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Best Translated Book Award > 2019 BTBA Discussion

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message 1: by Antonomasia (last edited Apr 10, 2019 09:24AM) (new)

Antonomasia | 1488 comments Mod
Best Translated Book Award 2019: Fiction Longlist

Congo Inc.: Bismarck's Testament by In Koli Jean Bofane, translated from the French by Marjolijn de Jager (Democratic Republic of Congo, Indiana University Press)

The Hospital by Ahmed Bouanani, translated from the French by Lara Vergnaud (Morocco, New Directions)

A Dead Rose by Aurora Cáceres, translated from the Spanish by Laura Kanost (Peru, Stockcero)

Love in the New Millennium by Xue Can, translated from the Chinese by Annelise Finegan Wasmoen (China, Yale University Press)

Slave Old Man by Patrick Chamoiseau, translated from the French by Linda Coverdale (Martinique, New Press)

Wedding Worries by Stig Dagerman, translated from the Swedish by Paul Norlen and Lo Dagerman (Sweden, David Godine)

Pretty Things by Virginie Despentes, translated from the French by Emma Ramadan, (France, Feminist Press)

Disoriental by Negar Djavadi, translated from the French by Tina Kover (Iran, Europa Editions)

Dézafi by Frankétienne, translated from the French by Asselin Charles (published by Haiti, University of Virginia Press)

The Bottom of the Sky by Rodrigo Fresán, translated from the Spanish by Will Vanderhyden (Argentina, Open Letter)

Bride and Groom by Alisa Ganieva, translated from the Russian by Carol Apollonio (Russia, Deep Vellum)

People in the Room by Norah Lange, translated from the Spanish by Charlotte Whittle (Argentina, And Other Stories)

Comemadre by Roque Larraquy, translated from the Spanish by Heather Cleary (Argentina, Coffee House)

Moon Brow by Shahriar Mandanipour, translated from the Persian by Khalili Sara (Iran, Restless Books)

Bricks and Mortar by Clemens Meyer, translated from the German by Katy Derbyshire (Germany, Fitzcarraldo Editions)

Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata, translated from the Japanese by Ginny Tapley Takemori (Japan, Grove)

After the Winter by Guadalupe Nettel, translated from the Spanish by Rosalind Harvey (Mexico, Coffee House)

Transparent City by Ondjaki, translated from the Portuguese by Stephen Henighan (Angola, Biblioasis)

Lion Cross Point by Masatsugo Ono, translated from the Japanese by Angus Turvill (Japan, Two Lines Press)

The Governesses by Anne Serre, translated from the French by Mark Hutchinson (France, New Directions)

Oraefi: The Wasteland by Ófeigur Sigurðsson, translated from the Icelandic by Lytton Smith (Iceland, Deep Vellum)

Codex 1962: A Trilogy by Sjón, translated from the Icelandic by Victoria Cribb (Iceland, FSG)

Flights by Olga Tokarczuk, translated from the Polish by Jennifer Croft (Poland, Riverhead)

Fox by Dubravka Ugresic, translated from the Croatian by Ellen Elias-Bursac and David Williams (Croatia, Open Letter)

Seventeen by Hideo Yokoyama, translated from the Japanese by Louise Heal Kawai (Japan, FSG)


message 2: by Antonomasia (last edited Apr 10, 2019 09:41AM) (new)

Antonomasia | 1488 comments Mod
Best Translated Book Award 2019: Poetry Longlist

The Future Has an Appointment with the Dawn by Tenella Boni, translated from the French by Todd Fredson (Cote D’Ivoire, University of Nebraska)

Dying in a Mother Tongue by Roja Chamankar, translated from the Persian by Blake Atwood (Iran, University of Texas)

Moss & Silver by Jure Detela, translated from the Slovenian by Raymond Miller and Tatjana Jamnik (Slovenia, Ugly Duckling)

Of Death. Minimal Odes by Hilda Hilst, translated from the Portuguese by Laura Cesarco Eglin (Brazil, co-im-press)

Autobiography of Death by Kim Hysesoon, translated from the Korean by Don Mee Choi (Korea, New Directions)

Negative Space by Luljeta Lleshanaku, translated from the Albanian by Ani Gjika (Albania, New Directions)

Scardanelli by Frederike Mayrocker, translated from the German by Jonathan Larson (Austria, Song Cave)

the easiness and the loneliness by Asta Olivia Nordenhof, translated from the Danish by Susanna Nied (Denmark, Open Letter)

Nioque of the Early-Spring by Francis Ponge, translated from the French by Jonathan Larson (France, Song Cave)

Architecture of Dispersed Life: Selected Poetry by Pable de Rokha, translated from the Spanish by Urayoán Noel (Chile, Shearsman Books)


message 3: by Paul (new)

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) | 3327 comments Mod
Autobiography of Death from the poetry award has been getting a lot of prize and critical attention recently - although of course such is the way of social media that that may be a complete misperception on my part coloured by my having lots of K-lit accounts I follow and no poetry ones.


message 4: by Trevor (new)

Trevor (Mookse) | 1637 comments Mod
I've put together a post that has book blurbs, covers, and some accompanying reviews (including a few from Paul!) HERE.

