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The Three Percent blog has posted its 2010 Best Translated Book Award: Fiction Longlist. Some great looking titles on it -- I'm particularly keen to read Ghosts by César Aira -- but no room, it would seem, for Jonathan Littell's The Kindly Ones (translated by my friend Charlotte Mandell)...

Readers Comments

  1. No room it would seem, and thereby no credibility.

    I hope this isn't the malign influence of an industrial reader at work. Perhaps not, because he preferred Iliya Troyanov's middlebrow confection The Collector of Worlds which didn't make it "despite the fascinating material it presents". Surely if that was important TKO would win hands down.

  2. Must admit, Troyanov's story of Richard Burton did nothing for me. I read it at a considerable rate of knots for the IFFP09, but nothing about it made me want to slow down and relish it...

  3. Michael Orthofer Wednesday 06 January 2010

    Steve, I do admire your tireless (if misguided) advocacy for that terrrible book. Alas,my malign influence doesn't extend quite so far; as it happens -- and surely not surprisingly -- there was no support whatsoever for TKO. For god's sake, "Wetlands" is a more interesting book -- also (and similarly) bad, but at least not a complete failure. (All right, some readers do seem to find something in TKO -- I'll be damned if I can understand what -- so it isn't a complete failure ... though I keep thinking people will finally see the light and dismiss it as it properly should be; just because it is some sort of (and a very hefty) "accomplishment" doesn't mean it's in any way worthwhile (it's not).) Troyanov didn't make it either; obviously the fascinating-material factor didn't play much of a role in the selection-process. (Maybe not among the best books out there -- though I think there's more to it than mere middlebrow confectionary --, but it certainly deserved a bit more attenttion than it got in the US (unlike TKO, which certainly can't complain about any lack of attention, dubious though you may regard much of it).) TKO's only claim to a place in the top-25 would be because of its "importance"/impact (i.e. it was much-discussed, blah blah blah); personally, I'm glad to see literary merit mattered more in the selection process.

    Mark, I'm surprised you don't note/complain about the fact that IFFP09 winner Evelio Rosero's "The Armies" failed to make the cut. No comment ?

  4. Hi Michael,

    With regards to Rosero's absence: I noted it, but I'm not that surprised somehow. I thought 'The Armies' was a (very) decent book, for sure, but not in any way truly essential...

    At the end of the IFFP09 process, I would have been glad for most any of the shortlisted titles to win, but none of them really, really blew me away. Dag Solstad's 'Novel 11, Book 18' wasn't even shortlisted, and that was one book that I was really passionate about. 'The Informers' by Juan Gabriel Vásquez would probably have been my winner from the shortlisted titles...

  5. Michael Orthofer Wednesday 06 January 2010

    Hey ! An author all three of us agree on ! Alas, Solstad hasn't made it stateside since "Shyness and Dignity" (i.e. the indeed very worthy "Novel 11, Book 18" was not BTB eligible). Lucky you: "Armand V" (which impressed me even more than "Novel 11, Book 18") is forthcoming in the UK

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