased to present French writer Dominique Fabre, author of Guys Like Me and The Waitress Was New, in conversation with noted book critic and author David Ulin. Join us to hear Ulin and Fabre talk about Paris lonelier than you’ve ever experienced it, and to hear Fabre read from his latest ...

Children’s Literature in Translation: Celebrating Elsewhere Editions with Roger Mello and Daniel Hahn

Translated by children’s literature guru Daniel Hahn, You Can’t Be Too Careful! explores an idea that author and illustrator Mello had as a child: that one small action can have marvelous consequences. Through wordplay, dreamlike images, and a playful lightness of touch, You Can’t Be Too Careful! expresses serious ...

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Three Percent #134: The Books We Read and Why We Read Them

After an impassioned pitch for why you should support Open Letter’s annual campaign, Chad and Tom talk about ALTA, about how best to promote international literature to common readers, about the moral argument for reading translations, about Tim Parks and this article on Han Kang’s Human Acts, and about how ...

Help Support Open Letter!

If you’re friends with us on Facebook (either me personally, or the press itself), or visit the Twitter on a regular basis, you’re hopefully aware that Open Letter just launched an annual fundraising campaign to support our 10-year anniversary. And if you’re not already familiar with this, that’s ...

Two Month Review #2.10: 17, composition book (Tómas Jónsson, Bestseller, Pages 361-411)

Here it is—the infamous LIVE recording of the Two Month Review! Chad and Lytton travelled all the way to Brooklyn to record this episode as part of the “Taste of Iceland Festivities.” As a result, they recap the book as a whole and reflect on the speech from Iceland’s First Lady that prefaced the ...

Two Month Review #2.9: fourteen, fifteenth book, 16. notebook (Tómas Jónsson, Bestseller, Pages 306-360)

Icelandic novelist and poet Kári Tulinius joins Chad and Lytton this week to talk about three of the darkest sections of Tómas Jónsson, Bestseller and the history of this novel’s reception in Iceland. They also talk about the recent scandal that brought down the Icelandic government—and how it ties into Tómas ...

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Three Percent #133: From Catalonia to South Korea

After a bit of a hiatus, Chad and Tom are back to talk about Riffraff’s new location, break down Catalonian politics and the recent editorial gathering the Ramon Llull Institute put on in Barcelona, and somewhat pick apart this article about Deborah Smith’s translation of The Vegetarian. This week’s music is Day I ...

Wojciech Nowicki Tour!

This evening, at Volumes Bookcafe in Chicago, Wojciech Nowicki’s U.S. tour for Salki kicks off. A four-city tour spanning the next ten days, this is your one opportunity in 2017 to meet the author of the book about which Andrzej Stasiuk said, “Your skin will crawl with pleasure from ...

Two Month Review #2.8: this is the eleventh book, my 12th composition book, book 13 (Tómas Jónsson, Bestseller, Pages 282-305)

CORRECTION: Throughout this podcast, we joke about having recorded the final episode of the season live at Spoonbill & Sugartown last weekend. This is a lie! The live event will take place THIS SATURDAY (September 30, 2017) as part of the Taste of Iceland events. Eliza Reid, Iceland’s First Lady, will start things ...

Two Month Review #2.7: tenth composition book (Tómas Jónsson, Bestseller, Pages 238-281)

This week Patrick Smith (Best Translated Book Award judge, The Scofield) joins Chad and Lytton to talk about this incredibly powerful section of the book, which raises all sorts of topical ideas about adhering to national myths and the problems of masculinity. This is also the section where Hitler shows up, and where a ...

Two Month Review #2.6: IX. class A, tenth composition book (Tómas Jónsson, Bestseller, Pages 200-238)

This week Norwegian translator and ALTA Fellowship recipient David Smith joins Chad and Lytton to talk about the next forty pages of Tómas Jónsson, Bestseller. The two sections covered this week are wildly different from one another, opening with a much more fragmented, poetic bit then transitioning through a hilarious, yet ...

Two Month Review LIVE!!!

Over the next couple weeks, you’re going to hear me mess up this announcement on podcast after podcast, but on Saturday, September 30th at 3:30pm Lytton and I will be recording the final episode of the second season of the Two Month Review LIVE at Spoonbill & Sugartown in Brooklyn. This will be part of the ...

“Kingdom Cons” by Yuri Herrera

Kingdom Cons by Yuri Herrera translated from the Spanish by Lisa Dillman 220 pgs. | pb | 9781908276926 | $13.95  And Other Stories Reviewed by Sarah Booker   Yuri Herrera is overwhelming in the way that he sucks readers into his worlds, transporting them to a borderland that is at once mythical in its ...

Two Month Review #2.5: tómas's seventh composition book, 8. (Tómas Jónsson, Bestseller, Pages 140-199)

This week author and translator Idra Novey joins Chad and Lytton to talk about one of the most challenging sections of the book so far. Not only is there a proliferation of children whose voices constantly interrupt Tómas’s thoughts, but there are a few more unsettling bits that raise questions about what we should ...

Publisher Profile: Nordisk Books

Summer intern David M. Smith, translator from the Norwegian, 2017 ALTA Fellow, future guest on the Two Month Review, conducted this interview with Duncan Lewis of Nordisk Books. Proving there’s more to Scandinavia than macabre crime fiction (not that there’s anything wrong with that) and—hygge (always hygge), ...

Another take on “The Invented Part” by Rodrigo Fresán

The Invented Part by Rodrigo Fresán translated from the Spanish by Will Vanderhyden 552 pgs. | pb | 9781940953564 | $18.95 Open Letter Books Reviewed by Tiffany Nichols   Imagine reading a work that suddenly and very accurately calls out you, the reader, for not providing your full attention to the act of ...

Two Month Review #2.4: fifth composition book, VI. (Tómas Jónsson, Bestseller, Pages 69-139)

This week, Jacob Rogers—translator from the Galician and bookseller at Malaprop’s in Asheville, North Carolina—joins Chad and Lytton to talk about Tómas Jónsson’s next two “composition books.” Included in these sections are a long bit about the “board” and the general ...

Perceived Humiliations, The Board, and the Dangers of Desire [Tómas Jónsson, Bestseller]

On this week’s Two Month Review podcast, we’ll be discussing the fifth composition book and VI (pages 69-139) from Tómas Jónsson, Bestseller. As a bit of preparation, below you’ll find some initial thoughts, observations, and quotes. You can also download this post as a PDF document. As always, ...

Best Translated Book Awards 2018: Judges, Dates, and More!

It’s that time again! Listed below are all the details for this year’s Best Translated Book Award juries! Award Dates In terms of dates, this is subject to change, but currently we’re planning on announcing the longlists for fiction and poetry on Tuesday, April 10th, the finalists on Tuesday, May ...

Two Month Review #2.3: IV composition book (Tómas Jónsson, Bestseller, Pages 32-68)

In this episode—covering Tómas Jónsson’s fourth composition book—a number of the themes of the overall novel are put on display: Tómas’s relationship to his body, the way he tries to create a narrative for himself, possible injustices he’s suffered during his life, the way his lodgers are like ...

The Body, Biographies, and Workplace Injustice! [Tómas Jónsson, Bestseller]

On this week’s Two Month Review podcast, we’ll be discussing the IV composition book (pages 32-68) from Tómas Jónsson, Bestseller. As a bit of preparation, below you’ll find some initial thoughts, observations, and quotes. You can also download this post as a PDF document. As always, you can get ...

Women in Translation Month [Throwback No.2]

As many of you may have noticed already, August is widely considered Women in Translation Month (look for the #WITMonth hashtag basically anywhere). Since Open Letter has published its fair share of baller women authors over the past ten years, we thought we’d take a few posts to highlight a handful of our all-time favorite ...

Two Month Review #2.2: Biography through Third Composition Book (Tómas Jónsson, Bestseller, Pages 1-31)

This week, Ph.D. candidate Anastasia Nikolis joins Chad and Lytton to talk about the real meat of Tómas Jónsson, Bestseller—chamber pot usage! They also discuss the way our grumpy narrator’s mind works, the way he finds beauty in ambiguity, how Lytton translated a very specific word game, and a couple cues to ...

The Biggest Update to the Translation Databases Ever (And Some More Women in Translation Data)

OK, I’m supposed to be packing for my summer vacation right now, so this is going to be a lot shorter than it otherwise would be. But! I just updated the Translation Databases! Not just the spreadsheets for 2016 and 2017, but every spreadsheet I’ve ever run. There’s up to date info on 2008-2018 AND new ...

Interview with Jean-Marie Blas de Roblès

To celebrate the official pub date for Jean-Marie Blas de Roblès’s Island of Point Nemo, you’ll find an interview below between the translator, Hannah Chute (who received a Banff Translation Fellowship to work on this book) and the author himself. You can get the book now either through our website, or from ...