My first impression is that it is a strong list in that it has a lot of titles I hadn't really considered before peppered in with some of the year's highlights (like Sjon, Djavadi, Tokarczuk, and Ugresic).


message 5: by Sam (new)

Sam | 342 comments The ebook edition of Dézafi is a bit pricey.


message 6: by Lascosas (last edited Apr 13, 2019 08:41AM) (new)

Lascosas | 320 comments I did a very good job of staying away from probable longlist titles and reading around the edges. I've only read 5: Wedding Worries, Oraefi, Fox, Hospital & Can Xue. Total page number for the 25 is 7,200. As usual I'll mostly start with the longest. I will read all 25, though not by the time the shortlist is announced, and I promise to post short reviews here of all 25.

I look forward to a lively discussion.


message 7: by Lascosas (new)

Lascosas | 320 comments Trevor-
I agree with your comments. As always the books selected by the individual judges are easy to identify, but some of them look quite interesting. For example, I enjoyed 64 and have been waiting for a long flight to read 17. That is the first mystery genre book ever longlisted for the BTBA. And then we also have the first longlisted zombie book...


message 8: by Paul (last edited Apr 10, 2019 10:16AM) (new)

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) | 3327 comments Mod
The 10 I've read ranked - and with the traditional yes/no/maybe for shortlist (first 7 were 'yesses' for me for the longlist) and my reviews:

Yes:
1. Oraefi https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...
2. Flights https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...
3. The Governesses https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...
4. Fox https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...
5. CoDex 1962 https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...
Maybe:
6. Disoriental https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...
7. Convenience Store Woman https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...
8. Lion Cross Point https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...
No:
9. Love in the New Millennium https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...
10. Bricks and Mortar https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


message 9: by Trevor (new)

Trevor (Mookse) | 1637 comments Mod
Not quite the first zombie novel in BTBA history!

We crossed that bridge when I was a judge, and we even shortlisted Wicked Weeds, which I really liked! It’s interesting that Wicked Weeds was from the Dominican Republic while Dézafi is from Haiti.

For the record, I also love César Aira’s Dinner. I didn’t realize until today that zombies just might be my kind of thing!


message 10: by Sunita (new)

Sunita (Sunita_p) | 171 comments Thanks so much for the post at M&G, Trevor. I'm in awe of how quickly you put it together.

I've only read two (Seventeen and Convenience Store Woman) and I have four more in the TBR. I've been intrigued by The Hospital since I read the Three Percent blog post about it a while back, so I'll definitely pick that up. And there are a bunch of other books that look interesting. I don't see myself powering through them in the very short window between today and the winner announcement date, but I would like to read a good 12-15 of them over the next few months.


message 11: by Trevor (new)

Trevor (Mookse) | 1637 comments Mod
Other than the one year I had to, I have not ever succeeded in reading all 25, let alone in the short time between the long and short list announcements. I love having a lot of options, though, and I cannot wait to hear what folks think!


message 12: by Lascosas (new)

Lascosas | 320 comments Trevor-
I stand zombie-corrected!


message 13: by Eric (new)

Eric | 224 comments An interesting list as always. I've read 6, and have 3 out on loan from the library.


message 14: by Sam (new)

Sam | 342 comments I am pleased with the list and will read liberally from it. I have read six and am halfway through a seventh. Those seven include both my favorite read of 2019 and my least favorite, so I expect the list to be a roller coaster for me.
For those reading The Old Slave and the Mastiff, I suggest reading Chamoiseau's essay,
"Éloge de la créolité (In Praise of Creoleness)," co-authored with Jean Bernabé and Raphaël Confiant, as well as some sampling from Édouard Glissant, Chamoiseau's mentor, since the allusions draw deep from those works.


message 15: by Lascosas (new)

Lascosas | 320 comments And for the first time I've ordered the whole poetry list, also. I've read the Nordenhof, can't resist Hilda Hilst, own the Hysesoon and think the Pable de Rokha an important book, so what the heck, I'll try them all. Though I have a hard time reviewing poetry.


message 16: by Lascosas (new)

Lascosas | 320 comments Eric-
What have you read?


message 17: by Paul (new)

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) | 3327 comments Mod
and ditto Sam - what are the favourite / least favourite reads you mention?


message 18: by Sam (last edited Apr 10, 2019 11:03AM) (new)

Sam | 342 comments Paul wrote: "and ditto Sam - what are the favourite / least favourite reads you mention?"

