The Crime Writers' Association has announced its longlists in various categories, including the CWA International Dagger.
Last year's winner was Leif GW Persson's The Dying Detective; of this year's finalists, only Pierre Lemaitre's Three Days and a Life, in Frank Wynne's translation, is under review at the complete review (though Three Seconds by Roslund and Hellström is too -- a precursor to their longlisted-title, Three Minutes ...).
Though Pram's books have now been translated into 42 languages, they still remain largely unread at home.
According to Lane, this is because Indonesia is the only country in the world that does not teach its own literature in the classrooms.
A shame -- Pramoedya's, and much other local writing, is something that they should take pride in and foster.
They've announced the shortlist for this year's Orwell Prize, awarded: "for the work which comes closest to George Orwell's ambition 'to make political writing into an art'".
Among those still in the running is Ali Smith's Winter -- the rare novel in a prize dominated by non-fiction.
The winner will be announced 25 June.
They've announced the finalists for the Sophie Kerr Prize, the ridiculously well-endowed (Washington College) undergraduate writing prize that pays out more than the Pulitzer, National Book Award, and National Book Critics Circle award combined -- worth US$63,711 this year (the amount varies slightly from year to year).
All five finalists this year are women and English majors.
The winner will be announced tonight; it will be live-streamed here at 19:30.
A lot that's interesting/weird about this publication -- including the fact that, despite the decent success of his previous book The Collini Case and the generally very good UK reviews for this one, The Girl Who Wasn't There apparently didn't find a US publisher (the copy I picked up at the New York Public Library is the UK Abacus edition, which seems to have gotten a bit of distribution in the US, but it didn't get US-reviewed, for example).
Interesting also that the UK publishers opted for The Girl Who Wasn't There as the title -- not entirely inappropriate, but very, very different from the German original (which pretty much all the other foreign publishers opted for as well), Tabu.
And, finally, also interesting the very different reception of the book in the UK v. Germany by the literary critics, suggesting the book was approached/reviewed very differently by reviewers: the UK print reviews were generally very positive, while most of the German ones were devastatingly bad.
I think coming to the book with different expectations (influenced also by the title(s) ?) played a huge role, with British critics much more receptive to this as a variation on the traditional creative crime novel, while the Germans expected much deeper thought and meaning.
(Anthea Bell's translation might have helped as well: the German critics hated Schirach's writing, while Bell's Englishing mostly reads very well.)
(Critical v. popular reception is of course a different story: the German-book-buying public doesn't seem to have as much of a problem with the book -- he remains a very popular author -- while English-language reader commentary and reviews is generally considerably less enthusiastic than the broadsheet reviews were.)
Suzanne, by Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette, tr.Rhonda Mullins
Tómas Jónsson, Bestseller, by Guðbergur Bergsson, tr. Lytton Smith
Some surprises here (including no Radiant Terminus -- my favorite among the titles that made the longlist), and quite a few titles that I have to check out; Suzanne was the one title I had really buried in my pile, but I've dug it up now for another look .....
The winners will be announced 31 May.
As widely noted, American writer Tom Wolfe has passed away !
See, for example, Deirdre Carmody and William Grimes' The New York Timesobituary !
Only two of his titles are under review at the complete review -- Hooking Up and A Man in Full -- and I never really took to his writing (much less the silly outfit ...); still, at his best he was certainly readable, and I have to acknowledge that while The Bonfire of the Vanities can't really be called a good novel, it does capture New York/Wall Street in the 1980s very well and will remain a turn-to work for the foreseeable future.
Via I'm pointed to The Spinoff Review of Books' The 50 best New Zealand books of the past 50 years: The official listicle.
Only two titles under review at the complete review are on the list -- Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones (26) and The Rehearsal by Eleanor Catton (48) -- though I have read quite a few more (though this list drives home how little New Zealand fiction I've kept up with over the past two decades).
