Three Percent — a great blog on literature in translation as well as the blog from Open Letter Books, a great publisher of books in translation — posted their annual Best Translated Book Award longlist.

The finalists will be announced on February 16.

Of particular interest is the range: authors from 23 countries, writing in 17 languages, published by 15 publishers. Literature in translation may not be as big on the map as it should be, but there are those devoted to it, and we are the fortunate beneficiaries.

Here they are, all twenty-five of them. The links are to my reviews:

  • Ghosts by César Aira, translated from the Spanish by Chris Andrews
  • The Ninth by Ferenc Barnás, translated from the Hungarian by Paul Olchváry
  • Anonymous Celebrity by Ignácio de Loyola Brandão, translated from the Portuguese by Nelson Vieira
  • The Twin by Gerbrand Bakker, translated from the Dutch by David Colmer
  • The Skating Rink by Roberto Bolaño, translated from the Spanish by Chris Andrews
  • Wonder by Hugo Claus, translated from the Dutch by Michael Henry Heim
  • Every Man Dies Alone by Hans Falada, translated from the German by Michael Hofmann
  • Op Oloop by Juan Filroy, translated from the Spanish by Lisa Dillman
  • Vilnius Poker by Ricardas Gavelis, translated from the Lithuanian by Elizabeth Novickas
  • The Zafarani Files by Gamal al-Ghitani, translated from the Arabic by Farouk Abdel Wahab
  • The Weather Fifteen Years Ago by Wolf Haas, translated from the German by Stephanie Gilardi and Thomas S. Hansen
  • The Confessions of Noa Weber by Gail Hareven, translated from the Hebrew by Dalya Bilu
  • The Discoverer by Jan Kjærstad, translated from the Norwegian by Barbara Haveland
  • Memories of the Future by Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky, translated from the Russian by Joanne Turnbull
  • Desert by J.M.G. Le Clézio, translated from the French by C. Dickson
  • There’s Nothing I Can Do When I Think of You Late at Night by Cao Naigian, translated from the Chinese by John Balcom
  • The Museum of Innocence by Orhan Pamuk, translated from the Turkish by Maureen Freely
  • News from the Empire by Fernando del Paso, translated from the Spanish by Alfonso González and Stella T. Clark
  • The Mighty Angel by Jerzy Pilch, translated from the Polish by Bill Johnston
  • Rex by José Manuel Prieto, translated from the Spanish by Esther Allen
  • Death in Spring by Mercè Rodoreda, translated from the Catalan by Martha Tennent
  • Landscape with Dog and Other Stories by Ersi Sotiropoulos, translated from the Greek by Karen Emmerich
  • Brecht at Night by Mati Unt, translated from the Estonian by Eric Dickens
  • In the United States of Africa by Abdourahman Waberi, translated from the French by David and Nicole Ball
  • The Tanners by Robert Walser, translated from the Gernamn by Susan Bernofsky

I actually read There’s Nothing I Can Do When I Think of You Late at Night last May, but I couldn’t think of anything to say about it when I was done. I both liked and didn’t like it. I both admired and detested the translation. What I appreciated was the fact that Cao Naigian wrote it while holding other jobs — he wasn’t really a writer. I’m going to refresh my memory of it and see if it was just me at that time of my life. I also have copies of The Twin and The Discoverer that I frequently think I should read begin (though The Discoverer is the third book in the Wergeland trilogy, so I probably won’t get to it for a while — I have the second book, The Conqueror, but not the first, The Seducer).

Of the ones I’ve already read and reviewed, I am not surprised they are on this list. Ghosts, The Tanners, and Desert were all supreme books and supremely translated. I also thoroughly enjoyed — just not as much — The Skating Rink and Death in Spring. There are three books I’m surprised didn’t make the cut: Guillermo Rosales’s The Halfway House, Horacio Castellanos Moya’s The She-Devil in the Mirror, and Michal Ajvaz’s The Other City.  But New Directions and Dalkey are both well represented in the list. Plus, that makes the list more interesting to me because it leaves more I haven’t read.

If you’ve read and reviewed any of the books above, please leave a link in the comments.

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