Stochastic Bookmark

abstruse unfinished commentary

about correspondence


the year in translation

Despite constraints on reading (& blogging) I've managed to read a score of BTBA-eligible titles this year, half of which I expect to be longlisted ... but which half? collated and enhanced from litchat through the year:

Pierre Senges, Fragments of Lichtenberg (Gregory Flanders) [Dalkey]: a fine conceit ambitiously overcooked [MAO]
Gerard Reve, The Evenings (Sam Garrett) [Pushkin]: effective portrait & landscape, but not as bowled over as MAO ...
Samanta Schweblin, Fever Dream (Megan McDowell) [Riverhead]: wow (expect MBIP BTBA shortlisting) [MBIP shadow panelist(s), M&L]
Bae Suah, Recitation (Deborah Smith) [Deep Vellum]: statelessness and shamandipity; instabilities of character, place (urban), time, family ... there are bits that are a bit much, worthwhile nonetheless [M&L]
Can Xue, Frontier (Karen Gernant & Chen Zeping) [Open Letter]: lives up to the hype (what little there's been of it) and its title, which it does not describe or inscribe so much as enact, blurring chronology geography identity relation etc in her own sharply distinctive way [M&L, #5]
Mathias Énard, Compass (Charlotte Mandel) [New Directions]: very good verging on great (and yes put Hedayat on my list) but to cavil, there's a falling off in the last fifth +/-, less density, a more conventional tendency towards narrative resolution even if only in part, yes inherently anticlimactic but not managed as well as what preceded, not reading becoming easier by acclimation but by relaxation (and yes it may be intended as such but [MAO]
Antoine Volodine, Radiant Terminus (Jeffrey Zuckerman) [Open Letter]: between this and Lesson 11 I think I have a feel (and respect) for the project, in its best manifestations, but not tempted to go whole hog [LARB]
Antonio Di Benedetto, Nest in the Bones (Martina Broner) [archipelago]: short stories (up to novelette length) spanning his career and range, some better than Zama (which was much less scantily reviewed)
Antonio Tabucchi, For Isabel: A Mandala (Elizabeth Harris) [ARChipelago]: Tabucchi's range continues to surprise [#5]
Yuri Herrera, Kingdom Cons (Lisa Dillman) [& Other Stories]: worth the wait, in gold [MAO]
Olga Tokarczuk, Flights (Jennifer Croft) [Fitzcarraldo]: ibid (but UK distrib only not BTBA eligible)
Rodrigo Fresán, The Invented Part (Will Vanderhyden) [Open Letter]: So so pomo, too pop despite touchstones shared, more DFW than Pynchon et al, some moments some even longer but some slog [#5]
Gisèle Prassinos, The Arthritic Grasshopper: Collected Stories, 1934-1944 (Henry Vale and Bonnie Ruberg) [Wakefield]: footnoteworthy, highlights Surrealism's indebtedness to folktales (again not my thang so much), Verne, etc [biblioklept]
César Aira, The Little Buddhist Monk / The Proof (Nick Caistor) [NDP]: different in that stories take own momentum wherever [MAO-MAO]
Anne Garréta, Not One Day (Emma Ramadan, w/author) [Deep Vellum]: memories of desire, memory of desires; falls off a little in postscriptum [MAO]
Christine Angot, Incest (Tess Lewis) [archipelago]: separations with an immediacy to efface but not erase distances between (incl author-text-reader); distinct from autofiction (per author) (questions of subjectivity, subjectivities questioned)
Wolfgang Hilbig, Old Rendering Plant (Isabel Fargo Cole) [Two Lines]: fat of the land gone rancid [QC; translator interview]
Andrés Barba, Such Small Hands (Lisa Dillman) [Transit]: orphanning the flames, tight but slight [MAO; interview]
Bae Suah, North Station (Deborah Smith) [Open Letter]: Korean takes on Europe esp Germany, surreal episodic dreamy and digressive, strands between incidents almost incidental
Jenny Erpenbeck, Go Went Gone (Susan Bernofsky) [NDP]: dislocations de jure et de facto, multilayered and mostly deft [NYer]

Raduan Nassar, A Cup of Rage (Stefan Tobler) [Penguin]: lovehate dehyphenated (inseparable or unseverable), powerful (read last year, UK distrib only; now [NDP]) [MAO]
Han Kang, Human Acts (Deborah Smith) [Portobello]: haven't read The Vegetarian, chose this because supposedly better than, and it's that good (ibid; now [Hogarth]) [3AM]

Waiting ominously on the shelf:
Luis Goytisolo, Recounting: Antagony, Book I (Brendan Riley) [Dalkey] [TMN]

Amd yet to be acquired (though there may still be others):
László Krasznahorkai, The World Goes On (John Bakti) [New Directions] [4columns]
Daša Drndić, Belladonna (Celia Hawkesworth) [New Directions] [M&L]

Finally, only one poetry BTBA-eligible under my belt (will await the longlist before loosening):
Proensa: An Anthology of Troubadour Poetry (Paul Blackburn) [nyrb]: good broad scope, fair rendering [RainTaxi]

More to follow ...