Women in Translation Month [Throwback No.1]

As many of you may have noticed already, August is widely considered Women in Translation Month (look for the #WITMonth hashtag basically anywhere). Since Open Letter has published its fair share of baller women authors over the past ten years, we thought we’d take a few posts to highlight a handful of our all-time ...

Where (and When) Are We? [Tómas Jónsson, Bestseller]

On this week’s Two Month Review podcast, we’ll be discussing the Biography, first composition book, second book, and third composition book (pages 1-31) from Tómas Jónsson, Bestseller. As a bit of preparation, below you’ll find some initial thoughts, observations, and quotes. You can also download this ...

Two Month Review #2.1: Introduction to Tómas Jónsson, Bestseller

And with this episode, we launch the second season of the Two Month Review! Over a ten-week period, we will be breaking down Tómas Jónsson, Bestseller by Guðbergur Bergsson, helping explain and explore what makes this book (often referred to as “Iceland’s Ulysses”) so influential and interesting. This ...

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Three Percent #132: Women in Translation Month, Genres, Co-opting a Style, and Garbage Plates

On this episode of the Three Percent Podcast, Chad and Tom talk about Peter Straub’s 2010 article about genre, the existence (or not) of translation as a genre, Hudson Bookstore’s attempt to co-op the indie bookstore “ethos,” and this stupid infographic. They also touch on Women in Translation month ...

Women in Translation Month 2017

I just finished entering in all the data for the Translation Database (super huge mega astonishing absolute extreme update to come), I thought I’d run a few quick reports for Women in Translation Month. First off, the big one: For the data I’ve collected between 2008-20181 only 28.7% of the translations in the ...

"Tómas Jónsson, Bestseller" Reading Schedule [Two Month Review]

The first episode in the new season of the Two Month Review will release on Thursday, and in case you haven’t already heard, for the next ten weeks we’ll be discussing Tómas Jónsson, Bestseller by Guðbergur Bergsson. We have a Goodreads group set up to talk about about this, so feel free to join in and ...

New Jacket Copy for "The Invented Part" from Chad and Brian

As you probably heard on the most recent episode of the Two Month Review, Chad and Brian used a “guide to writing and publishing” to create new, focus-group approved, jacket copy for Fresán’s The Invented Part. In case it was hard to follow on the audio amid all the laughter, here are their respective ...

The Little Buddhist Monk & The Proof

Aira continues to surprise and delight in his latest release from New Directions, which collects two novellas: the first, The Little Buddhist Monk, a fairly recent work from 2005, and The Proof, an earlier work from 1989. There are a number of similarities to be sure—they both revolve around the sudden but intense ...

Two Month Review #12: The Author Himself!

As a special bonus episode, both Rodrigo Fresán and Will Vanderhyden joined Chad and Brian to talk about The Invented Part as a whole, the first season of the Two Month Review, what’s next in the trilogy, technology’s revenge on Rodrigo, David Lynch, and, how to write jacket copy. Feel free to comment on ...

Agnes

The narrator of Peter Stamm’s first novel, Agnes, originally published in 1998 and now available in the U.S. in an able translation by Michael Hofmann, is a young Swiss writer who has come to Chicago to research a book on American luxury trains. In the reading room of the Public Library he meets Agnes, a graduate student in ...

Two Month Review #11: "The Imaginary Person" (The Invented Part, Pages 441-552)

We did it! After two months, eleven episodes, and a half dozen different guests, Brian and Chad finished their discussion of Rodrigo Fresán’s The Invented Part! Joining them this week to wrap things up is Valerie Miles, translator, publisher, co-founder of Granta en Español, and editor of A Thousand Forests in One ...

Interview with Rodrigo Fresán (Part V)

If you’d rather read this podcast in one document, just dowload this PDF. Otherwise, click here to find all four of the earlier pieces along with a bunch of other Two Month Review posts about The Invented Part. Special thanks to Will Vanderhyden for conducting—and translating—this ...

Class

The thing about Class is that I don’t know what the hell to think about it, yet I can’t stop thinking about it. I’ll begin by dispensing with the usual info that one may want to know when considering adding the book to their “to read” list. Written by Francesco Pacifico. Translated by Francesco Pacifico. Published ...

Airplanes, Hyphellipses, and What's Next? [The Invented Part]

On this week’s Two Month Review podcast, we’ll be discussing the seventh, and final, part of The Invented Part (“The Imaginary Person,” pages 441-552). As a bit of preparation, below you’ll find some initial thoughts, observations, and quotes. You can also download this post as a PDF ...

Two Month Review #10: "Meanwhile, Once Again, Beside the Museum Stairway, Under a Big Sky" (The Invented Part, Pages 405-440)

It’s another 2MR review with just Chad and Brian! Similar to the last guest-less podcast, this one goes a bit off the rails . . . Although this time around it gets a lot darker, as they talk about Chekov, Girl, Night, Swimming Pool, Etc., a scream descending from the skies, John Cheever’s writing prompt, and much ...

I See You [The Invented Part]

On this week’s Two Month Review podcast, we’ll be discussing the sixth part of The Invented Part (“Meanwhile, Once Again, Beside the Museum Stairway, Under a Big Day,” pages 405-440). As a bit of preparation, below you’ll find some initial thoughts, observations, and quotes. You can also ...

Two Month Review #9: "Life After People, or Notes For a Brief History of Progressive Rock and Science Fiction" (The Invented Part, Pages 361-404)

On this week’s Two Month Review, Tom Roberge from Riffraff and the Three Percent Podcast joins Chad and Brian talk about 2001: A Space Odyssey, Pink Floyd, potential errors and non-errors, cultural touchstones that serve to define friendships, the overall structure of this chapter of The Invented Part, and Tom’s ...

Interview with Rodrigo Fresán (Part IV)

This is the fourth of a five-part interview with Rodrigo Fresán. Earlier parts are all avialble on the Three Percent website (I, II, and III), as are all other Two Month Review posts. Special thanks to Will Vanderhyden for conducting—and translating—this interview. Will Vanderhyden: The narrator of ...

"Tomás Jónsson, Bestseller" Release Day!

Fans of challenging, cerebral, modernist epics, rejoice! Today marks the official release date of Tómas Jónsson, Bestseller by Guðbergur Bergsson, a masterpiece of twentieth-century Icelandic literature, the fifth Icelandic work Open Letter has published to date. This is a book that is sure to launch a thousand ...

Structure, Time, Memory, and the Sadness of a Disillusioned Writer [The Invented Part]

On this week’s Two Month Review podcast, we’ll be discussing the fifth part of The Invented Part (“Life After People, or Notes for a Brief History of Progressive Rock and Science Fiction,” pages 361-404). As a bit of preparation, below you’ll find some initial thoughts, observations, and ...

Two Month Review #8: "Many Fêtes, or Study for a Group Portrait with Broken Decalogues" (The Invented Part, Pages 301-360)

On this week’s Two Month Review, Chad and Brian talk about F. Scott Fitzgerald and Tender Is the Night, puzzles, how to properly introduce the show, the Modern Library list of top 100 novels of the twentieth century, Booth Tarkington, and much more more. Feel free to comment on this episode—or on the book in ...

The Inverted Part [Two Month Review: The Invented Part]

On this week’s Two Month Review podcast, we’ll be discussing the fourth part of The Invented Part (“Many Fêtes, or Study for a Group Portrait with Broken Decalogues,” pagest 301-360). As a bit of preparation, below you’ll find some initial thoughts, observations, and quotes. You can also ...

Open Letter Pop-Up at Hart's Grocery!

For the first time ever, this Saturday (July 1st), Open Letter Books will have a pop-up shop in Downtown Rochester. From 12-2 and from 4-6, we’ll be outside of Hart’s Local Grocers displaying a wide selection of our books. We’ve never done anything like this before, but since it’s the weekend of ...

Portraits of Rage and Mortality [Two Month Review: The Invented Part]

On this week’s Two Month Review podcast, we’ll be discussing the third part (“A Few Things You Happen to Think About When All You Want Is to Think About Nothing”) of The Invented Part . As a bit of preparation, below you’ll find some initial thoughts, observations, and quotes. You can also ...

Two Month Review #6: "The Place Where the Sea Ends So the Forest Can Begin: Part 3" (The Invented Part, Pages 208-230)

This week, Speculative Fiction in Translation founder and Best Translated Book Award judge Rachel Cordasco joins Chad and Brian to talk about the nature of time, deals with the devil, conflagrations, and writerly desires, or, in other words, the third part of “The Place Where the Sea Ends So the Forest Can Begin” ...

Interview with Rodrigo Fresán (Part III)

You can read the first part of this interview here, the second here, and you can click here for all Two Month Review posts. Special thanks to Will Vanderhyden for conducting—and translating—this interview. Will Vanderhyden: Your fiction wears its influences on its sleeve, but not only do you fully ...

Who Wants to Be a Writer? [Two Month Review: The Invented Part]

On this week’s Two Month Review podcast, we’ll be discussing the third chapter of the second part (“The Place Where the Sea Ends So the Forest Can Begin”) of The Invented Part . As a bit of preparation, below you’ll find some initial thoughts, observations, and quotes. You can also download ...

