the
Literary Saloon

the literary
weblog at the
complete review

the weblog

about the saloon

support the site

archive

cr
crQ
crF

RSS

Twitter

to e-mail us:


literary weblogs:

  Books, Inq.
  Bookninja
  BookRiot
  Con/Reading
  Critical Mass
  Guardian Books
  The Millions
  MobyLives
  NewPages Weblog
  Omnivoracious
  Page-Turner
  PowellsBooks.Blog
  Three Percent

  Perlentaucher
  Rép. des livres

  Arts & Letters Daily
  Bookdwarf
  Buzzwords
  The Millions
  The Rumpus
  Two Words
  Waggish

  See also: links page






saloon statistics

the Literary Saloon at the Complete Review
opinionated commentary on literary matters - from the complete review


The Literary Saloon Archive

1 - 10 October 2019

1 October: (American) National Translation Awards shortlists | Translation-into-German issues | Prix Médicis shortlists | Giller Prize shortlist | A Love Story review
2 October: New World Literature Today | Prix Goncourt shortlist | The Cage review
3 October: Goldsmiths Prize shortlist | The Untranslated retires | Governor General's Literary Awards finalists | Prix du Meilleur livre étranger longlists
4 October: Banipal Prize entries | Milan Kundera (Not Lost) in Translation | Taiwan Literature Awards shortlists | EU Prize For Literature | Translator Q & A
5 October: Waiting for the Nobel ... | JCB Prize shortlist | Our Europe review
6 October: Oswald Wiener Q & A | The Voice review
7 October: Nobel week
8 October: Dayton Literary Peace Prizes | Vikram Seth Q & A | 'New Dutch Writing'
9 October: Nobel Prize countdown | (American) National Book Award finalists | Warwick Prize longlist | Austrian Book Prize finalists | French prize (semi-)shortlists | Cuckold review
10 October: The Nobel Prizes in Literature go to ... | Latvian recommendations

go to weblog

return to main archive



10 October 2019 - Thursday

The Nobel Prizes in Literature go to ... Olga Tokarczuk and Peter Handke
Latvian recommendations

       The Nobel Prizes in Literature go to ... Olga Tokarczuk and Peter Handke
[Last updated: 14 October]
       The winners of the 2018 and 2019 Nobel Prizes in Literature have now been announced, and they are: Olga Tokarczuk (2018) and Peter Handke (2019).
       Tokarczuk receives the prize:
for a narrative imagination that with encyclopedic passion represents the crossing of boundaries as a form of life
       Handke receives the prize for
for an influential work that with linguistic ingenuity has explored the periphery and the specificity of human experience
       Handke had long been thought an unlikely choice because of his unpopular attitude during and after the Yugoslavian conflicts -- and this is going to come up a lot in the Nobel Prize-commentary --, but is certainly one of the grand old men of European literature and it's hard to disagree with this selection from a literary point of view. Tokarczuk has been quickly gaining international (well, European and US) recognition for an impressive body of work -- including winning the 2018 Man International Booker Prize for Flights -- and is a choice that will no doubt be widely seen as a solid one.
       Considering solely their work, these are certainly very strong choices, though with two Central Europeans this is very much in the old mold of the Academy, for better and worse, and it's a bit disappointing that they did not reach beyond that very narrow area.

