Last night at Idlewild Books, just a short subway ride away from where I was sitting (wish I could have been there), the Best Translated Fiction shortlist was announced. The winner will be announced on March 10.

  • Anonymous Celebrity by Ignácio de Loyola Brandão, translated from the Portuguese by Nelson Viera
  • 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
  • Ghosts by César Aira, translated from the Spanish by Chris Andrews
  • Memories of the Future by Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky, translated from the Russian by Joanne Turnbull
  • Rex by José Manuel Prieto, translated from the Spanish by Alfonso González and Stella T. Clark
  • The Tanners by Robert Walser, translated from the German by Susan Bernofsky
  • The Twin by Gerbrand Bakker, translated from the Dutch by David Colmer
  • The Weather Fifteen Years Ago by Wolf Haas, translated from the German by Stephanie Gilardi and Thomas S. Hansen
  • Wonder by Hugo Claus, translated from the Dutch by Michael Henry Heim

I have on my shelf The Discoverer, The Twin, and Wonder. In fact, I’ve already started The Twin, to happy results. Wonder looks phenomenal, and I can’t wait to read it. The Discoverer is part of a trilogy, the first books of which I do not have. I’ve heard that each books stands alone, though, so perhaps I should get over my normal need to conform to that kind of order. I hope to get through these three before the winner is announced, though that would still mean I only read half of the finalists listed, and this looks like an excellent group.

Of the ones on the longlist that I read but that did not make it to this shortlist, I’m not surprised that Death in Spring and The Skating Rink didn’t make it, though either probably could have. I didn’t like and didn’t review There’s Nothing I Can Do When I Think of You Late at Night, but I do feel I need to give it another look. I was surprised Desert didn’t make it, as that is an excellent book. That said, I think The Tanners and Ghosts are two of the other best books I’ve read in years, so I fully support their spot on the list.

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