Can Xue in the New Yorker!

In case you missed it, last week Can Xue was profiled in the New Yorker. This is so well-deserved—Can Xue is a treasure—and proof positive that the New Yorker has good literary taste. (Especially on the Page Turner blog.) The only other thing I want to say is that the author of this piece, Evan James, ...

Win a Copy of "Island of Point Nemo" from Goodreads!

Coming out in August, Island of Point Nemo, Jean-Marie Blas de Roblès latest book, is an incredible trip. It’s made up of two story lines: one about the crazy (and semi-evil) workers at a ebook manufacturing plant, the other a Sherlock Holmes-style globetrotting story built out of references and allusions to all sorts ...

Two Month Review #5: "The Place Where the Sea Ends So the Forest Can Begin: Part 2" (The Invented Part, Pages 99-207)

This week’s episode is all about Penelope and her experiences with the Karmas. (And a Big Green Cow.) A lot of the Odyssey, Wuthering Heights, and William Burroughs are in this section, which is hilariously dissected by Brian, Chad, and their guest, Tom Flynn, the manager of Volumes Bookcafe in Chicago. One of the ...

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Three Percent #130: French Fun and BookExpo

Delayed for a couple weeks due to travel and work schedules, Chad and Tom are back to talk about the inaugural Albertine Prize (won by Antoine Volodine’s Bardo or Not Bardo, translated by J. T. Mahany), Houellebecq’s no show, and BookExpo and the forthcoming New York Rights Fair. They also talk a bit about the Two ...

Let's Get Weird [Two Month Review: The Invented Part]

On last Thursday’s Two Month Review podcast we covered the opening to the second section of The Invented Part, and coming up later this week we’ll be covering pages 99-207—the second section of “The Place Where the Sea Ends So the Forest Can Begin.” As a bit of preparation, below you’ll ...

Two Month Review #4: "The Place Where the Sea Ends So the Forest Can Begin: Part 1" (The Invented Part, Pages 46-98)

This week, author and journalist Mark Binelli joins Chad and Brian to discuss the first part of the second section of Rodrigo Fresán’s The Invented Part. In “The Place Where the Seas Ends So the Forest Can Begin,” we meet The Young Man and The Young Woman, who are making a movie about The Writer after his ...

Interview with Rodrigo Fresán (Part II)

You can read the first part of this interview here, and you can click here for all Two Month Review posts. Special thanks to Will Vanderhyden for conducting—and translating—this interview. Will Vanderhyden: Now, this is a question that, in a way, the book takes as its point of departure—so it might make ...

Reflections and Mirrors [Two Month Review: The Invented Part]

On last Thursday’s Two Month Review podcast we covered the first forty-five pages of The Invented Part, and coming up later this week we’ll be covering pages 46-98—the first section of “The Place Where the Sea Ends So the Forest Can Begin.” As a bit of preparation, below you’ll find some ...

Two Month Review #3: "The Real Character" (The Invented Part, Pages 1-45)

This week, Jeremy Garber from Powells Books joins Chad and Brian to discuss the first section of Rodrigo Fresán’s The Invented Part. This section, entitled “The Real Character,” introduces us to the main character of the book—known here as The Boy, and later as The Writer—as well as some of the ...

Interview with Rodrigo Fresán (Part I)

As you hopefully already know, for the next two months we’ll be producing a weekly podcast and a series of posts all about Rodrigo Fresán’s The Invented Part. All grouped under the title “Two Month Review,” this initiative is part book club, part exercise in slow reading, and part opportunity to ...

Some Notes on "The Real Character" [Two Month Review: The Invented Part]

The first Two Month Review podcast went up just over a week ago, and the next one—covering the first section of the book, “The Real Character” (pages 1-45)—will be posted next Thursday, June 1st. Prior to each week’s podcast, we hope to have at least some sort of overview post that offers some ...

“The Invented Part” by Rodrigo Fresán

The Invented Part by Rodrigo Fresán translated from the Spanish by Will Vanderhyden 552 pgs. | pb | 9781940953564 | $18.95 Open Letter Books Reviewed by Chad W. Post   Given all the Two Month Review posts and everything else, hopefully you’ll have heard of Rodrigo Fresán’s The Invented Part by now. But ...

Two Month Review #2: Introducing Rodrigo Fresán's "The Invented Part"

Translator Will Vanderhyden joins Chad and Brian to provide an overview of Rodrigo Fresán’s work—especially The Invented Part. They discuss some of his earlier works (including Kensington Gardens, which is available in an English translation), different pop culture touchstones running throughout his oeuvre, ...

Win a Copy of "Tómas Jónsson, Bestseller" by Gudbergur Bergsson from GoodReads!

As you may already know, Tómas Jónsson, Bestseller, translated by Lytton Smith, is going to be the second Two Month Review title. This “season” will take place in August and September, but you can get a head start by winning a copy of the book through GoodReads. If you’re a GoodReads user, all you have to ...

Margaret Jull Costa and Robin Patterson on their BTBA Win

I asked the winners of this year’s Best Translated Book Award to send in some comments—or a video—about the prize, their project, etc. The first to arrive is the following from Margaret Jull Costa and Robin Patterson about their translation of Lúcio Cardoso’s Chronicle of the Murdered House. We ...

"Bardo or Not Bardo" Wins the Inaugural Albertine Prize!

Antoine Volodine’s Bardo or Not Bardo, translated by J. T. Mahany has won the first ever Albertine Prize—a reader’s choice award celebrating contemporary French fiction. The book had to go through two rounds of public voting, moving from a longlist of ten titles, to a three title shortlist before eventually ...

Two Voices Salon: Translator Simon Wickhamsmith on Mongolian Poet Tseveendorjin Oidov

Join us for a conversation with Mongolian translator Simon Wickhamsmith and Scott Esposito about Wickhamsmith’s translation of Tseveendorjin Oidov’s The End of the Dark Era. Wickhamsmith was awarded a PEN/Heim Translation grant for his work on the book, and he’ll talk about how he became interested in Mongolian ...

Auto-Fiction @ PEN World Voices

Each of these three authors has written work that falls on the spectrum of memoir – some is more fictionalized, and some stays truer to their authors’ lives and experiences. Each author will be reading from and speaking about their work. With Bae Suah, Marcelino Truong, and Oddný Eir. For more information on this ...

"Chronicle of the Murdered House" and "Extracting the Stone of Madness" Win the 2017 BTBA!

The tenth annual Best Translated Book Awards were announced this evening at The Folly in New York City, and at The Millions with Lúcio Cardoso’s Chronicle of the Murdered House, translated from the Portuguese by Margaret Jull Costa and Robin Patterson, winning for fiction, and Alejandra Pizarnik’s Extracting the Stone of ...

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Three Percent #129: Two Missteps from Disaster

In this week’s episode, following an unintentional s***storm started on social media, Chad and Tom talk about the obligations of publishers and freelance translators, the cascade of things that can go wrong in the publication process, the necessary sales needed for translations to break even (and how likely that ...

2017 BTBA Celebration Party TONIGHT!!

The winners of this year’s Best Translated Book Awards will be announced at 7pm tonight, both on The Millions and live at The Folly (92 W. Houston, NYC). Tom Roberge will be emcee, a number of judges will be there to make the announcements and celebrate the two winning titles. In case you need to be reminded of ...

Two Month Review #1: General Introduction

Punctuated by toddler Isak’s comments about Barney, Chad Post, Brian Wood, and Lytton Smith discuss the main motivations behind the upcoming “Two Month Review” podcasts, which will be released weekly starting in later this month, and will focus on a single book for a eight or nine week period. As noted ...

Three Percent Podcast Launches "Two Month Review"

After six years and almost one hundred and thirty episodes, the Three Percent Podcast is expanding to include new weekly “Two Month Review” mini-episodes. Each “season” of the Two Month Review podcasts will highlight a different Open Letter book, reading it slowly over the course of eight to nine episodes. ...

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Three Percent #128: Remembering, Rereading, Rewatching

In this week’s episode, Chad and Tom talk about their first ever episode, the new Granta list of Best Young American Novelists,, and books they’re looking forward to reading this summer. They also introduce the “Two Month Review”—a new series of weekly mini-episodes launching on ...

Chad's Very Unscientific BTBA Odds [BTBA 2017]

When I started posting the “Why This Book Should Win”: entries for this year’s longlisted BTBA titles, I decided to include mostly random, totally unscientific odds for each book both to be shortlisted and to win the whole award. Taken in the aggregate, these odds made no sense. Combined, the ten fiction ...

Bae Suah @ Princeton University

Bae Suah will be at Princeton University and together with Professor Steven Chung host a reading and discussion about Suah’s books “Recitation” and “A Greater ...

Why These Poetry Finalists Should Win [BTBA 2017]

Following on yesterday’s post on the fiction finalists, here are links to the “Why This Book Should Win” posts for the five poetry finalists along with short blurbs about what makes each book so good. And once again, if you want to weigh in with your own thoughts, feel free to post to the BTBA Facebook ...