       Decent initial overview-articles now up include:        General commentary about this year's prizes:        Commentary/coverage about Tokarczuk:        Commentary/coverage about Handke:        German-language coverage is, of course extensive; see, for example:        Publisher mentions:        Usually some major newspapers and literary magazines collect and open up for view articles about and reviews of Nobel Prize-winning authors, but they've been slow to do that this year. So far it's only:        For previous general information about Olga Tokarczuk, see, for example:        There is a great deal more about Peter Handke online -- he's been publishing for over fifty years. His first notable appearance was at the (in)famous Princeton meeting of the Gruppe 47; a recording of his contribution is available at the Princeton German site, while The Goalie's Anxiety offers a translation of Peter Handkeís 1966 Speech at the Princeton Meeting of the Gruppe 47.
       The Austrian National Library's Handke online site is a valuable (German) resource -- and includes Handke's much commented-on but little reproduced (in full) words at the funeral of Slobodan Milošević in 2006.
       Handke's stance in the Yugoslavian conflicts have come to dominate commentary on the author in recent years -- beginning with the awarding of the Heinrich Heine Prize to him in 2006, which he then turned down; see the useful overview at signandsight.com of The Peter Handke affair.
       Recent pieces that discuss Handke at some length do tend to bog down some in the Yugoslavian-question, but some in-depth pieces may be of interest; see, for example:        Meanwhile, Handke was more recently awarded the International Ibsen Award -- and see also Karl Ove Knausgaard's speech on Handke and Singularity.
       Beyond that, it's certainly worth going back to his fiction (and drama) beyond the narrow political context in which so much of it is now considered. And curious Nobel titbit: Handke has translated two works by another Nobel laureate, Patrick Modiano -- I'm not sure when the last time was this occurred (if ever). (It's great to see an author who has also been such an active translator be Nobel-honored.)

       No works by Tokarczuk are under review at the complete review, but several Handke works are:        See also all the Nobel laureates under review at the complete review.

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -



       Latvian recommendations

       I recently reviewed Alberts Bels' The Cage -- surprisingly, the first Latvian title under review at the complete review -- but what better source for recommendations for other Latvian fiction than local authors ? So it's great to see 10 Latvian Writers Name Their Favorite Latvian Books at Latvian Literature -- even if far too many of these works are not (yet) available in translation (including the one Bels titles that gets a mention).

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -



9 October 2019 - Wednesday

Nobel Prize countdown | (American) National Book Award finalists
Warwick Prize longlist | Austrian Book Prize finalists
French prize (semi-)shortlists | Cuckold review

       Nobel Prize countdown

       Here we go: the Nobel Prizes in Literature -- two this year, for both 2018 and 2019 -- will be announced tomorrow at 13:00 Stockholm time (CET). You will be able to see the announcement live -- at the Nobel site or on YouTube, here.

       (Updated): One new piece of actual news: dpa reports that 194 nominations were considered by the Swedish Academy for the 2018 prize, and 189 for the 2019 prize. As we have heard, however, there was only one eight-person list of finalists considered, from which both wnners will be (and by now have been) selected; it's unclear how much overlap there was with the nominations for 2018 and 2019, and/or whether they did divide up the picks from both lists. (Those deliberation reports, when they open them up to public view in 2070, are going to be fascinating reading .....)

       There's been more pre-prize coverage, of course, though not too much of great interest or information value -- but at least some entertainment value:        (Updated): See now also:        This year's most annoying mistake: journalists referring to: the odds at "U.K. bookies Nicer Odds", or "British website Nicer Odds [...] taking bets on the 2019 winner". Nicer Odds is not a betting site; as it says relatively prominently on the site, they're: "The free odds research tool", i.e. an odds aggregator, listing what actual betting sites are offering for odds. On top of that, they're not doing a great job this year, currently only listing the Unibet odds ..... The actual sites taking bets, and the ones setting odds, are Unibet and Betsson.

       I'll have extensive coverage of the winners tomorrow, starting shortly after the official announcement.

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -



       (American) National Book Award finalists

       They've announced the finalists for this year's (American) National Book Awards in all five categories.
       The only title under review at the complete review is in the Translated Literature category -- Stephen Snyder's translation of Ogawa Yoko's The Memory Police -- though I should be getting to the Krasznahorkai soon as well.
       Interesting also to see that there were the fewest submissions in the Translated Literature category -- only 145, when even Poetry had 245 submissions. Disappointingly, however, the names of the submitted titles are not revealed .....
       The winners will be announced 20 November.

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -



       Warwick Prize longlist

       They've announced the thirteen-title longlist for the Warwick Prize for Women in Translation, selected from 92 eligible entries (which are, however, disappointingly left unrevealed ... which are admirably (if in pdf format ...) revealed here).
       Several of the titles are under review at the complete review:        A shortlist will be announced in November, and the winner will be announced 20 November.

