They've announced the thirteen-title longlist for this year's de-manned Booker Prize, chosen from 151 (regrettably unrevealed) novels
One of the titles is actually under review at the complete review -- My Sister, The Serial Killer, by Oyinkan Braithwaite -- and while I haven't seen any of the others, there are several I do hope to get to, notably Ducks, Newburyport and Frankissstein.
Quite a few big names on this popular-leaning-but-with-a-few-outliers list, including Margaret Atwood, John Lanchester, Deborah Levy, Elif Shafak -- and Salman Rushdie.
The shortlist will be announced 3 September; the winner on 14 October.
The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Daniel S. Milo's Darwinian study on The Tolerance for Mediocrity in Nature and Society, in Good Enough, recently out from Harvard University Press.
They've announced the finalists for the 2020 Neustadt International Prize for Literature -- the biannual $50,000 prize with nine jurors, each of which got to select one of the finalists.
The finalists are:
The Dayton Literary Peace Prize announced that N. Scott Momaday will receive the 2019 Ambassador Richard C. Holbrooke Distinguished Achievement Award; John Irving got it last year.
Momaday gets to pick it up at the awards ceremony on 3 November.
The finalists for the 2019 Dayton Literary Peace Prize itself will be announced on 13 August.
They auctioned off a bunch of stuff from The Plot Against America (etc.)-author Philip Roth's estate yesterday.
A lot of furniture and household stuff went under the hammer -- down to the patio furniture -- and fairly little that's literature-related.
At least most of the stuff went for more than the estimates (the television stand -- despite being in: "good condition used, sturdy" and: "From the Roth Living Room" ! -- was one of the few real bargain items).
There were three typewriters up for auction: an Olivetti Lettera 32 with Case (estimate: US$300-500; sold for $17,500), and two IBM Selectric IIs, the first of which had an estimate of US$100-150 (seriously, what were they thinking ?) and sold for $5,000, the second of which had an estimate of US$150-250 and sold for $4,800
I remind you that nearly a decade ago Cormac McCarthy's Olivetti went for US$254,500 .....
In the Nikkei Asian Review Max Crosbie-Jones reports on Found in translation: Thai literature reaches West.
("West" here means "English", sigh .....)
Finally, a trickle of Thai works is appearing in the US/UK -- notably two by Duanwad Pimwana (I have both, and should be getting to them) -- but there's still a long way to go.
Among the interesting observations:
Prabda [Yoon] said the fact that all but one of the recent releases were translated by Mui [Poopoksakul] is as worrying as it is impressive.
Amie Ferris-Rotman reports in The Washington Post how This Afghan ambassador in Moscow mixes diplomacy and Dostoevsky as admirably: "When [Latif] Bahand is not navigating his country's changing relationship with Moscow, he is translating".
He's working on Crime and Punishment, and has already translated And Quiet Flows the Don, War and Peace, and Anna Karenina.
Interesting too that:
There was also a shortage of words to work with.
Russian has around 150,000 words in current usage; Pashto has around 100,000.
"It's like taking a vase of water and trying to fit it into a teacup."
In the first-floor lobby, visitors can view an art installation, "Flowers in the Toilet."
It symbolizes literature's irrigation of the human mind, which, like plants, need to be watered to grow stronger, said the museum.
Italian author Luciano De Crescenzo has passed away; see, for example, the ANSA report.
His Thus Spake Bellavista attracted some attention when it came out in English; get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.
The Millions has their Most Anticipated: The Great Second-Half 2019 Book Preview, with more than a hundred (mainly pretty mainstream) US titles.
Only two of these are already under review at the complete review -- The Memory Police by Ogawa Yoko and Doppelgänger by Daša Drndić --, and I only have one more of them (Empty Hearts by Juli Zeh, which I should be getting to soon); I do suspect/hope there are a lot more other interesting titles out there beyond these.
The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Karolina Pavlova's A Double Life, out in a new edition in Columbia University Press' Russian Library.
This is Pavlova's only novel, but she has an interesting biography, from being tutored in Polish by Adam Mickiewicz ("she already knew Russian, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Swedish, and Dutch, as well as Russian" translator Barbara Heldt notes (slightly overenthusiastically ...) in her Introduction) to the literary circles she moved in -- though she had a hard time in the very male and sexist Russian literary world of the time.
He said novels were "currently losing a bit of their lustre" because of declining quality.
"Some books just carry the phrase 'A Novel' on the cover.
The best proof of the loss of popularity of the novel is its dwindling sales at book fairs in the Arab world during the past two years," he said.
The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Lawrence Lessig on How the Supreme Court Has Read the American Constitution, in Fidelity & Constraint, recently out from Oxford University Press.