Why These Fiction Finalists Should Win [BTBA 2017]

We’re just over a week away from the announcement of the Best Translated Book Award winners1, so it’s a good time to start ramping up the speculation. Tomorrow I’ll post about the poetry finalists, and give updated odds on the entire shortlist on Thursday, but for today, I thought it would be worthwhile to ...

A Greater Music

A Greater Music is the first in a line of steady and much-anticipated releases by Bae Suah from key indie presses (this one published by Open Letter). Building off of the interest of 2016 Best Translated Book Award longlist nominee Nowhere to Be Found, Bae Suah is back, this time with Deborah Smith, translator of the Man ...

Win a Copy of "Salki" by Wojiech Nowicki from GoodReads!

As you can see below, we’re giving away 15 copies of Nowicki’s Salki via GoodReads. Translated by University of Rochester graduate Jan Pytalksi, Nowicki’s book has been praised by the likes of such literary luminaries as Andrzej Stasiuk, who said, “It all blends here unexpectedly: that past and memory ...

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Three Percent #127: The 2017 Best Translated Book Award Finalists

Riffraff co-owner and BTBA poetry judge Emma Ramadan joins Chad and Tom to talk about the fifteen finalists for this year’s Best Translated Book Awards. After breaking down the poetry and fiction lists, the three talk about the new New York Times Match Book column and the value of booksellers and librarians. This ...

“A Spare Life” by Lidija Dimkovska [Why This Book Should Win]

Between the announcement of the Best Translated Book Award longlists and the unveiling of the finalists, we will be covering all thirty-five titles in the Why This Book Should Win series. Enjoy learning about all the various titles selected by the fourteen fiction and poetry judges, and I hope you find a few to purchase and ...

“Extracting the Stone of Madness” by Alejandra Pizarnik [Why This Book Should Win]

Between the announcement of the Best Translated Book Award longlists and the unveiling of the finalists, we will be covering all thirty-five titles in the Why This Book Should Win series. Enjoy learning about all the various titles selected by the fourteen fiction and poetry judges, and I hope you find a few to purchase and ...

“tasks” by Víctor Rodríguez Núñez [Why This Book Should Win]

Between the announcement of the Best Translated Book Award longlists and the unveiling of the finalists, we will be covering all thirty-five titles in the Why This Book Should Win series. Enjoy learning about all the various titles selected by the fourteen fiction and poetry judges, and I hope you find a few to purchase and ...

“War and Turpentine” by Stefan Hertmans [Why This Book Should Win]

Between the announcement of the Best Translated Book Award longlists and the unveiling of the finalists, we will be covering all thirty-five titles in the Why This Book Should Win series. Enjoy learning about all the various titles selected by the fourteen fiction and poetry judges, and I hope you find a few to purchase and ...

Two Lost Souls: on "Revulsion" and "Cabo De Gata"

The dislocation of individuals from the countries of their birth has long been a common theme in contemporary literature. These two short novels recently translated into English appear firmly rooted in this tradition of ex-pat literature, but their authors eschew the romanticism found in earlier works. In Revulsion, Eguardo ...

“Moshi Moshi” by Banana Yoshimoto [Why This Book Should Win]

Between the announcement of the Best Translated Book Award longlists and the unveiling of the finalists, we will be covering all thirty-five titles in the Why This Book Should Win series. Enjoy learning about all the various titles selected by the fourteen fiction and poetry judges, and I hope you find a few to purchase and ...

Toward Horizontal Thought: An Interview with László Földényi

Following yesterday’s book review on László Földényi’s Melancholy , reviewer Jason Newport was able to supplement his reading and review by getting a hold of the author himself, to delve a bit further into the process of the book and how melancholy is perceived. Jason Newport is currently a Fulbright ...

“Doomi Golo: The Hidden Notebooks” by Boubacar Boris Diop [Why This Book Should Win]

Between the announcement of the Best Translated Book Award longlists and the unveiling of the finalists, we will be covering all thirty-five titles in the Why This Book Should Win series. Enjoy learning about all the various titles selected by the fourteen fiction and poetry judges, and I hope you find a few to purchase and ...

“Eve Out of Her Ruins” by Ananda Devi [Why This Book Should Win]

Between the announcement of the Best Translated Book Award longlists and the unveiling of the finalists, we will be covering all thirty-five titles in the Why This Book Should Win series. Enjoy learning about all the various titles selected by the fourteen fiction and poetry judges, and I hope you find a few to purchase and ...

Reading the World Conversation Series with Bae Suah

On May 1st, South Korean author Bae Suah (Recitation, A Greater Music, Nowhere to Be Found, and the forthcoming North Station) will be in Rochester, NY for TWO Reading the World Conversation Series events. The first will take place in the Humanities Center at Rush Rhees Library on the University of Rochester’s ...

Melancholy

In Melancholy, Hungarian author, critic, and art theorist László Földényi presents a panorama of more than two thousand years of Western historical and cultural perspectives on the human condition known as melancholia. In nine chapters, Földényi contrasts the hero worship and mystery cults of the ancient Greeks, the ...

“Zama” by Antonio Di Benedetto [Why This Book Should Win]

Between the announcement of the Best Translated Book Award longlists and the unveiling of the finalists, we will be covering all thirty-five titles in the Why This Book Should Win series. Enjoy learning about all the various titles selected by the fourteen fiction and poetry judges, and I hope you find a few to purchase and ...

“The Young Bride” by Alessandro Baricco [Why This Book Should Win]

Between the announcement of the Best Translated Book Award longlists and the unveiling of the finalists, we will be covering all thirty-five titles in the Why This Book Should Win series. Enjoy learning about all the various titles selected by the fourteen fiction and poetry judges, and I hope you find a few to purchase and ...

“Oblivion” by Sergi Lebedev [Why This Book Should Win]

Between the announcement of the Best Translated Book Award longlists and the unveiling of the finalists, we will be covering all thirty-five titles in the Why This Book Should Win series. Enjoy learning about all the various titles selected by the fourteen fiction and poetry judges, and I hope you find a few to purchase and ...

“Angel of Oblivion” by Maja Haderlap [Why This Book Should Win]

Between the announcement of the Best Translated Book Award longlists and the unveiling of the finalists, we will be covering all thirty-five titles in the Why This Book Should Win series. Enjoy learning about all the various titles selected by the fourteen fiction and poetry judges, and I hope you find a few to purchase and ...

“In Praise of Defeat” by Abdellatif Laâbi [Why This Book Should Win]

Between the announcement of the Best Translated Book Award longlists and the unveiling of the finalists, we will be covering all thirty-five titles in the Why This Book Should Win series. Enjoy learning about all the various titles selected by the fourteen fiction and poetry judges, and I hope you find a few to purchase and ...

Three Quotes from "A Contrived World" by Jung Young Moon

A Contrived World by Jung Young Moon, translated from the Korean by Mah Eunji and Jeffrey Karvonen (Dalkey Archive Press) I’ve been reading Jung Young Moon’s A Contrived World in preparation for an upcoming class (we’ll be talking about his Vaseline Buddha) and god damn do I love this book. Why, you ...

Some Recent Open Letter Publicity

We don’t post these updates near as frequently as we should, but here’s a rundown of some interesting recent publicity pieces for our books. Frontier by Can Xue, translated from the Chinese by Karen Gernant and Chen Zeping Interview between Can Xue and Porochista Khakpour (Words Without ...

“Why This Book Should Win” So Far . . .

Unless someone surprises me with a new write-up, we don’t have any Why This Book Should Win posts for today. That leaves fifteen books to be covered next week, leading us right into the April 18th announcement of the BTBA fiction and poetry finalists. But for today, I thought I’d just post links to all twenty of the ...

“Thus Bad Begins” by Javier Marías [Why This Book Should Win]

Between the announcement of the Best Translated Book Award longlists and the unveiling of the finalists, we will be covering all thirty-five titles in the Why This Book Should Win series. Enjoy learning about all the various titles selected by the fourteen fiction and poetry judges, and I hope you find a few to purchase and ...

“Berlin-Hamlet” by Szilárd Borbély [Why This Book Should Win]

Between the announcement of the Best Translated Book Award longlists and the unveiling of the finalists, we will be covering all thirty-five titles in the Why This Book Should Win series. Enjoy learning about all the various titles selected by the fourteen fiction and poetry judges, and I hope you find a few to purchase and ...

“The Thief of Talant” by Pierre Reverdy [Why This Book Should Win]

Between the announcement of the Best Translated Book Award longlists and the unveiling of the finalists, we will be covering all thirty-five titles in the Why This Book Should Win series. Enjoy learning about all the various titles selected by the fourteen fiction and poetry judges, and I hope you find a few to purchase and ...