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -



       Austrian Book Prize finalists

       They've announced the five finalists for this year's Austrian Book Prize, with the winner to be announced 4 November.
       I've actually read the Raphaela Edelbauer but wasn't completely won over by it; I also have the Karl-Markus Gauß and hope to get to that soon.

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -



       French prize (semi-)shortlists

       More French prize 'deuxièmes sélections' -- the shorter longlists (with shortlists and winners to follow --, for the prix Renaudot and the prix Femina; the latter also has a translation-category, with ten works left in the running.
       The winners of the Renaudot will be announced 4 November, the winners of the Femina one day later.

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -



       Cuckold review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Kiran Nagarkar's 1997 novel, Cuckold.

       Nagarkar died just last month. Several of his books have been published in the US/UK, but, somewhat surprisingly, not this one.

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -



8 October 2019 - Tuesday

Dayton Literary Peace Prizes | Vikram Seth Q & A
'New Dutch Writing'

       Dayton Literary Peace Prizes

       They've announced the winners of this year's Dayton Literary Peace Prizes, awarded for books that: "address the theme of peace on a variety of levels, such as between individuals, among families and communities, or between nations, religions, or ethnic groups". The fiction prize goes to What We Owe, by Golnaz Hashemzadeh Bonde, and the non-fiction prize to Rising Out of Hatred, by Eli Saslow.
       They get to pick up the prize at the gala ceremony on 3 November.

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -



       Vikram Seth Q & A

       The Hindustan Times has David Davidar's Q & A with Vikram Seth -- best-known for his A Suitable Boy, with a sequel, A Suitable Girl, long in the works and eagerly anticipated .....
       The only Seth under review at the complete review is his lesser effort, An Equal Music -- but I am much looking forward to A Suitable Girl.

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -



       'New Dutch Writing'

       They've now launched New Dutch Writing, with quite a few events starting up in the UK -- definitely looks worthwhile if you're in the neighborhood.

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -



7 October 2019 - Monday

Nobel week

       Nobel week

       This is the week they announced the Nobel Prizes -- including, on Thursday, the double-announcement of the Nobel Prize in Literature, as there will be both a 2018 laureate and a 2019 one.

       Not much new to report since my previous mention -- including no real change at the two places offering odds on the prize, Unibet and Betsson.

       There have been a few general (and a few specific) articles, including:        (Updated): See now also        More to come, no doubt.

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -



6 October 2019 - Sunday

Oswald Wiener Q & A | The Voice review

       Oswald Wiener Q & A

       In the Falter Klaus Nüchtern has a lengthy (German) Q & A with Oswald Wiener -- best-known for his classic 1969 novel, die verbesserung von mitteleuropa; it was reïssued a few years ago by Jung und Jung; see their publicity page.
       At Traumawien they write about die verbesserung von mitteleuropa:
The result of Wieners infamous examination is an anarchic text-fortress. An anti-novel, a universal book.
       Certainly a landmark text in modern German literature, it doesn't appear to have been translated into any foreign languages. It would certainly be a challenge .....
       See also an English-language Q & A with Wiener at Spike.

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -



       The Voice review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Gabriel Okara's 1964 novel, The Voice -- originally published by André Deutsch but then reïssued in the classic African Writers Series.
       Okara died earlier this year; better known as a poet, The Voice was his only novel. The University of Nebraska Press brought out his Collected Poems in their impressive African Poetry Book-series a few years ago; see their publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -



5 October 2019 - Saturday

Waiting for the Nobel ... | JCB Prize shortlist | Our Europe review

       Waiting for the Nobel ...

       Not much to add to my previous mention, as there hasn't been much news or discussion of note.
       What's new:

        - The Nobel site has now posted a video in which Anders Olsson, 'chair of the Nobel Committee in the Swedish Academy', explains How is the Nobel Prize in Literature decided ? Olsson notes that there are usually about 200 nominations to consider (although the Academy website says "There are usually about 350 proposals each year" ...); it's unclear why he won't even say exactly how many there were this year. At least there is some clarification about this year's selection-process, as he reveals that there is an eight-author-strong list of finalists -- just one list, for both the 2018 and 2019 prizes -- from which the two laureates will be selected.
       He suggests the Academy won't be as Europe- and male-focused as previously, but they've said that before; it'll be interesting to see how/if that manifests itself ....

