Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Translation Award Finalists & Batuman's The Possessed

Two items for today...

Three Percent’s Best Translated Book Award Finalists

I was happy to see that a Russian book – Memories of the Future by Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky, translated by Joanne Turnbull in collaboration with Nikolai Formozov and published by New York Review Books – was shortlisted for the Best Translated Book Award. For more on the book and Krzhizhanovsky: my previous post or Chad Post’s Three Percent post. (Chad, if you’re reading, the accent goes on the “o”…)

Another finalist, José Manuel Prieto’s Rex, translated from the Spanish by Esther Allen, has Russian characters, and the author, who was born in Cuba, lived in Russia for twelve years. Grove, the publisher, sent me a copy of the book last year and, though I have yet to read it, it looks inviting despite my fear of Proustian themes… maybe this is the push I need to finally read it. For more: Chad Post’s Three Percent post on Rex.

Also: Scott Esposito, an award judge, wrote this post for The Millions about literary translation and the shortlist.

Elif Batuman’s The Possessed

Meanwhile, Dwight Garner’s positive review of Elif Batuman’s The Possessed: Adventures with Russian Books and the People Who Read Them appeared in today’s New York Times. Any book with a title like that plus cover art by Roz Chast scares the hell out of me – what if the book isn’t as good as its cover? – but this one sounds like fun. The Times posted an excerpt, “Babel in California,” here.


Krzhizhanovsky on Amazon
Prieto on Amazon
Batuman's The Possessed on Amazon


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