“Among Strange Victims” by Daniel Saldaña París [Why This Book Should Win]

Between the announcement of the Best Translated Book Award longlists and the unveiling of the finalists, we will be covering all thirty-five titles in the Why This Book Should Win series. Enjoy learning about all the various titles selected by the fourteen fiction and poetry judges, and I hope you find a few to purchase and ...

“Night Prayers” by Santiago Gamboa [Why This Book Should Win]

Between the announcement of the Best Translated Book Award longlists and the unveiling of the finalists, we will be covering all thirty-five titles in the Why This Book Should Win series. Enjoy learning about all the various titles selected by the fourteen fiction and poetry judges, and I hope you find a few to purchase and ...

“On the Edge” by Rafael Chirbes [Why This Book Should Win]

Between the announcement of the Best Translated Book Award longlists and the unveiling of the finalists, we will be covering all thirty-five titles in the Why This Book Should Win series. Enjoy learning about all the various titles selected by the fourteen fiction and poetry judges, and I hope you find a few to purchase and ...

“In the Café of Lost Youth” by Patrick Modiano [Why This Book Should Win]

Between the announcement of the Best Translated Book Award longlists and the unveiling of the finalists, we will be covering all thirty-five titles in the Why This Book Should Win series. Enjoy learning about all the various titles selected by the fourteen fiction and poetry judges, and I hope you find a few to purchase and ...

“Last Wolf and Herman” by László Krasznahorkai [Why This Book Should Win]

Between the announcement of the Best Translated Book Award longlists and the unveiling of the finalists, we will be covering all thirty-five titles in the Why This Book Should Win series. Enjoy learning about all the various titles selected by the fourteen fiction and poetry judges, and I hope you find a few to purchase and ...

“Of Things” by Michael Donhauser [Why This Book Should Win]

Between the announcement of the Best Translated Book Award longlists and the unveiling of the finalists, we will be covering all thirty-five titles in the Why This Book Should Win series. Enjoy learning about all the various titles selected by the fourteen fiction and poetry judges, and I hope you find a few to purchase and ...

“Instructions Within” by Ashraf Fayadh [Why This Book Should Win]

Between the announcement of the Best Translated Book Award longlists and the unveiling of the finalists, we will be covering all thirty-five titles in the Why This Book Should Win series. Enjoy learning about all the various titles selected by the fourteen fiction and poetry judges, and I hope you find a few to purchase and ...

“Umami” by Laia Jufresa [Why This Book Should Win]

Between the announcement of the Best Translated Book Award longlists and the unveiling of the finalists, we will be covering all thirty-five titles in the Why This Book Should Win series. Enjoy learning about all the various titles selected by the fourteen fiction and poetry judges, and I hope you find a few to purchase and ...

“Moonstone: The Boy Who Never Was” by Sjón [Why This Book Should Win]

Between the announcement of the Best Translated Book Award longlists and the unveiling of the finalists, we will be covering all thirty-five titles in the Why This Book Should Win series. Enjoy learning about all the various titles selected by the fourteen fiction and poetry judges, and I hope you find a few to purchase and ...

“The Queue” by Basma Abdel Aziz [Why This Book Should Win]

Between the announcement of the Best Translated Book Award longlists and the unveiling of the finalists, we will be covering all thirty-five titles in the Why This Book Should Win series. Enjoy learning about all the various titles selected by the fourteen fiction and poetry judges, and I hope you find a few to purchase and ...

“Super Extra Grande” by Yoss [Why This Book Should Win]

Between the announcement of the Best Translated Book Award longlists and the unveiling of the finalists, we will be covering all thirty-five titles in the Why This Book Should Win series. Enjoy learning about all the various titles selected by the fourteen fiction and poetry judges, and I hope you find a few to purchase and ...

“Chronicle of the Murdered House” by Lúcio Cardoso [Why This Book Should Win]

Between the announcement of the Best Translated Book Award longlists and the unveiling of the finalists, we will be covering all thirty-five titles in the Why This Book Should Win series. Enjoy learning about all the various titles selected by the fourteen fiction and poetry judges, and I hope you find a few to purchase and ...

“Memoirs of a Polar Bear” by Yoko Tawada [Why This Book Should Win]

Between the announcement of the Best Translated Book Award longlists and the unveiling of the finalists, we will be covering all thirty-five titles in the Why This Book Should Win series. Enjoy learning about all the various titles selected by the fourteen fiction and poetry judges, and I hope you find a few to purchase and ...

“Ladivine” by Marie NDiaye [Why This Book Should Win]

Between the announcement of the Best Translated Book Award longlists and the unveiling of the finalists, we will be covering all thirty-five titles in the Why This Book Should Win series. Enjoy learning about all the various titles selected by the fourteen fiction and poetry judges, and I hope you find a few to purchase and ...

“My Marriage” by Jakob Wassermann [Why This Book Should Win]

Between the announcement of the Best Translated Book Award longlists and the unveiling of the finalists, we will be covering all thirty-five titles in the Why This Book Should Win series. Enjoy learning about all the various titles selected by the fourteen fiction and poetry judges, and I hope you find a few to purchase and ...

“Vampire in Love” by Enrique Vila-Matas [Why This Book Should Win]

Between the announcement of the Best Translated Book Award longlists and the unveiling of the finalists, we will be covering all thirty-five titles in the Why This Book Should Win series. Enjoy learning about all the various titles selected by the fourteen fiction and poetry judges, and I hope you find a few to purchase and ...

“Wicked Weeds” by Pedro Cabiya [Why This Book Should Win]

Between the announcement of the Best Translated Book Award longlists and the unveiling of the finalists, we will be covering all thirty-five titles in the Why This Book Should Win series. Enjoy learning about all the various titles selected by the fourteen fiction and poetry judges, and I hope you find a few to purchase and ...

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Three Percent #125: 2017 Best Translated Book Award Longlists

In this podcast, Tom and Chad go over all thirty-five longlisted titles on this year’s Best Translated Book Award longlists. They offer up some uninformed opinions (and a couple informed ones), make their guesses as to which titles will move on, and talk generally about the plethora of Spanish titles on the two lists. ...

BTBA Final Clues [Days 4 & 5, I Guess]

OK, so these clues are as late as possible, but I did promise a week of BTBA hints, and technically, I have twelve more hours until the longlists are unveiled . . . It’s gotten more and more difficult to come up with these as the days have gone along. I mostly just can’t wait until we can get to talking about the ...

The Hatred of Music

Pascal Quignard’s __The Hatred of Music_ is the densest, most arcane, most complex book I’ve read in ages. It’s also a book that covers a topic so basic, so universal—almost primordial—that just about any reader will be perversely thrilled by the intersections Quignard unearths between the mind and the world of ...

Two Voices Salon: Publisher Chad Post on Chinese Author Can Xue

The Center’s Scott Esposito will talk with publisher Chad Post via Skype about the latest book in translation from Chinese writer Can Xue, Frontier, “one of the most raved-about works of translated fiction this year.” Light snacks and drinks will be provided. Come prepared to join the conversation! When: 6 p.m. ...

The BTBA Poetry Longlist [Day Three of Clues]

I know I promised five days of clues about the BTBA fiction longlist, but given that I just got the poetry one in my email this morning, I’d rather spend time on that. So as to not be a liar, and to give you a huge clue, I will say that the two presses that published the most translations in 2016 have exactly zero books ...

BTBA 2017 Fiction Longlist Clues [Day One]

Next Tuesday, March 28th, over at The Millions, this year’s Best Translated Book Award longlists will finally be unveiled. So let the countdown begin! This really is a great time of year for international fiction—the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize Man Booker International Longlist was released last week, as ...

Fragile Travelers

In Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary, Flaubert attempted to highlight the ordinary, tired, and often crass nature of common expressions by italicising them within the text. When Charles, Emma Bovary’s mediocre husband, expresses himself in a manner akin to that of a million other colourless men before him, Flaubert uses ...

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Three Percent #124: Amazon Gets Physical

This week, Tom and Chad talk about the Cubs and their “Zen way,” the largest publishers in the U.S., this If there were Oscars for Books! “article,” and, most importantly, the new Amazon bookstore, which Tom visited and brought back some pictures. This week’s music is ...

Short Novels that Pack a Punch [BTBA 2017]

This week’s Best Translated Book Award post is by reader, writer, and BTBA judge Rachel Cordasco. For more information on the BTBA, “like” our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter. And check back here each week for a new post by one of the judges. Every once in a while, you come across a slim novel ...

Likes of the Future Are Shaped by Likes of the Past

As in past weeks here’s a PDF version of this post, which might be a lot easier to read. Two years ago, Yale University Press released The Dirty Dust, Alan Titley’s translation of Máirtín Ó Cadhain’s Cré na Cille, a supposedly “untranslatable” masterpiece of Irish literature. This past ...

Translation Lab 2017

Attached below is all the necessary information and details for for anyone interested in applying for the Translation Lab at Writers Omi at Ledig House. A couple of our translators have participated in this in the past, and they absolutely loved it. So if you’re at all interested, you should definitely ...

