The March/April issue of World Literature Today is now available online -- well worth checking out, as always.
As always, too, lots of book reviews -- with surprisingly few (just one !) of these titles also already under review at the complete review.
The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of An Elegy and Ten Digressions by Alberto Manguel, Packing My Library, forthcoming from Yale University Press.
This is the rare/unusual work that has appeared in translation before it comes out in English (despite having been written in English); even the German translation is available before the English original, but it's the Spanish one that's been out for longest.
The ‘Sheikh Hamad Award for Translation is ... well, as they put it: "a prize that hands out a ridiculous amount of cash"; among the winners of the most recent awards was Philippe Vigreux, for his translations -- of Naguib Mahfouz and Ibrahim al-Koni, among others; he's currently translating a book by Sinan Antoon.
In The Peninsula Zainab Ratab talks with him, in Ignored in France and honoured in Qatar -- though apparently that honouring didn't extend to checking the proper transliteration of his name back from the Arabic: he's referred to as "Dr Philippe Figuero" throughout the piece (hey, they got the 'Philippe' right).
Bless him for believing:
translation can bring things back to normal.
It can help highlight the facts and combat the extremism and intolerance that are afflicting the Arab world today.
The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Leïla Slimani's 2016 prix Goncourt-winning novel, The Perfect Nanny -- also just out in the UK, under the title Lullaby.
This has gotten quite a bit of review attention -- this is one of the rare books (though, surprisingly the second in the past week, after the Kadare) that has also gotten the LitHub 'Book Marks' treatment -- and, boy, am I glad I don't cover more popular titles, because the link-collecting is ... tiresome.
And, while I do realize prizes are ... determined by the whims of the judges (the Man Booker not only went to one of McEwan's worst (Amsterdam) but even sunk, once, to the level of Vernon God Little), but I am kind of surprised that this won the biggest of the French prizes, the Goncourt.
I can understand missteps such as The Kindly Ones -- big ! serious ! Nazis ! -- , and, hey, this one is arguably better-written than that was, but still .....
(Note that the Goncourt can not, strictly speaking, be considered the French 'best book' prize, since it's (supposed to be) one-and-done: previous winners can't win again, so all the former winner are out of the running each time around.)
(Brief irritated Book Marks-page asides: a) don't offer a link that promises: "READ FULL REVIEW >>" if I can't when I click on it (here e.g. Wall Street Journal and Financial Times): doing so is a complete waste of your readers' time (and really frustrating); and b) that The New York Times Book Review review is not a review; Marilyn Stasio's is the review of record.)
The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of the first of the four parts of Alfred Döblin trilogy of the (well, 'a', as he called it ...) German Revolution, November 1918, Bürger und Soldaten 1918 -- the part John E. Woods hasn't translated .....
Döblin -- greatly admired by both Günter Grass (who endowed the Alfred Döblin Prize) and Arno Schmidt, among many others -- has quietly been gaining some English-language momentum in recent years, with New York Review Books bringing out a trio of his works,
from a re-issue of The Three Leaps of Wang Lun (see their publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk) to the new Michael Hofmann translation of the classic Berlin Alexanderplatz (which is now also out as a Penguin Classic in the UK; get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk).
The November 1918-series would sort of lend itself to a 2018 revival (the hundredth anniversary of the subject matter, after all), but, hey, it took them a while to sort out in German, too, so .....
Anyway, I do hope to get to the remaining volumes before ... November.
The Dutch Europese Literatuurprijs is awarded for the best (European) book in Dutch translation, and they've just announced their (twenty-title) 2018 longlist.
It is limited to European authors, but still interesting to see the variety, and what's been translated into Dutch.
There are a few familiar English names, and at least some titles also translated into English -- though some of the most interesting are still to come, like Dubravka Ugrešić's Fox, forthcoming from Open Letter (see their publicity page, or pre-order your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk), and Nino Haratischwili's The Eighth Life, forthcoming from Scribe.
They've announced the six-title strong shortlist for this year's International Prize for Arabic Fiction.
It includes works by Ibrahim Nasrallah and Amir Tag Elsir -- as well as one that's been translated and is due out in English shortly, Shahad Al Rawi's The Baghdad Clock; see the Oneworld publicity page, or pre-order your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk
The winner will be announced 24 April.
They've announced the finalists for this year's LA Times Book Prizes -- awarded in ten categories.
Neat to see Vivek Shanbhag's Ghachar Ghochar -- a book in translation, and a paperback original at that -- as one of five fiction finalists.
(That is the only one of the finalists under review at the complete review.)
The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Ismail Kadare's A Girl in Exile: Requiem For Linda B..
This came out in 2016 in the UK, but it's taken until now for a US edition to come out (from Counterpoint).
They've announced the winners of this year's PEN America Literary Awards, with Len Rix's translation of Katalin Street by Szabó Magda winning the translation prize; see also the New York Review Books publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.
Of course, my favorite category is the PEN/Edward and Lily Tuck Award for Paraguayan Literature -- because there definitely isn't enough Paraguayan literature ... well, pretty much anywhere beyond Paraguay.
Fantasmario, by Javier Viveros, takes that one -- so we'll hopefully soon/eventually see it translated into English .....
Yes, I'm up to 4100 books under review at the complete review, so it's time for another overview of the past 100 reviewed titles.
- The last 100 reviews were posted over a zippy 163 days (previous hundred: almost a month longer, at 188 day), totaling 99,527 words (up considerably from the previous hundred: 93,697 ); the longest review was 3258 words, and eight reviews were over 1500 words long.
The reviewed books had a total of 25,555 pages (previous hundred: 25,387); despite a higher average page-total than the last hundred, the trend of short and shorter books in translation continues, with ten reviewed titles (one-tenth of the total) under 100 pages (last hundred: seven).
- Reviewed books were originally written in 23 different languages (including English; previous hundred: 26), with English topping the field (22), ahead of French (16) and Japanese (9).
No new languages were added.
(See also the updated full breakdown of all the languages books under review were originally written in.)
- Reviewed books were by authors from 34 countries (previous 100: 36), led by France (12), followed by the UK and the US (10 each).
- As always, male-written books were overwhelmingly dominant -- 82 of the reviewed books were written by men (improving the horribly sexist average of written-by-women titles under review ever so slightly, to ... 15.85 per cent).
- Three books received a grade of 'A' -- Andrés Barba's Such Small Hands, Annie Ernaux's The Years, and Dag Solstad's T Singer.
One book rated a 'C-'; two were ungraded.
- Fiction dominated, as always, with 85 titles that were novels/novellas/stories.
As always, there are all sorts of areas, languages, genres, etc. that I wish I'd read more of/from.
Maybe eventually .....
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