The German 'Hotlist' invites all German-language independent publishing houses to submit one book to compete in a three-phase competition that begins with the Hotlist board of trustees selecting a longlist of thirty titles, which the public can then vote on (though only the top three vote-getters make the final ten; the remaining seven titles are chosen by the Hotlist jury); the jury then picks the winning publisher (it is the publisher, rather than the book/author that gets the cash).
They've now announced the thirty-title longlist -- and opened the voting.
(Admirably, they also reveal all 160 submitted titles, as every literary prize should .....)
This gives a good overview of what independent German publishers are publishing -- even if the one-book-per-publisher limit is rather ... limiting.
They do include some big names: among authors in translation with books in the final thirty are Anthony Burgess, Patrick Deville, Helen Oyeyemi, and Boualem Sansal.
They've announced the judges for the 2020 [no-longer-'Man'] International Booker Prize, and they are: Ted Hodgkinson (chair), Lucie Campos, Jennifer Croft, Valeria Luiselli, and Jeet Thayil.
The longlist will be announced in March 2020.
With the start of the French 'rentrée littéraire' -- the fall book-flood, this year with 524 titles (down from 567 last year (and 727 in 2007 ...)) -- the longlists for the fall book prizes start appearing -- a good overview of some of the interesting new titles coming up.
The Prix du Roman Fnac -- which considers both French fiction (there are 366 in this year's rentrée) and translated fiction (188) -- has announced its huge, thirty-title selection, which includes titles by Nathacha Appanah, Laurent Binet, Marie Darrieussecq, Edna O'Brien, and Juli Zeh.
The prix littéraire « Le Monde » has also announced its (considerably shorter) longlist; it also includes new books by Leonora Miano and Jean-Philippe Toussaint (La Clé USB; see the Les Éditions de Minuit publicity page).
Among the events at this year's Manchester International Festival is Studio Créole: "an intimate laboratory for stories where we can hear writers read in their original language and simultaneously listen to a live translation, channeled through a lone performer", which runs from 12 to 14 July.
The seven writers involved are: Patrick Chamoiseau, Sayaka Murata, Adania Shibli, Sjón, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, Dubravka Ugrešić, and Alejandro Zambra -- quite the line-up ! -- while the project was conceived and is curated by Adam Thirlwell, is co-curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist, and was designed by Rem Koolhaas and Cookies.
At the Times Literary Supplement Thirlwell has an introductory overview as he "considers the history of créolité and literature transcending a single language" in World literature: lightness, multiplicity, transformation.
Lots of Iris Murdoch material in this week's Times Literary Supplement -- it's her centenary; she would have turned 100 on the fifteenth -- including them having their "contributors reflect on the novelist's impact" in What does Iris Murdoch mean to you now ?
I'm a huge fan -- and pleased that there are still a few of her works I haven't gotten to; I only got around to An Accidental Man last year, and it was the best book I read all year.
(Updated): Iris Murdoch coverage abounds -- see now also Leo Robson on Iris the insoluble in the New Statesman -- though obviously I move in the wrong circles (at least on the internet) and can find no evidence that: "Iris Murdoch's work has fallen out of fashion", as everyone (properly) gushes about her work.
Even before the current centenary-interest, I don't think any title has popped up on the weblogs and Twitter-feeds I read, going back many, many years as often as a favorite read as The Sea, the Sea (though obviously that's influenced by what weblogs/Twitter-feeds I follow -- my kind of readers ...).
The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Tanaka Yasuo's 1981 novel, Somehow, Crystal, just out from Kurodahan Press.
I review far too few books that I read before I started the site but I actually have read this one before -- the German translation, some twenty-five years ago.
It's not a great book, but of enough interest that it was certainly worth covering (if not necessarily revisiting ...) -- and I fear it won't get all that much coverage otherwise (though surely The Japan Times will at least get to it).
Indeed, it's notable enough -- for several reasons -- that if the English translation had been available I would have mentioned it in my The Complete Review Guide to Contemporary World Fiction.
If you need further convincing/tempting: Sayonara, Gangsters-author Takahashi Gen'ichirō wrote the Introduction to this -- and he concludes it by suggesting:
There has never been anther novel like this, nor is there likely to be on in the future.
I can think of no other novel that so deeply and thoroughly confronts capitalist society.
If Marx were still alive, his follow-up to Das Kapital would surely have been a novel like Somehow, Crystal.
That last sentence is some tag-line; I hope some booksellers use it .....
In the Tehran Times they report on Mahmud Barabadi's comments that Translated books easier to publish in Iran (than domestically-written books).
Among the reasons he gives: "due to the lack of copyright legalities in Iran, the publication of translated books are easier for the publishers in Iran", while also noting that:
Iranian writers write books inspired by the local and cultural atmosphere and need to attract Iranian readers.
Unfortunately, the great number of restrictions on Iranian writers in choosing topics, characters, and even the descriptions of events lead to failure in this field
The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Margarita Liberaki's Three Summers, just out from New York Review Books.
