Thursday, April 29, 2010

National Bestseller Finalists & A Nabokov-Related Translation Award

I always enjoy looking up books that are shortlisted for awards -- this year’s National Bestseller short list was good fun thanks to lots of variety... Here are the six finalists and their point totals for this round:

Roman Senchin’s Елтышевы (The Yeltyshevs), which was a 2009 Booker finalist, received 11 points. Senchin’s work, including The Yeltyshevs, is on Журнальный зал here.

Andrei Astvatsaturov’s Люди в голом (People in the Nude), received 7 points. People in the Nude was a 2009 NOSE award finalist. (earlier post with description) Previous writing from Astvatsaturov is on Журнальный зал here.

Vasilii Avchenko’s Правый руль (Wheel on the Right) collected 6 points. (previous post with brief description)

Pavel Krusanov’s Мертвый язык ((A/The?) Dead Language), which says should have been called Мертвый критик (The Dead Critic), had 6 points. I gather from the review that the main character is an old guard St. Petersburg undergroundish guy dissatisfied with the world. Openspace makes it sound like Dead Language is Chinese water torture with words instead of water. Other work by Krusanov is on Журнальный зал here.

Oleg Lukoshin totaled 6 points for his “повесть-комикс” (story-comics) Капитализм (Capitalism), which appears to be composed of many short sketches written in short sentences. Taking a very quick look at this review I noticed that its writer sees Capitalism as drawing on Chekhov’s Спать хочется (“Sleepy”), among other works. The NatsBest site notes that Lukoshin’s book made the short list through popular voting on Live Journal; it was listed as the longest shot to win, with 1:12 odds.

Eduard Kochergin’s Крещенные крестами (Baptized with Crosses) received 5 points. The NatsBest site calls this book autobiographical; the book’s listing says it relates Kochergin’s childhood experiences running away from a temporary home in Omsk for children of enemies of the people. Other works by Kochergin are on Журнальный зал here.

I’ve only read one of the books, The Yeltyshevs, which I thought was so good (previous post) that I am now (disclosure here!) contributing to a proposal for publishing it in translation. I keep meaning to read the one Kursanov book, Бом-бом (Bom-Bom), that’s on my shelf.

Russian language NatsBest commentary on the finalists is available here.

A note for Nabokovians: I learned from Three Percent that Ross Benjamin won the Wolff Translation Prize from the Goethe Institut for his translation of Michael Maar’s Speak, Nabokov. Here’s an excerpt on n+1.


  1. As far as I'm concerned, "Бом-Бом" is so bad it's funny. That Openspace remark about Krusanov being in love with his writing is spot on.

  2. ears-of-tin, I wondered if you'd mention something about Krusanov -- I seem to recall seeing you'd written something unfavorable about him on goodreads. Of course now I'm even more curious about Бом-бом!

  3. Have you read "Салам тебе, Далгат!"?
    The autor has awarded by "Вebut" for this novel in 2009.

  4. Thank you for mentioning Alisa Ganieva's novel, kolokolcev. I haven't read her work but she was one of the writers who was supposed to come to the London Book Fair last month. ( link) Have you read Салам тебе?