Stochastic Bookmark

abstruse unfinished commentary

about correspondence


BTBA longlist short-takes

So the Best Translated Book Award fiction longlist has been announced. (So too the poetry longlist.) My publisher-based prognostication not too shabby (cf MAO's) (biggest miss was the top of my list Tabucchi), but some surprises on top of that: yes multiple listings for New Directions (4) (half of which I hadn't even considered); Open Letter with 3 titles (kudos! I've yet to read the Neuman) (and congrats to Graywolf and Deep Vellum, only other multiples with 2 apiece); different choices for Deep Vellum (which I'd read) and Wakefield (which I hadn't). But the biggest surprise is that Dalkey Archive got skunked; so too Yale/Margellos, Seagull, and Pushkin Press, but Dalkey had more eligible literary titles than anyone else. All in all, about a third of the longlist under my radar, til now.

Given limited intereligibility, there's a fair bit of overlap with the IFFP Man Booker Int'l longlist: Agualusa, Ferrante, Lianke, Mujila (and a different [ie the wrong] Kurniawan). Winnowing this down to a 10-title shortlist (April 19; winner May 4 @ The Folly, NYC) is a task I don't envy; I think Gospodinov, Herrera, and either Lispector or Kurniawan or both have the inside track, but I've been wrong before, and I've more reading to do before being wrong again.

(PS while my attention was diverted, M&G award discussion forums moved on to Goodreads)



the sun sets in purple yellow cloud bruise
above a contrail cuts a fresh scar
below the backlit trees grow vague

clouds blacken against the ashen horizon
the evening star rides the rising wind
a porchlight palpitates through branches


an update of sorts

The end of the month brings the longlist for the Best Translated Book Award, and I've now got 40 of the eligibles under my belt (~30% of my reading overall), including those mentioned as not yet read in the middle of my prior post (except towards list's end), without substantively changing my assessment.

What I can add is:
Wakefield Press: Unica Zürn, The Trumpets of Jericho (Christina Svendsen), though only as a longlist longshot;
and José Eduardo Agualusa, A General Theory of Oblivion (Daniel Hahn) [Archipelago] also has a shot (cf TQC)

I should mention that, like Zambra's My Documents, Anne Garréta's Sphinx [Deep Vellum] has received much praise (though not so much from me, more than faint, less than swoon) (and I found Chudori's Home too melodidactic); but it's not my place to second-guess. Besides, there's so much I haven't read (just f'rinstance Makine via Graywolf) (or don't intend to: Daoud via Other, Knausgaard via Archipelago) that it's short odds the longlist will lengthen my reading list.
(for more speculation, see The Mookse and the Gripes forum)