Three Percent announced the poetry and fiction longlists for the 2016 Best Translated Book Awards last week and while I know that two of my last four posts on this blog have been about Mercè Rodoreda, I still have to say it–hooray, Rodoreda made the longlist! It’s her novel, War, So Much War (Quanta, quanta guerra) translated by Martha Tennent and Maruxa Relaño. (My experimental review). If you haven’t already seen the full list of books, click on over to see who else made it (fiction longlist | poetry longlist) and be sure to follow the BTBA blog for guest posts by a fine array of people arguing why their favorite books should win.

On that note I know you may be thinking, so Matt, where’s the link to your guest post on that very same blog making a stunning argument about why Rodoreda should win? Well, I wasn’t asked. Which is cool. Because the wonderful Mark Haber of Brazos Bookstore (and a BTBA judge) wrote this great piece that says it almost as well as I could have. Actually, it’s far better, because near the end of his post he talks about people coming into the bookstore excited to read more Rodoreda and admits he thinks she should win a posthumous Nobel, which has crossed my mind more than once, too.

On the subject of translation, I want to give a quick shout-out to two recent novels about translators. Translator Idra Novey’s “Ways to Disappear” has been getting great reviews all over the place and I can’t wait to read it. And earlier this year, to equal acclaim, there was Rachel Cantor’s “Good on Paper,” which I need to read soon as well. Their approaches to exploring what it is and means to be a translator are different (Novey’s novel sounds a bit more experimental), but it’s very nice to see that not only are publishers willing to invest in novels about translators, but the books are getting some much-deserved media attention. And hooray for that as well.

2 thoughts on “translation

  1. I could hear you cheering when I read the longlist. I did buy Time of the Doves as per your recommendation but have not yet read it. I have been tempted to grab War, So Much War because it has been on my radar and I tend to get stupidly sucked up into trying to get through a good chunk of the longlist just because… so here I am staring at a 2 inch thick volume of Clarice Lispector’s stories thinking: “How the hell did you get in here?”

    Regarding writing blog posts for Three Percent, I just wrote two on short notice that will go live tomorrow and I have to say it was easier to write about the book I can argue for with my head not my heart (Sphinx), over the one I really loved (I Refuse). I had a good review on hand to work over for Sphinx but I read I Refuse when it came out in the UK in late 2014 when I was only piddling with the idea of writing about books, so my post about the book is pathetic. I had to race back through the book and cobble something together and as a result I fear I have a far less articulate argument for the book I like the most.

    At the end of the day my heart lies with Hilbig and I’m afraid I might just gush incoherently had I been asked to write about it even though I have a stronger review on hand to start with!

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    • I feel the same way after seeing the longlists, just want to rush out and get everything I don’t already have in a stack so huge I’ll not get to half of it this year.

      I look forward to reading your posts about Sphinx and I Refuse. I’m sure they’ll be brilliant. Thanks for the heads-up about them.

      And pick up the Rodoreda, if only because it’s short, reads quickly, and Lispector’s overrated imho!

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