2012 Best Translated Book Award Longlist Announced

This is exciting news!  I’ve been waiting for this list for over a month since last year the longlist was announced at the end of January.  Click here for the official announcement on the Three Percent blog.  And here is the list of 25 titles — if this isn’t the most exciting list of books I’ve seen in a while . . . well, there’s no “if”: this is the most exciting list of titles I’ve seen in a long while.

  • Leeches, by David Albahari, tr. from the Serbian by Ellen Elias-Bursac (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
  • My Two Worlds, by Sergio Chejfec, tr. from the Spanish by Margaret B. Carson (Open Letter)
  • Demolishing Nisard, by Eric Chevillard, tr. from the French by Jordan Stump (Dalkey Archive)
  • Private Property, by Paule Constant, tr. from the French by Margot Miller and France Grenaudier-Klijn (University of Nebraska Press)
  • Lightning, by Jean Echenoz, tr. from the French by Linda Coverdale (New Press)
  • Zone, by Mathias Énard, tr. from the French by Charlotte Mandell (Open Letter)
  • Buzz Aldrin, What Happened to You in All the Confusion?, by Johan Harstad, tr. from the Norwegian by Deborah Dawkin (Seven Stories)
  • Upstaged, by Jacques Jouet, tr. from the French by Leland de la Durantaye (Dalkey Archive)
  • Fiasco, by Imre Kertész, tr. from the Hungarian by Tim Wilkinson (Melville House)
  • Montecore, by Jonas Hassen Khemiri, tr. from the Swedish by Rachel Willson-Broyles (Knopf)
  • Kornél Esti, by Dezsö Kosztolányi, tr. from the Hungarian by Bernard Adams (New Directions)
  • I Am a Japanese Writer, by Dany Laferrière, tr. from the French by David Hormel (Douglas & MacIntyre)
  • Suicide, by Edouard Levé, tr. from the French by Jan Steyn (Dalkey Archive)
  • New Finnish Grammar, by Diego Marani, tr. from the Italian by Judith Landry (Dedalus)
  • Purgatory, by Tomás Eloy Martínez, tr. from the Spanish by Frank Wynne (Bloomsbury)
  • Stone Upon Stone, by Wieslaw Mysliwski, tr. from the Polish by Bill Johnston (Archipelago Books)
  • Scenes from Village Life, by Amos Oz, tr. from the Hebrew by Nicholas de Lange (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
  • The Shadow-Boxing Woman, by Inka Parei, tr. from the German by Katy Derbyshire (Seagull Books)
  • Funeral for a Dog, by Thomas Pletzinger, tr. from the German by Ross Benjamin (W.W. Norton)
  • Scars, by Juan José Saer, tr. from the Spanish by Steve Dolph (Open Letter)
  • Kafka’s Leopards, by Moacyr Scliar, tr. from the Portuguese by Thomas O. Beebee (Texas Tech University Press)
  • Seven Years, by Peter Stamm, tr. from the German by Michael Hofmann (Other Press)
  • The Truth About Mary, by Jean-Phillippe Toussaint, tr. from the French by Matthew B. Smith (Dalkey Archive)
  • In Red, by Magdelena Tulli, tr. from the Polish by Bill Johnston (Archipelago Books)
  • Never Any End to Paris, tr. from the Enrique Vila-Matas (New Directions)

I have read only four of these and have four more on the shelf waiting for me.  I can’t wait to learn more about the ones I’m unfamiliar with and hope to get through a number of these before the ten finalists are announced on April 10.  The winner will be announed as part of the PEN World Voices Festival later in the spring.

Some statistics.

Run down by language:  French (8), Spanish (4), German (3), Hungarian (2), Polish (2), Serbian (1), Norwegian (1), Swedish (1), Italian (1), Hebrew (1), Portuguese (1).

This list comes from 17 publishers!  I’m sad that NYRB Classics was shut out, though I don’t know how many eligible titles they published this year (I would have voted for Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky’s The Letter Killers Club (my review here)).  However, a few other favorites have strong representation: Dalkey Archive (4), Open Letter (3), Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (2), New Directions (2), and Archipelago Books (2).  All have catalogs worth following.

Here are links to my reviews of what I’ve read so far:

With a list this good, I don’t know where to turn next.

_________________

Here are links to the reviews of some of the books that I’ve read subsequent to posting this:

9 thoughts on “2012 Best Translated Book Award Longlist Announced”

  1. Aaron says:

    Montecore’s the only one of those that I’ve read, but I highly recommend it, especially if you’re trying to pick out which one to try next.

  2. leroyhunter says:

    It’s great to see this list. Apart from the ones you’ve reviewed, Énard, Levé and Stamm are all on my radar and Marani and Toussaint are on my shelf. Exciting is right Trevor!

  3. Lee Monks says:

    Very exciting! Early prediction: Zone will be on the shortlist. Some great titles in there.

  4. I’ll plump for Dany Laferriere, although the one I read in 2011 (The Return) hasn’t been published to qualify for this competition yet. Marani had already attracted my attention and I’ll add Zone in based on Lee’s prediction.

  5. Lee Monks says:

    I tried to get hold of a Laferriere last year without success – I’ll have another look now. I enjoyed In Red, Funeral For a Dog, Kornel Esti, less so Buzz Aldrin, and the Toussaint, Echenoz, Leve, Marani and Martinez are on the shelf. I thought Zone was brilliant, I hope it does well – be interested to see your thoughts Kevin, Trevor.

  6. Trevor says:

    Well, the first one I’ve opened from the list is Juan José Saer’s Scars, which I’ve had since last fall and have been wanting to read ever since. But because I missed him when he was on the Giller longlist, I want to make it a point to read the Laferriere this time around.

    Aaron, I’m looking at Monticore but a descpription of it somewhere says full of pop culture — I’m not sure I’m up for that. Any help you can give me is appreciated : ) .

  7. Aaron says:

    Well, it’s about identity, for an older immigrant and his first-generation son (from Tunisia to Sweden, I think) and the rebellions that bloomed from that in the early ’90s, so pop culture is, by nature, a part of that. But it’s not overwhelmed, obsessed, or ultimately defined by that — it’s closer to something by Jonathan Safran Foer than anything else.

  8. Trevor says:

    Thanks for the added light, Aaron. That does sound better than what I was imagining, which was either some hip voice-driven montage, kind of like Shteyngart if he wrote about the 1990s rather than the near future, or some historical piece that relies on pop culture references to establish a sense of authenticity.

    I still don’t have that one, though, and have acquired several others. I hope to get to it.

Leave a Reply