BTBA 2015 Banner

Tomorrow the ten finalists for this year’s Best Translated Book Award will be announced, and at Three Percent (here) Chad Post has given us some clues.

  • There are four female and six male finalists on the list;
  • Nine different countries are represented on the shortlist;
  • The fiction finalists have been translated from seven different languages;
  • Ten different publishers have a book on the list.
  • One language has four representatives on the list.

Theoretically, this should be much easier than guessing the full list of 25 books on the longlist, and Chad is offering a reward to the first person to name all 10 fiction titles (or 6 poetry titles): a free year’s subscription to Open Letter Books. You should definitely try! You just need to email your guess to Chad (the email is on the Three Percent page linked to above).

Here is the longlist for reference.

Let’s have some fun dissecting this.

  • There were nine books on the longlist by women. Only four of these move on:
    • Baboon
    • Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay
    • Letters from a Seducer
    • The Woman Who Borrowed Memories
    • Faces in the Crowd
    • Last Words from Montmartre
    • Our Lady of the Nile
    • Snow and Shadow
    • The Last Lover
  • Looking at the publisher angle, here are the five that had two on the longlist but now at best have only one on the shortlist:
    • NYRB (The Woman Who Borrowed Memories and Last Words from Montmartre; also both are by women, so only one anyway)
    • Dalkey (The Author and Me and Works; both from France so that helps with a later clue)
    • Archipelago (Harlequin’s Millions and Our Lady of the Nile)
    • Open Letter (Street of Thieves and La Grande)
    • Yale (Winter Mythologies and Abbotts and The Last Lover; this one is hard as I want both on the shortlist)
  • Nine countries and seven languages. Sheesh!
    • France had six on the longlist
    • Argentina had four
    • Spain and the Czech Republic each had two
  • Seven languages (with one taking up four spots)
    • Again, French has six, but all are from France. You know what that means? Only one French book made the list since otherwise it had to be four, an impossibility since nine countries are on the shortlist.
    • There are four books (out of the original eight on the longlist) from Spanish on the list, then, if I’m doing this right.
    • All other languages have one title.
    • Therefore, the country with two titles on the list is either Argentina or Spain. Interestingly, neither of these countries has a single woman writer represented on the longlist. This helps out quite a bit.
  • While I’ve obviously put some thought into this, I’ve not really double checked any of my assumptions, so this entire stream of reasoning could be off. We’ll know tomorrow!

Here is my guess at the shortlist. I hope the judges are entertained.

  • Baboon, by Naja Marie Aidt
  • The Author and Me, by Éric Chevillard
  • Fantomas Versus the Multinational Vampires, by Julio Cortázar
  • Pushkin Hills, by Sergei Dovlatov
  • Harlequin’s Millions, by Bohumil Hrabal
  • The Woman Who Borrowed Memories, by Tove Jansson
  • Faces in the Crowd, by Valeria Luiselli
  • La Grande, by José Sauer
  • Paris, by Marcos Giralt Torrente
  • The Last Lover, by Can Xue
Liked it? Take a second to support The Mookse and the Gripes on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!