This translation actually came out almost a quarter of a century ago -- but locally, in Greece, and until now it hasn't been readily available in the US/UK, so it's good to see this edition.
Liberaki is the mother of well-known (and more translated) author Margarita Karapanou (Kassandra and the Wolf, etc.) -- but they are not the first parent-child duo with books under review at the complete review.
They've announced the winner of this year's Caine Prize for African Writing -- the leading African short story prize -- and it is Skinned (warning ! dreaded pdf format !), by Lesley Nneka Arimah, originally published in McSweeney's.
I recently reached 4400 books under review at the complete review, so it's time for another overview of the past 100 reviewed titles (4301 through 4400).
- The last 100 reviews were posted over 162 days -- slightly longer than the previous 100 (145 days), but totaling considerably more words: 138,605 (last 100: 127,620 words), by far the highest average review length for any 100-review period to date.
The longest review was 6501 words, and eleven reviews were over 2000 words long.
Reviewed books had a total of 25,858 pages, slightly above the previous 25,405 but with a considerably lower pages-per-day rate (156.8, down from 175.2).
- Reviewed books were originally written in 27 different languages (including English), one down from the previous hundred; English led the way, with 23 titles, followed by French (16), German (12.5), and Japanese (7).
One new language was added -- Tibetan -- bringing the total number of languages covered to 78.
(See also the updated full breakdown of all the languages books under review were originally written in.)
- Reviewed books were by authors from 36 countries (previous 100: 36), France and the UK tied for the most (12), followed by Germany and Japan (7).
- Male-written books were overwhelmingly dominant -- but slightly less so than usual, with 73 of the reviewed books written by men (improving the horribly sexist average of written-by-women titles under review to ... 16.81 per cent).
- No books were rated A+ or A, but 10 were rated A-; B was the most common grade (56), while one title each got a B- and a C.
- Fiction dominated, as it always does, with 83 titles that were novels/novellas/stories.
In the Taipei Times Han Cheung reports on how 'The US Information Services supported and translated works by young Taiwanese modernist writers during the 1960s, as part of efforts in a 'Cultural Cold War' against communism', in Taiwan in Time: Waging war with pen and paper, as:
Under [Richard] McCarthy, the USIS sponsored and translated a significant number of works by young Taiwanese writers, and also published books featuring local avant-garde artists
The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Timothy Allen's new translation of Nguyễn Du's Vietnamese classic, The Song of Kiều: A New Lament, just out in the Penguin Classics series.
This is apparently the first Vietnamese title in the Penguin Classics series -- long overdue, one would think.
But this is certainly the obvious choice for the series, and while there have been several previous translations this one certainly has the potential of reaching a broader audience.
They've announced the winner of this year's Premio Strega, the leading Italian literary prize, and it is M. Il figlio del secolo, getting 228 votes, more than a hundred more than the runner-up among the five finalists.
The massive, largely documentary novel is forthcoming from HarperCollins in the US and Fourth Estate in the UK -- and already got some US coverage in The New York Times, where Emma Johanningsmeier wrote about how A New Book About Mussolini Is Provoking a Debate Over His Legacy.
See also the Bompiani publicity page.
As a child, I was an inveterate liar, always living in a fantasy world.
I dreamt about having an extraordinary life, a passionate life, the life of a great author.
I wrote poems and wanted to kill myself.
They've announced the winner of this year's prix Émile-Guimet de Littérature asiatique, a leading French prize for an Asian work of fiction -- and it is The Forest of Wool and Steel, by Miyashita Natsu -- selected from a rather disappointing mere seventeen submissions.
See also the Doubleday publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.
The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Arnon Grunberg's 2012 novel, De man zonder ziekte.
As you may recall, Open Letter was interested in publishing this, but .....
It's not the best not-yet-translated Grunberg work, but it definitely is among those that should be available in English.
Dallas-based translation publisher Deep Vellum acquired the backlist of two separate independent publishing house -- Phoneme Media of Los Angeles and A Strange Object of Austin, Tex. -- and is expanding into publishing works originally written in English.
Also good to hear:
Recent translation acquisitions include internationally-renowned Romanian author Mircea Cărtărescu's most recent novel, Solenoid
Austrian crime fiction hasn't exactly broken through internationally but has certainly blossomed domestically over the past decade -- and for the past decade they've been awarding the Leo-Perutz-Preis für Wiener Kriminalliteratur -- the Leo Perutz Prize for Viennese Crime Fiction, paying out a decent €5,000.
Yes, more books by Leo Perutz have been translated into English -- several now available from Pushkin Press -- than winners of this prize have, but still .....
They've now announced the five finalists for this year's prize -- which include an Alex Beer title (Beer has actually been translated into English ...); the winner will be announced 5 November.