        - The official press invitation is out -- and describes what will happen on Thursday:
The announcement, made by Permanent Secretary Mats Malm, will begin the press briefing. The chair of the Nobel Committee, Academy member Anders Olsson, and other members of the Committee will then present the Nobel Laureates and their works, as well as expounding on the Committee's work.
       The announcement will be streamed live -- and I presume this post-announcement stuff will be as well, so we'll be able to follow this from home.

        - The odds at Unibet do not appear to have shifted any (suggesting that basically no one is placing bets), but there are now also odds listed at Betsson -- mostly the same names, with a few more (J.K.Rowling ...), and similar odds.

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -



       JCB Prize shortlist

       They've announced the shortlist for this year's JCB Prize For Literature; for a more convenient overview, see, for example, the report at The Wire.
       Two of the finalists -- three books, in fact, since Perumal Murugan's two works are treated as a single entry -- are works in translation, from Bengali and Tamil.
       The winning title will be announced 2 November.

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -



       Our Europe review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Laurent Gaudé's Our Europe: Banquet of Nations -- a verse epic about ... the European Union. Just out in English from Europa Editions, appropriately enough.

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -



4 October 2019 - Friday

Banipal Prize entries | Milan Kundera (Not Lost) in Translation
Taiwan Literature Awards shortlists | EU Prize For Literature
Translator Q & A

       Banipal Prize entries

       They've announced the books that are in the running for the 2019 Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation -- fifteen novels and one poetry collection.
       Two of the titles are under review at the complete review: Paula Haydar's translation of Jabbour Douaihy's Printed in Beirut and William M. Hutchins' translation of Ibrahim al-Koni's The Fetishists.

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -



       Milan Kundera (Not Lost) in Translation

       The Museum of Czech Literature is currently showing the exhibit Milan Kundera (neztracen) v překladech -- "Milan Kundera (Not Lost) in Translation'.
       See also the Ian Willoughby and Václav Richter report at Radio Prague International, Prague exhibition highlights Kundera's relationship to translations.

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -



       Taiwan Literature Awards shortlists

       As Lyla Liu reports in the Taiwan News that Taiwan Literature Awards announces shortlist of nominated works; see also the offical announcement, or the list of titles -- complete with covers !

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -



       EU Prize For Literature

       They had the ceremony at which the EU Prizes For Literature were awarded -- 14 prizes this year, the winners determined by the national juries of each country.
       Only one of the authors has (another) title reviewed at the complete review -- Beqa Adamashvili, whose Bestseller is forthcoming from Dedalus in English next October.

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -



       Translator Q & A

       At the Harvard University Press Blog Editorial Director, Sharmila Sen devised a 'Proust questionnaire' for translators and here are the responses from an impressive number of them: Hamid Dabashi, Charles Hallisey, Johanna Hanink, Ranjit Hoskote, Anthony Kaldellis, Aviad Kleinberg, Daisy Rockwell, Carlos Rojas, David Shulman, Maria Tatar, Karel van der Toorn, and Vanamala Vishwanatha.

       To the question: "What is the most overrated virtue of a translation ?" eight (!) of them answer: Fidelity (well, seven; Maria Tatar puts it: "Faithfulness -- I prefer a little infidelity though not so far as betrayal").
       (Am I wrong to be just a little bit concerned by the near-consensus here ? I do also like some of the other responses to that question: Anthony Kaldellis answered: "Winning awards for translation", and Aviad Kleinberg answered: "Professional pride".)

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -



3 October 2019 - Thursday

Goldsmiths Prize shortlist | The Untranslated retires
Governor General's Literary Awards finalists
Prix du Meilleur livre étranger longlists

       Goldsmiths Prize shortlist

       They've announced the shortlist for this year's Goldsmiths Prize -- honoring: "Fiction at its most novel".
       The only one of these I've seen is Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann, which I am slowly making my way through.
       The winner will be announced 13 November.