BTBA 2017, This Issue: The Body

This week’s Best Translated Book Award post is by Lori Feathers, an Assistant Managing Editor at Asymptote, freelance book critic and member of the National Book Critics Circle. Follow her online @LoriFeathers. For more information on the BTBA, “like” our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter. And check back here ...

“Frontier” Receives a Starred Review in Kirkus!

It’s always fun to share really positive reviews of our books, such as this starred review from Kirkus for Frontier by Can Xue: Things are strange out there on the fringes, as the always adventurous Xue’s latest novel illustrates. There is magical realism aplenty in the pages of Xue’s beguiling story, but magical ...

Tim Parks, Style, and Europanto

As in past weeks, here’s a PDF version of this post, which might be a lot easier to read. For a few years now, on the first day of my “Translation & World Literature” class, I give my students an impossible task—translating the first few paragraphs of Diego Marani’s Las Adventures des ...

Translating Cuban Literature in the Twenty-first Century [BTBA 2017]

George Henson is a translator of contemporary Latin American and Spanish prose, a contributing editor for World Literature Today and Asymptote, and a lecturer at the University of Oklahoma. For more information on the BTBA, “like” our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter. And check back here each week for a ...

The Structural Inequality of Comp Titles

Although not as long as “last week’s post,” I would recommend downloading the PDF version. Besides, it just looks prettier in that format. Although the main point of this post is pretty general and obvious—the rich get richer by already being rich—it was inspired by some publishing-specific, ...

Banff International Literary Translation Centre and ITEF 2017

Joining the Gutekunst Prize in calls for applications this season are both the Banff International Literary Translation Centre residency, and the Istanbul Tanpinar Literature Festival (ITEF) fellowship. About Banff: Inspired by the network of international literary translation centres in Europe, the Banff ...

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Three Percent #122: Music We Listened to in 2016

As in years past, the entire Open Letter crew (Chad, Nate, Kaija) got together to talk about some of the music they listened to over the past year. (That and Bud Light ads.) You can listen to all the songs featured on this podcast on this Spotify playlist: Also, just a reminder, since we changed our podcast ...

Reader Selection and Market Acceleration: Are We Living in a Backward World?

Given the insane length of this post, I would recommend downloading the PDF version. Besides, it’s easier to read the footnotes that way. Some of which are pretty fun, I think. Much in the same way it’s impossible for me to choose a single part of Franco Moretti’s Distant Reading that I like the best, I ...

Recent Open Letter Publicity [Justine, Gessel Dome, Ugresic, and More]

I don’t post on social media all that often—unless I’ve been drinking—but do generally try and share all of the reviews and publicity pieces that come up about Open Letter. And as with anything else, this tends to come in waves, including the onslaught of pieces from the past few days that I’ve ...

World Literature and Translation (Spring 2017)

I know I’ve mentioned this on the blog (and podcast) a million times, but every spring I teach a class on “World Literature and Translation” that features somewhere between eight and ten recently published translations. Although the individual arrangement of ideas and books shifts every year, the overall ...

Amazing New Interview with Dubrakva Ugresic

The only preface I have for this interview Dubravka Ugresic did with Verbivoracious Press is that you really need to read the entire thing, and then you need to buy all of her books. VP Editors: Can you start by telling me a little about your interest in literary activism, and what revelations sprang from the Kolkata ...

Open Letter in 2016

Sure, the start of a new year is a good time to look to the future, make resolutions you’ll definitely break, and all of that, but it’s also a nice moment to reflect on the past twelve months. Rather than include all the things that happened with Open Letter last year—from the success of our 2nd Annual ...

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Three Percent #121: The Summer Following

Caroline Casey from Coffee House Press joined Chad and Tom on this podcast to talk about 2016 movies, TV shows, and podcasts. Before they got into a long discussion about the royal family, Luke Cage, Crimetown, Midnight Special, and more, they touched on a number of things that are both intriguing and a little bit ...

Chronicle of the Murdered House by Lucio Cardoso [Biographical Note]

The pub date for Chronicle of the Murdered House by Lúcio Cardoso, which is translated from the Portuguese by Margaret Jull Costa and Robin Patterson, with a biographical note from Ben Moser officially came out on Tuesday, December 13th. To celebrate the release of this Brazilian masterpiece, we’ll be running a series ...

Chronicle of the Murdered House by Lucio Cardoso [Interview]

The pub date for Chronicle of the Murdered House by Lúcio Cardoso, which is translated from the Portuguese by Margaret Jull Costa and Robin Patterson, with a biographical note from Ben Moser officially came out on Tuesday, December 13th. To celebrate the release of this Brazilian masterpiece, we’ll be running a series ...

Chronicle of the Murdered House by Lucio Cardoso [Early Reviews]

  The pub date for Chronicle of the Murdered House by Lúcio Cardoso, which is translated from the Portuguese by Margaret Jull Costa and Robin Patterson, with a biographical note from Ben Moser officially came out on Tuesday, December 13th. To celebrate the release of this Brazilian masterpiece, we’ll be running a ...

Chronicle of the Murdered House by Lucio Cardoso [Excerpt]

The pub date for Chronicle of the Murdered House by Lúcio Cardoso, which is translated from the Portuguese by Margaret Jull Costa and Robin Patterson, with a biographical note from Ben Moser officially came out on Tuesday, December 13th. To celebrate the release of this Brazilian masterpiece, we’ll be running a series ...

Chronicle of the Murdered House by Lucio Cardoso [Press Release]

The pub date for Chronicle of the Murdered House by Lúcio Cardoso, which is translated from the Portuguese by Margaret Jull Costa and Robin Patterson, with a biographical note from Ben Moser officially came out on Tuesday, December 13th. To celebrate the release of this Brazilian masterpiece, we’ll be running a series ...

Polar Bears and Cyborg Turtles: Some Non-Human Narrative Perspectives [BTBA 2017]

This week’s Best Translated Book Award post is by reader, writer, and BTBA judge Rachel Cordasco. For more information on the BTBA, “like” our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter. And check back here each week for a new post by one of the judges. I’ve only come across two books this year that ...

Two Voices Salon with translator Chris Andrews

Presented by the Center for the Art of Translation Chris Andrews joins us to talk about his newest translation, Ema, the Captive, from the prolific Argentine writer César Aira. This event is free and open to the public. When: December 8, 2016; doors open at 5:30, event starts at 6:00 Where: Center for the Art of ...

An Education in World Literature [BTBA 2017]

This week’s Best Translated Book Award post is by Steph Opitz, who reviews books for _Marie Claire, while also working with the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP), Kirkus Reviews, the Brooklyn Book Festival, and the Twin Cities Book Festival. For more information on the BTBA, “like” our ...

Keeping the Foreign in Translated Literature: a Dispatch from the Oklahoma Prairie George Henson

George Henson is a translator of contemporary Latin American and Spanish prose, a contributing editor for World Literature Today and Asymptote, and a lecturer at the University of Oklahoma. For more information on the BTBA, “like” our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter. And check back here each week for a ...

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Three Percent #120: Crime and Concept Stores

It’s been a few weeks since the last podcast, but Chad and Tom are back with a over-stuffed episode that starts with a recap of recent events before turning to Barnes & Noble’s plans for their concept stores followed by a lengthy discussion about international crime authors. Here’s a complete list of ...

Thus Bad Begins [BTBA 2017]

This week’s Best Translated Book Award post is by Mark Haber of Brazos Bookstore. For more information on the BTBA, “like” our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter. And check back here each week for a new post by one of the judges. Thus Bad Begins by Javier Marias, translated from the Spanish by ...

Handicapping Margaret Jull Costa's Odds at Winning the BTBA [BTBA 2017]

This week’s Best Translated Book Award post is by Jeremy Garber, events coordinator for Powells and freelance reviewer. For more information on the BTBA, “like” our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter. And check back here each week for a new post by one of the judges. Esteemed translator Margaret Jull ...

The Architecture of Time, Space and Imagination by Monica Carter

Monica Carter is a freelance critic whose nonfiction has appeared in publications including Black Clock, World Literature Today, and Foreword Reviews. She curates Salonica World Lit, which is a virtual journal dedicated to international literature and culture. For more information on the BTBA, “like” our ...

The Subsidiary

The Subsidiary by Matías Celedón translated from the French by Samuel Rutter 208 pgs. | pb | 9781612195445 | $21.95 Mellville House Publishing Reviewed by Vincent Francone   The biggest issues with books like The Subsidiary often have to do with their underpinnings—when we learn that Georges Perec wrote La ...

“Thus Bad Begins” by Javier Marías

  Thus Bad Begins by Javier Marías translated from the Spanish by Margaret Jull Costa 464 pgs. | pb |9781101911914 | $16.95 Knopf Reviewed by Kristel Thornell   Following The Infatuations, Javier Marías’s latest novel seems, like those that have preceded it, an experiment to test fiction’s ...

