Stochastic Bookmark

abstruse unfinished commentary

about correspondence



I've read more of the fiction eligible for the Best Translated Book Award than in prior years, comprising a larger proportion of my reading (about a quarter), though only a small fraction of the candidates, but I think larger among the viable ones. For opinions that count, there's a more complete listing of the judges' ruminations than I linked last post ( though there's the occasional mistagged stray), and a dedicated message board for speculation. But here you'll have mine, as final as I can make it prior to the April 7 longlist announcement.

Those that should make the 10-title shortlist (should both in my estimation and, I expect, in the judges'):
Juan José Saer, La Grande (Steve Dolph) [Open Letter]
Andrei Bitov, The Symmetry Teacher (Polly Gannon) [FSG]
Leopoldo Marechal, Adam Buenosayres (Norman Cheadle) [McGill-Queen's Uni]

Those that I would shortlist, that should at least make the judges' 25-title longlist:
Bohumil Hrabal, Harlequin's Millions (Stacey Knecht) [Archipelago]
Sergei Dovlatov, Pushkin Hills (Katherine Dovlatov) [Counterpoint]
Patrick Modiano, Suspended Sentences (Mark Polizzotti) [Yale/Margellos]
Can Xue, The Last Lover (Annelise Finegan Wasmoen) [Yale/Margellos]
Drago Jančar, The Tree with No Name (Michael Biggins) [Dalkey]

Those that should make the longlist (should see above) and might be shortlisted:
Mikhail Shishkin, The Light and the Dark (Andrew Bromfield) [Quercus]
Wilma Stockenström, The Expedition to the Baobob Tree (J.M Coetzee) [Archipelago]
Hilda Hilst, With My Dog-Eyes (Adam Morris) [Melville House]
Éric Chevillard, The Author and Me (Jordan Stump) [Dalkey]
Julio Cortázar, Fantomas versus the Multinational Vampires: An Attainable Utopia (David Kurnick) [Semiotext(e)]
Edouard Levé, Works (Jan Steyn) [Dalkey]
Carlos Labbé, Navidad & Matanza (Will Vanderhyden) [Open Letter]

Those that I would longlist that may not make the judges' cut:
César Aira, Conversations (Katherine Silver) [NDP]
Roberto Bolaño, A Little Lumpen Novelita (Natasha Wimmer) [New Directions]
Clemens J. Setz, Indigo (Ross Benjamin) [Norton/Liveright]
Pierre Michon, Winter Mythologies and Abbots (Ann Jefferson) [Yale/Margellos]
Sait Faik Abasiyanik, A Useless Man: selected stories (Maureen Freely & Alexander Dawe) [Archipelago]

The rest within the ambit of my reading (all of which I'm glad to have read, lest relegation seem dismissive), which the judges may well dip into:
Alberto Savinio, Signor Dido (Richard Pevear) [Counterpoint]
Georges Perec, I Remember (Philip Terry, David Bellos) [Godine]
Frankétienne, Ready to Burst (Kaiama L. Glover) [Archipelago]
Milena Michiko Flašar, I Called Him Necktie (Sheila Dickie) [New Vessel]
Hugo Ball, Flametti or The Dandyism of the Poor (Catherine Schelbert) [Wakefield]
Vladimir Lorchenkov, The Good Life Elsewhere (Ross Ufberg) [New Vessel]
Scholastique Mukasonga, Our Lady of the Nile (Melanie Mauthner) [Archipelago]
Jon Fosse, Melancholy II (Eric Dickens) [Dalkey]
Rodrigo Rey Rosa, Severina (Chris Andrews) [Yale/Margellos]
Carmen Boullosa, Texas: The Great Theft (Samantha Schnee) [Deep Vellum]
(I could be wrong: that last'un won the Typographical Translation Award ...)

And then there's the one that got away, unread:
Arno Schmidt, Bottom's Dream (John E. Woods) [Dalkey]
but only because it hasn't come out yet. Maybe next year ...

And finally, the only eligible poetry I've read, which should make the shortlist:
José-Flores Tappy, Sheds/Hangars: Collected Poems 1983-2013 (John Taylor) [bitter oleander]

No doubt I've missed some worthy candidates, which will be rectified by the longlist announcement; I'm grateful to the BTBA (and prime mover Chad Post) for past guidance (best among the awards, and transparently at that), and for more generally raising the profile of translated literature, making it easier to find and to sort out. (And while I'm being appreciative, thanks too to fiction judge Michael A. Orthofer, who's reviewed as much in translation on his site as the cumulative BTBA-eligible fiction; there's only so much one man can do, and he does so much more.)