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -



       The Untranslated retires

       The Untranslated -- the blog that hoped: "to bring to a wider attention significant literary works not yet translated into English" -- has decided it's Time to Say Good-Bye.
       A shame, because it was certainly a helpful and interesting exercise -- but I look forward to the next literary venture he undertakes.

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -



       Governor General's Literary Awards finalists

       The Canada Council for the Arts has announced the finalists for this year's Governor General's Literary Awards -- seventy of them, in fourteen categories (seven each English and French).
       The only title under review at the complete review is Rhonda Mullins' translation of Anne-Renée Caillé's The Embalmer.
       The winners will be announced 29 October.

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -



       Prix du Meilleur livre étranger longlists

       They've announced the longlists for the prix du Meilleur livre étranger -- a French prize for best translated works; see, for example, the Livres Hebdo report.
       The sixteen-title longlist in the fiction category is English-dominated (nine titles); the three-title non-fiction longlist, however, does not include any translations from the English.

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -



2 October 2019 - Wednesday

New World Literature Today | Prix Goncourt shortlist | The Cage review

       New World Literature Today

       The Autumn issue of World Literature Today is now available online, with the usual great range of material -- including, of course, the WLT Book Reviews (lots of titles -- and only one that is already under review at the complete review).

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -



       Prix Goncourt shortlist

       They've announced the deuxièmes sélection of the prix Goncourt -- though not yet at that official site, last I checked, so see the Livres Hebdo report.
       The leading French literary prize, the Goncourt is now down to nine contenders, with Amélie Nothomb's Soif -- the bestselling book in France this week -- still in the running, along with titles by Nathacha Appanah, Jean-Paul Dubois, Léonora Miano, Hubert Mingarelli, and Olivier Rolin, among others.
       The four finalists will be announced 27 October, and the winning title on 4 November.

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -



       The Cage review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Alberts Bels' Soviet-era classic, The Cage.

       Peter Owen brought this out in English in 1990, but it's been a while since any Bels has been translated and so it's great to see his Insomnia coming out shortly from Parthian Books; see their publicity page, or pre-order your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -



1 October 2019 - Tuesday

(American) National Translation Awards shortlists
Translation-into-German issues | Prix Médicis shortlists
Giller Prize shortlist | A Love Story review

       (American) National Translation Awards shortlists

       The American Literary Translators Association has announced the shortlists for this year's National Translation Awards.
       Two of the prose finalists are under review at the complete review: In Black and White, by Tanizaki Jun'ichirō, and Anniversaries by Uwe Johnson.
       One of the poetry finalists is also under review: Decals by Oliverio Girondo.

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -



       Translation-into-German issues

       At Deutsche Welle Elizabeth Grenier wonders: 'Can a German version of a book be more politically correct than the original ?' reporting at some length on the N-word and gender politics: How German translators deal with them

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -



       Prix Médicis shortlists

       The prix Médicis has announced its 'deuxièmes sélections', its ... longer shortlists (with the final shortlists to come 29 October before the winners are announced on 8 November), in all three categories: French fiction, foreign fiction, and 'essais et documents' (a category that includes quite a few works by authors better known for their fiction, including Didier Daeninckx (author of, e.g. Murder in Memoriam) and Tanguy Viel (author of, e.g. Article 353), as well as Josef Winkler, for his Flowers for Jean Genet (see the Ariadne Press publicity page)).

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -



       Giller Prize shortlist

       They've announced the shortlist for the Canadian Scotiabank Giller Prize
       The winner will be announced 18 November.

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -



       A Love Story review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Émile Zola's A Love Story, the eighth in his Rougon-Macquart series.
       The review is of the relatively new (2017) translation by Helen Constantine, part of Oxford University Press series of new translations of the series.

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -



previous entries (21 - 30 September 2019)

archive index

- return to top of the page -


© 2019 the complete review

the Complete Review
Main | the New | the Best | the Rest | Review Index | Links