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Three Percent #119: We Are Being Trolled

This week’s podcast starts with the biggest, most surprising news of recent memory—Bob Dylan winning the Nobel Prize in Literature. Then Chad and Tom talk about the National Book Foundation’s study of translation, the unmasking of Elena Ferrante (and the backlash to that unmasking, and the backlash to the ...

Bae Suah @ Volumes Bookcafe

Volumes is thrilled to announce have Bae Suah, one of the most lauded contemporary South Korean writers, along with her translator, Deborah Smith, in conversation about Bae Suah’s newly translated book, A Greater Music. Deborah Smith most recently translated the 2015 Man Booker Winning novel, The Vegetarian, by Han ...

Early Gems in the Hunt for the Best Translated Fiction of 2016! [BTBA 2017]

This week’s Best Translated Book Award post is by Lori Feathers, anAssistant Managing Editor at Asymptote, freelance book critic and member of the National Book Critics Circle. Follow her online @LoriFeathers. For more information on the BTBA, “like” our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter. And check back ...

"Books that Make Demands of the Reader" w/ Can Xue

“Books that Make Demands of the Reader” Best Translated Book Award winner Can Xue (The Last Lover, Vertical Motion, Frontier) writes books that blend elements of the Western literary translation with those from Eastern philosophy. As a result, her books are less about the things that happen and more about the ...

Bae Suah @ Green Apple Books on the Park

Join translator Deborah Smith in conversation with South Korean writer Bae Suah about her novel, A Greater Music. More information is available here. The event is free and open to the public. When: Friday, October 7, 2016 @ 7:30pm Where: Green Apple Books on the Park, 1231 9th Avenue, SF CA ...

Literary Death Match feat. Bae Suah

Join Bae Suah and more for a special Translators Edition of Literary Death Match on Thursday, October 6th, at 7 p.m. at the Shadow Ultra Lounge in Oakland, CA! Literary Death Match, co-created by Adrian Todd Zuniga, marries the literary and performative aspects of Def Poetry Jam, rapier-witted quips of American Idol’s ...

39th ALTA Conference @ Oakland

The prefix “trans” reminds us that the concept of crossing is fixed at the heart of translation. Thinking about translation in this way—as a crossing, a kind of movement—suggests a rich intersection of questions about the nature of the translator’s work. Translation & Crossing asks us to think about physical ...

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Three Percent #118: Our Titles Are No Better

This week’s podcast kicks off with a list of corrections from episode 117, from a mix-up of Sophies to an explanation of which Basque Country soccer team only fields Basque players. Then Chad and Tom move on to talk about the recent NEIBA conference and some fall titles they left out of their mini-previews before ...

GoodReads Giveaways for "The Brother" and "A Greater Music"

It’s been some months since I posted about GoodReads Giveaways here on Three Percent, but since I recently scheduled ones for all of our forthcoming winter titles, I thought I’d invite everyone to enter into these drawings. Both of these giveaways—for The Brother and for A Greater Music—run from ...

"One of Us Is Sleeping" by Josefine Klougart [An Open Letter Book to Read]

This is the third entry in a series that will eventually feature all of the titles Open Letter has published to date. Catch up on past entries by clicking here. Last week’s entry was a pretty solid Chad rant involving the incredible Maidenhair by Mikhail Shishkin. Definitely check that one out. By contrast, this ...

Josefine Klougart @ Powell's Books

Join Danish author Josefine Klougart and Powell’s books for a conversation and reading about her first novel to be translated into English, One of Us Is Sleeping. The event is free and open to the public. When: Thursday, September 29 @ 7:30 PM Where: Powell’s Books, 3723 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, OR ...

Maidenhair by Mikhail Shishkin [An Open Letter Book to Read]

This is the second entry in a series that will eventually feature all of the titles Open Letter has published to date. Catch up on past entries by clicking here. Last week’s entry was about Gesell Dome by Guillermo Saccomanno. Maidenhair by Mikhail Shishkin, translated from the Russian by Marian ...

Read Local: Supporting Rochester Presses and Making Events Fun Again

Although we referenced Read Local in the write up of Josefine Klougart’s tour, I haven’t really explained what it is here, or why I think it could be a really exciting thing for Rochester. Just to as not to bury the lede, the first Read Local event is Friday, September 23rd at 6pm at Nox Cocktail Lounge. ...

Interview with Rein Raud

Officially pubbing last Tuesday, The Brother by Rein Raud, translated from the Estonian by Adam Cullen, is a spaghetti western and “philosophical gem” (West Camel). It’s also Raud’s first novel to appear in English, following an appearance in the Best European Fiction 2015 anthology. The book has ...

“Death by Water” by Kenzaburo Oe

Death by Water by Kenzaburu Oe translated from the Japanese by Deborah Boliver Boehm 432 pgs. | pb | 9781101911914 | $16.00 Grove Atlantic Reviewed by Will Eells   Death by Water, Kenzaburo Oe’s latest novel to be translated into English, practically begs you to read it as autobiography. Like The ...

It's a Great Year for Speculative Fiction [BTBA 2017]

This week’s Best Translated Book Award post is by reader, writer, and BTBA judge Rachel Cordasco. For more information on the BTBA, “like” our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter. And check back here each week for a new post by one of the judges. Admittedly, I only started keeping track of speculative ...

Gesell Dome by Guillermo Saccomanno [An Open Letter Book to Read]

This is a new, hopefully weekly, feature highlighting a different book from our catalog in each post. Even though this book is pretty recent (official pub date just a few weeks ago August), I plan on going deep into our backlist in the near future. Gesell Dome by Guillermo Saccomanno, translated from the Spanish by ...

Bae Suah and Deborah Smith on Tour!

This fall, two Open Letter authors will be on tour: Josefine Klougart (whose tour we announced a few weeks ago) will be going cross-country starting next week to promote One of Us Is Sleeping. And then, just as her tour is wrapping up, Bae Suah will be arriving in San Francisco (along with her translator, Man Booker Prize ...

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Three Percent #117: Angola Is Not Angola

In this week’s podcast, tom and Chad preview some forthcoming books they’re excited about. Having done no solid research, Chad’s contributions are questionable at best, especially when he talks about Panthers in the Hole in relation to the COUNTRY of Angola instead of the prison that goes by the same ...

Introducing: Open Letter After Dark Series [Back to School Edition!]

A few years ago, Open Letter approached and joined up with a handful of foreign publishers to bring together what we’ve named the Open Letter After Dark series. Sounds kind of sexy, doesn’t it? This series—which is an ebook only series—was put together with the intent to do something a little more to ...

“Twenty-One Cardinals” by Jocelyne Saucier

Twenty-One Cardinals by Jocelyne Saucier translated from the French by Rhonda Mullins 176 pgs. | pb |9781552453070 | $19.95 Coach House Books Reviewed by Natalya Tausanovitch   Jocelyne Saucier’s Twenty-One Cardinals is about the type of unique, indestructible, and often tragic loyalty only found in ...

Latest Review: "Twenty-One Cardinals" by Jocelyne Saucier

The latest addition to our Reviews section is a piece by Natalya Tausanovitch on Twenty-One Cardinals by Jocelyne Saucier, published by Coach House Books. Natalya was a student of Chad’s last school year, and is in her final year of studies at the university. This summer, she did an internship with the press and ...

Best Translated Book Award 2017: The Judges

Running a little bit late with the BTBA announcments for this year, but over the next week, expect to see the official page updated and an updated to the translation database. In the meantime, this post will give publishers, translators, and interested readers all the necessary information about who’s on the committee ...

Latest Review: "One of Us Is Sleeping" by Josefine Klougart

The latest addition to our Reviews section is a piece by Jeremy Garber on Josefine Klougart’s One of Us Is Sleeping, out from Open Letter last month. What can be said about a book like this? It’s one of those books that can make you feel like you’re reading it for the first time in the middle of winter, ...

Bye Bye Blondie

Many of Virginie Despentes’s books revolve around the same central idea: “To be born a woman [is] the worst fate in practically every society.” But this message is nearly always packaged in easy-to-read books that fill you with the pleasure of a trashy popular novel. The writing is straightforward, not overly literary, ...

Latest Review: "Bye Bye Blondie" by Virginie Despentes

The latest addition to our Reviews section is a by Emma Ramadan on Virginie Despentes’s Bye Bye Blondie, published by The Feminist Press. In addition to being a translator from the French (you may recognize her name from Anne F. Garréta’s Sphinx), Emma is one of two co-founders (along with Tom Roberge) of the ...

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Three Percent #116: Why Is Tom in Providence?

After an extended hiatus, Chad and Tom are back to discuss a slew of things that happened over the past couple months. These include Book Marks, what’s going to happen to B&N, and Tim Parks’s article on The Vegetarian. They also talk about some books they’ve read recently—including Zero K, which ...

BTBA Winner Angélica Freitas Reads from "Rilke Shake"

This video has been out for a couple of months, but just came to my attention recently. It’s of Angélica Freitas reading from Rilke Shake, translated from the Portuguese by Hilary Kaplan and published by Phoneme Media. It also won this year’s Best Translated Book Award. (Speaking of which, it’s about time ...