My favorite is the one I am reading right now, The Fox. Hopefully, I did not just jinx it. My least favorite was Love in a New Millienium.
1, Fox
2. Slave, Old Man 2 and 3 are equal
3. Codex 1962
4. Disoriented
5. Convenience Store Woman
6. Comemadre
7. Love in the New Millenium


message 19: by Paul (new)

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) | 3327 comments Mod
Thanks


message 20: by Eric (new)

Eric | 224 comments Lascosas -
Fox
Wedding Worries
Codex 1962
Pretty Things
The Governesses
The Bottom of the Sky


message 21: by Lascosas (new)

Lascosas | 320 comments Sorry Sam, didn't mean to exclude you. It is just that Eric and I were partners for last year's adventure, so I was particulraly curious as to what he had read. I agree with both of you that Fox is way up the list, and along with both Paul and Sam think Love in the New Millenium is a less than satisfactory read.


message 22: by Lascosas (new)

Lascosas | 320 comments Anyone else interested in the poetry list?


message 23: by Paul (new)

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) | 3327 comments Mod
I quite enjoyed The Last Lover, but this just seemed more of the same and even more bonkers


message 24: by Paul (new)

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) | 3327 comments Mod
For the Kim Hyesoon, four of the poems are here with the originals

http://cordite.org.au/translations/ch...


message 25: by Sam (new)

Sam | 342 comments Lascosas wrote: "Sorry Sam, didn't mean to exclude you. It is just that Eric and I were partners for last year's adventure, so I was particulraly curious as to what he had read. I agree with both of you that Fox is..."

No offense taken Lascosas. I will be interested in your view of Comemadre as well as the rest.


message 26: by June (new)

June Scott | 46 comments 1. Fox
2. The Governesses
3. Codex 1962
4. Comemadre
5. Flights

Many of these are equal in my mind...

I own After the Winter and Slave Old Man and just ordered People in the Room since it was on my TBR list anyway. And I keep thinking I should read Disoriental.


message 27: by LindaJ^ (new)

LindaJ^ (LindaJS) | 120 comments Thanks Trevor for the book descriptions/reviews. I'm fascinated by some of the ones I've not heard of before. I have read three (Love in the New Millennium, The Governesses, and Flights) and have five on the shelf, which will keep me busy for awhile!


message 28: by carissa (new)

carissa | 87 comments How thrilling! All but one are available to me. From everyone's comments/rankings, I see I better stop putting off reading Fox.

READ
1-Slave Old Man by Patrick Chamoiseau
2-Flights by Olga Tokarczuk
3-Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata
4-Comemadre by Roque Larraquy
5-The Governesses by Anne Serre
6-Lion Cross Point by Masatsugo Ono

READING NOW
Dézafi by Frankétienne
People in the Room by Norah Lange
Seventeen by Hideo Yokoyama
After the Winter by Guadalupe Nettel
Transparent City by Ondjaki

NLF GROUP READ MAY/JUNE
Love in the New Millennium by Xue Can


message 29: by Robert (new)

Robert | 816 comments Flight and Codex are on the TBR Stack, so they'll get a bump up. I'll be reading Love in the New Millennium shortly (saving it for Easter holidays when I have time to devote myself to it). As for purchases it will be Disoriental. The local bookstore does have a copy of Bricks and Mortars so I'll get that.

I've already read Convenience Store Woman and I liked it a lot


message 30: by Steve (new)

Steve | 1 comments I’ve only read three, but I didn’t really take to any of them: Convenience Store Woman, Governesses, and Comemadre (listed in the order of preference).

This may be too far afield for this discussion, but I do find it weird that the small publisher who runs the BTBA is also eligible to win it. I know he started it and built it up from nothing, so it’s a tricky situation. But for a press that only publishes -10 books a year, I feel like Open Letter is over represented on this longlist.


message 31: by Sam (new)

Sam | 342 comments For those who use ereaders, many of these are available from Hoopla or through the paid Scribd. Some may be available through your local library's Overdive.


message 32: by Sunita (new)

Sunita (Sunita_p) | 171 comments Sam wrote: "For those who use ereaders, many of these are available from Hoopla or through the paid Scribd. Some may be available through your local library's Overdive."