Surprising/disappointing, too, that, despite having quite a few C.K.Stead titles under review, the two that made the list -- Smith's Dream (19) and All Visitors Ashore (36) -- are ones that I haven't ever even seen (and don't seem to have been US-available in ages).
In the June Harper's Rabih Alameddine writes on world literature, in Comforting Myths.
Lots worth discussing here, and hopefully it will get some attention.
Among his points:
What I'm saying is that there is more other, scarier other, translated other, untranslatable other, the utterly strange other, the other who can't stand you.
Those of us allowed to speak are the tip of the iceberg.
We are the cute other.
Some of that 'other' -- or at least some of what approaches that 'other' -- does get translated, and I review what I can (never enough ...) -- but I'm always astonished (and disappointed, and disheartened) how little interest there is from readers in most of this stuff.
Still, it's good for readers to be reminded that:
All of us on that world-literature list are basically safe, domesticated, just exotic enough to make our readers feel that they are liberal, not parochial or biased.
That is, we are purveyors of comforting myths for a small segment of the dominant culture that would like to see itself as open-minded.
The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of the latest prix Goncourt-winner, Éric Vuillard's The Order of the Day -- coming (albeit only in September ...) in English from Other Press.
An interesting, and horrifyingly timely not-quite-work-of-fiction.
I'm looking forward to appearing at An Evening of World Literature at my old K-(i.e. 'Jr.A')-to-12 alma mater, the United Nations International School in New York tomorrow at 18:00.
Should be fun; come if you can !
English is the power language and the link language, so much so that readers and publishers often show little interest in works translated from other languages.
In fact, I have never published a book-length translation in the United States because there is simply no interest.
Come on folks -- why no interest ?
There is so much deserving stuff out there .....
They've announced the (South African) Sunday Times Literary Awards shortlists.
Among the five finalists for the Barry Ronge fiction prize is one translated title -- The Camp Whore, by Francois Smith (translated by Dominique Botha) --; SJ Naudé is perhaps the best-known-abroad of the shortlisted authors.
Among the longlisted authors whose books didn't make the cut were Achmat Dangor and Ingrid Winterbach.
The winners will be announced 23 June.
Leading French literary theorist Gérard Genette has passed away; see, for example, the (French) report in Le Point.
I have to admit never quite making it through ... his work (despite that well-worn copy of Palimpsests ...); but Paratexts certainly sounds worth a go; see the Cambridge University Press publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.
They awarded the French-American Foundation Translation Prizes yesterday, at the Century Association, at a nice ceremony (I was fortunate enough to be in attendance) that included Marc Levy in fine form in a Q&A (with some choice anecdotes about the manhandling of his into-English-debut, the book that was made into the film, Just Like Heaven -- and the interesting observations that his publishers (suspiciously) try their best to thwart any and all communication with his translators ...).
They award prizes for best translation from the French in both fiction and non categories, and this year both prizes were shared:
Melville, by Jean Giono, translated by Paul Eprile
They're holding European Literature Night at the Czech Center in New York city tonight, and if you're in the neighborhood, it's worth checking out.
First off, the Czech Center itself is pretty impressive -- but it's also a packed, fun program.
At Himal Southasian they have a Q & A with Prawin Adhikari about The art of translating Indra Bahadur Rai.
Prawin Adhikari translated the collection of stories Long Night of Storm -- see the Speaking Tiger publicity page --, while Manjushree Thapa recently translated Rai's novel, There's a Carnival Today (a(n e-)copy of which I have, and hope to get to, sooner rather than later ...).
Among Adhikari's observations:
Southasia is at a strange phase of literary translation -- as more and more middle-class children grow up with a weakening grasp of their mother tongues and with greater ease with English, they are having to read literature from their native cultures in English translations.
The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Hwang Sok-yong's Familiar Things.
This Scribe title came out in the UK and Australia last year, and it's great to see some of their books (like this one ...) are now also going to be distributed in the US.