Latest Review: "La Superba" by Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer

The latest addition to our Reviews section is a piece by Anna Alden on La Superba by Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer, published this March by Deep Vellum Publishing. Summer is in full hazy swing here in Rochester, but luckily we have a handful of great interns at Open Letter/Three Percent this summer, who are going to be helping ...

La Superba

Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer’s La Superba is appropriately titled after the Italian city of Genoa, where, after escaping the pressures of fame in his own country, the semi-autobiographical narrator finds himself cataloguing the experiences of its mesmerizing inhabitants with the intention of writing a novel himself. Written in ...

CLMP Firecracker Awards Announced [Spolier: We Won!]

Last Thursday, May 19th, CLMP held the (new) 2nd Annual Firecracker Awards. Presented by the Community of Literary Magazines and Presses (CLMP) with the American Booksellers Association, the Firecracker Awards for independently and self-published literature are a revitalized iteration of the Firecracker Alternative Book Award ...

All Days Are Night

As presaged by its title, contradiction is the theme of Peter Stamm’s novel, All Days Are Night. Gillian, a well-known television personality, remains unknowable to herself. And Hubert, a frustrated artist and Gillian’s lover, creates art through the process of destruction. Gillian’s and Hubert’s struggles to ...

Latest Review: "All Days Are Night" by Peter Stamm

The latest addition to our Reviews section is a piece by Lori Feathers on Peter Stamm’s All Days are Night, published last year by Other Press. Here’s the beginning of Lori’s review: As presaged by its title, contradiction is the theme of Peter Stamm’s novel, All Days Are Night. Gillian, a ...

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Three Percent #115: From the BTBAs to the Soccer Pitch

This week’s podcast opens with Chad and Tom discussing the 2016 Best Translated Book Award winners and their thoughts on how to evaluate books for the prize. Then, in a separately recorded podcast, Chad and visiting guest George Carroll talk with Juan Villoro about his new book on soccer, God Is Round. Also, due to ...

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Three Percent #114: BTBA Shortlists, The Vegetarian, Diorama

In this week’s podcast Tom and Chad talk about the recently released Best Translated Book Award shortlists, before moving on to discussion of the two Reading the World Conversation Series books for April: The Vegetarian by Han Kang and Diorama by Rocío Cerón. Additional articles and books discussed include, ...

2016 Best Translated Book Award Fiction Finalists

As announced “earlier this morning at The Millions,”: these are the ten fiction finalists for this year’s Best Translated Book Award: A General Theory of Oblivion by José Eduardo Agualusa, translated from the Portuguese by Daniel Hahn (Angola, Archipelago Books) Arvida by Samuel Archibald, ...

“The Four Books” by Yan Lianke [Why This Book Should Win]

This entry in the Why This Book Should Win series, is by Monica Carter, former BTBA judge and writer whose fiction has appeared in The Rattling Wall, Black Clock, Writers Tribe Review, and other publications. She is a freelance critic whose work has appeared in World Literature Today, Black Clock and Foreword Reviews. She is ...

“The Body Where I Was Born” by Guadalupe Nettel [Why This Book Should Win]

This entry in the Why This Book Should Win series is by Charlotte Whittle, translator, and editor at Cardboard House Press. We will be running two (or more!) of these posts every business day leading up to the announcement of the finalists.   The Body Where I Was Born by Guadalupe Nettel, translated from the ...

“Load Poems Like Guns,” compiled and translated by Farzana Marie [Why This Book Should Win]

This entry in the Why This Book Should Win series is by Deborah Smith, BTBA judge, translator from the Korean, and founder of Tilted Axis Press. We will be running two (or more!) of these posts every business day leading up to the announcement of the finalists.   Load Poems Like Guns: Women’s Poetry from Herat, ...

“The Things We Don’t Do” by Andrés Neuman [Why This Book Should Win]

This entry in the Why This Book Should Win series is by Tiffany Nichols, who will start her Ph.D. studies this upcoming fall and is a contributor at to Three Percent. We will be running two (or more!) of these posts every business day leading up to the announcement of the finalists.   The Things We Don’t Do by ...

“The Story of My Teeth” by Valeria Luiselli [Why This Book Should Win]

This entry in the Why This Book Should Win series is by Amanda Bullock, BTBA judge and director of public programs at Literary Arts, Portland. We will be running two (or more!) of these posts every business day leading up to the announcement of the finalists.   The Story of My Teeth by Valeria Luiselli, translated ...

“A General Theory of Oblivion” by Jose Eduardo Agualusa [Why This Book Should Win]

This entry in the Why This Book Should Win series is by George Carroll, former BTBA judge, sales rep, and international literature editor for Shelf Awareness. We will be running two (or more!) of these posts every business day leading up to the announcement of the finalists.   A General Theory of Oblivion by José ...

“One Out of Two” by Daniel Sada [Why This Book Should Win]

This entry in the Why This Book Should Win series is by Lucina Schell, editor of Reading in Translation. We will be running two (or more!) of these posts every business day leading up to the announcement of the finalists.   One Out of Two by Daniel Sada, translated from the Spanish by Katherine Silver (Mexico, ...

The Seven Good Years

It’s a rare and wonderful book that begins and ends with violence and humor. At the start of Etgar Keret’s The Seven Good Years, Keret is in a hospital waiting for the birth of his first child while nurses, in what seems a blasé manner, talk about how much they hate terrorist attacks. “They put a damper on ...

Latest Review: "The Seven Good Years" by Etgar Keret

The latest addition to our Reviews section is by Vincent Francone on The Seven Good Years by Etgar Kerert, on the edition published by Granta Books. Here’s the beginning of Vince’s review: It’s a rare and wonderful book that begins and ends with violence and humor. At the start of Etgar Keret’s The ...

“Sphinx” by Anne Garréta [Why This Book Should Win]

This entry in the Why This Book Should Win series is by Joseph Schreiber, who runs the website Rough Ghosts, and is a contributor at Numéro Cinq. We will be running two (or more!) of these posts every business day leading up to the announcement of the finalists.   Sphinx by Anne Garréta, translated from the ...

“I Refuse” by Per Petterson [Why This Book Should Win]

This entry in the Why This Book Should Win series is by Joseph Schreiber, who runs the website Rough Ghosts, and is a contributor at Numéro Cinq. We will be running two (or more!) of these posts every business day leading up to the announcement of the finalists.   I Refuse by Per Petterson, translated from the ...

“Nowhere to Be Found” by Bae Suah [Why This Book Should Win]

This entry in the Why This Book Should Win series, is by Tony Malone, founder of Tony’s Reading List. We will be running two (or more!) of these posts every business day leading up to the announcement of the finalists.   Nowhere to Be Found by Bae Suah, translated from the Korean by Sora Kim-Russell (South Korea, ...

“The Meursault Investigation” by Kamel Daoud [Why This Book Should Win]

This entry in the Why This Book Should Win series, is by Gwen Dawson, founder of Literary License. We will be running two (or more!) of these posts every business day leading up to the announcement of the finalists.   The Meursault Investigation by Kamel Daoud, translated from the French by John Cullen (Algeria, ...

“Beauty Is a Wound” by Eka Kurniawan [Why This Book Should Win]

This entry in the Why This Book Should Win series, is by Kevin Elliott, BTBA judge and bookseller at 57th Street Books. We will be running two (or more!) of these posts every business day leading up to the announcement of the finalists.   Beauty Is a Wound by Eka Kurniawan, translated from the Indonesian by Annie ...

“The Story of the Lost Child” by Elena Ferrante [Why This Book Should Win]

This entry in the Why This Book Should Win series, is by Betty Scott from Books & Whatnot. We will be running two (or more!) of these posts every business day leading up to the announcement of the finalists.   The Story of the Lost Child by Elena Ferrante, translated from the Italian by Ann Goldstein (Italy, ...

“Wild Words: Four Tamil Poets” edited by Lakshmi Holmström [Why This Book Should Win]

This entry in the Why This Book Should Win series, is by Deborah Smith, BTBA judge, translator from the Korean, and founder of Tilted Axis Press. We will be running two (or more!) of these posts every business day leading up to the announcement of the finalists.   Wild Words: Four Tamil Poets, edited and translated ...

“The Complete Stories” by Clarice Lispector [Why This Book Should Win]

This entry in the Why This Book Should Win series, is by Amanda Nelson, BTBA judge and managing editor of Book Riot. We will be running two of these posts every business day leading up to the announcement of the finalists.   The Complete Stories by Clarice Lispector, translated from the Portuguese by Katrina Dodson ...

“Berlin” by Aleš Šteger [Why This Book Should Win]

This entry in the Why This Book Should Win series, is by P.T. Smith, BTBA judge, writer, and reader. We will be running two of these posts every business day leading up to the announcement of the finalists.   Berlin by Aleš Šteger, translated from the Slovene by Brian Henry, Forrest Gander, and Aljaž Kovac ...