Ebooks, yes. Ereaders, only if they are on Overdrive. Scribd and Hoopla both require that you stream on your computer or download and read through an app (Android/iOS).


message 33: by Antonomasia (new)

Antonomasia | 1488 comments Mod
Re the poetry list: recent LRB essay on Luljeta lleshanaku by Michael Hoffman
https://www.lrb.co.uk/v41/n07/michael...
Thanks to Barbara who tweeted it recently.


message 34: by Antonomasia (new)

Antonomasia | 1488 comments Mod
Do you also have those weird Overdrive Read books that can only be read in a browser? I have never finished one as I find them offputting.


message 35: by Sunita (new)

Sunita (Sunita_p) | 171 comments Antonomasia wrote: "Do you also have those weird Overdrive Read books that can only be read in a browser? I have never finished one as I find them offputting."

I've yet to come across one of those. We have epub-only and epub/Kindle books (not all have Kindle versions), at least in the Overdrive accounts I use.

I tried to use Hoopla but even apart from the issues of reading on non-e-ink screens, I find the ebook app glitchy and unpleasant. The audio, if you download it, is better (streaming is not great) but I don't do much in audio.


message 36: by Sam (new)

Sam | 342 comments I have, like Sunita said, only used the apps on my tablets. I like them because I can adjust the print size to my vision.


message 37: by Tony (new)

Tony | 210 comments I've read seven:

1) Flights
2) Disoriental
3) Bricks and Mortar
4) Convenience Store Woman
5) Love in the New Millennium
6) CoDex 1962
7) Lion Cross Point

Doubt I'll get to any more, a mixture of not having any and having plenty of other books I need to get through...


message 38: by Lascosas (new)

Lascosas | 320 comments Antonomasia-
Thanks for the Guardian article on Luljeta Lleshanaku, interesting.


message 39: by Lascosas (new)

Lascosas | 320 comments It is exciting to see so many people interested in reading some of the list. Much more interest than in previous years.


message 40: by Jen (new)

Jen | 58 comments I've just come from the library where I found on the shelves a copy of Slave Old Man (unheard of!). So I will start there and will rely on recommendations here for which others to prioritize. I am so pleased to see that 10 of the titles are in my (relatively small) library system.

I'll aim to read 5 or so before the shortlist announcement. For some reason this list has captured my attention much more than MBI this year, I'm not sure why that is.


message 41: by Antonomasia (new)

Antonomasia | 1488 comments Mod
I have only read (links go to reviews)

Bride & Groom by Alisa Ganieva
Convenience Store Woman
Flights (which I didn't like as much as a lot of readers).

There are several others I really want to read, but not sure if I'll manage to fit them in.
Fox and Codex 1962 are the first ones I'd go for.


message 42: by Tony (new)

Tony | 210 comments Jen - "For some reason this list has captured my attention much more than MBI this year, I'm not sure why that is. "

I think the reasons are fairly clear ;)


message 43: by Antonomasia (new)

Antonomasia | 1488 comments Mod
How does it work with Bricks & Mortar being on the list this year, when Fitzcarraldo published it in the same edition in 2016?


message 44: by Paul (new)

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) | 3327 comments Mod
Well they officially started distributing books in the US in 2018 (https://publishingperspectives.com/20...)


message 45: by Antonomasia (new)

Antonomasia | 1488 comments Mod
Ah, so all previous Fitzcarraldo books were eligible at the same time, and it sounds like they found this one to be the best of the bunch.


message 46: by Paul (new)

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) | 3327 comments Mod
Yes although several published by others e.g. New Directions & Open Letter have Enard, Riverhead Tokarczuk.

Indeed it was quite hard to guess which Fitzcarraldo book was the one that was (clearly from the picture) longlisted as the eligible list wasn't exactly their strongest 4 (this, Companions, the Fosse, Insane) because I suspect the better one from their backlist were picked up by others.


message 47: by Antonomasia (new)

Antonomasia | 1488 comments Mod
Hadn't realised so few of their books didn't have other US publishers. But then that's just the translations.


message 48: by Paul (new)

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) | 3327 comments Mod
Someone brought the Nocilla trilogy out this year as one collection rather than three separate books. The Zambras I think may even have been published in US before UK.


message 49: by Antonomasia (new)

Antonomasia | 1488 comments Mod
Yeah, they were. I first heard of him because US-based GR friends were reading him. (And some from the same circles have been reading the one volume Nocilla.)


message 50: by Sunita (last edited Apr 11, 2019 12:20PM) (new)

Sunita (Sunita_p) | 171 comments The differing pub dates for Fitzcarraldo books was making it very confusing to tell which ones were eligible for this year's BTBA, especially after they commenced US distribution for some of the titles.

WRT Zambra, he got a big push in mainstream lit circles here when James Wood wrote a long, rave review essay on his work in The New Yorker when My Documents came out. But his latest book, Not to Read, still hasn't been published in the US.

ETA: Which is not to say that Zambra wasn't read here before that; Bonsai was published in 2008. But he wasn't written about as much in the non-translated-novel-focused press and blogs as much.


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