Sunday, February 28, 2016

2016 NatsBest Nominees//Longlist

Ah, the National Bestseller Award nominees, a.k.a. the NatsBestlonglist! I always enjoy this one, with its list of nominators and books, plus commentary from Vadim Levental, the NatsBest organization committee’s secretary in charge. This year’s list contains 47 nominations, with 44 books nominated.

Without further ado, here are some of them:

Books nominated twice:
  • Alexander Ilichevsky’s Справа налево (From Right to Left), nominated by critic Nikolai Aleksandrov and writer Igor Sakhnovskii. Essays.
  • Pyotr Aleshkovsky’s Крепость (The Citadel), nominated by critics Natalya Babintseva and Maya Kucherskaya. I have this book on the shelf; I bought it after taking a look at an electronic copy that Aleshkovsky’s literary agency sent to me. Modern times and the Middle Ages merge through archaeology.
  • El’dar Sattarov’s Транзит Сайгон-Алматы (very literally Transit Saigon-Almaty), nominated by poet Vsevolod Emelin and Maksim Surkov of the bookstore Tsiolkovsky. Apparently fiction about a Vietnamese partisan.

Books I have a personal interest in for various reasons:
  • Narine Abgaryan’s С неба упали три яблока (Three Apples Fell from the Sky), nominated by literary agent Natasha Banke. I translated excerpts from the book, which I enjoyed (previous post).
  • Dmitrii Danilov’s Есть вещи поважнее футбола (There Are More Important Things Than Football/Soccer), nominated by critic Mikhail Vizel’. I’ve enjoyed Danilov’s other books and have this one on the shelf, too. It’s about soccer (inspired by Stephen King and Stewart O’Nan’s Faithful), at least nominally. (I made attempts at this book and Aleshkovsky’s recently but had physical trouble reading them… this was the first step to realizing I needed new glasses.)
  • Maria Galina’s Автохтоны (part 1) (part 2) (Autochthons, I guess), nominated by literary agent Julia Goumen. I enjoyed (and translated excerpts from) Galina’s Mole Crickets (previous post).
  • Svetlana Dorosheva’s Книга, найденная в кувшинке (The Nenuphar Book), nominated by publisher Aleksandr Zhikarentsev. I translated excerpts from this illustrated book: they are undoubtedly the most beautiful excerpts (they’re funny, too) I have ever translated!
  • Leonid Yuzefovich’s Зимняя дорога (The Winter Road), nominated by critic Valeria Pustovaya. I’m not big on nonfiction but I enjoy Yuzefovich’s writing and am especially interested in the Civil War right now…
  • Alexander Snegirevs Как же ее звали?.. (What Was Her Name, Anyway?), nominated by publisher Sergei Rubis. Snegirev very kindly sent me a copy (on paper!) of the book, which I’m looking forward to reading. (I read the very shortest story while waiting for my eye appointment; any story about feeding birds gets bonus points, particularly when the print’s possible to read with old glasses.)
  • Oleg Zaionchkovsky’s Тимошина проза (I think this must be Timosha’s Prose/Writings: there’s a character in Happiness Is Possible named Timosha…), nominated by writer Sergei Shargunov. I enjoyed Zaionchkovsky’s Happiness Is Possible (previous post) and Petrovich (previous post) very much so am looking forward to more from Zaionchkovsky.

A few (somewhat) randomly chosen books:
  • Mikhail Zygar’s Вся кремлевская рать (I’ll cop out here and use the title on Zygar’s English-language Wikipedia page: All the Kremlin’s Men), nominated by critic Konstantin Mil’chin. Nonfiction by a founder of the independent TV channel Dozhd.
  • Anatolii Kim’s Гений (The Genius), nominated by critic Vladimir Bondarenko. Apparently about actor Innokentii Smoktunovskii.
  • Sukhbat Aflatuni’s Муравьиный царь (The Ant Tsar/King), nominated by publisher Yulia Kachalkina. This book’s in manuscript form and I have no idea what it’s about but even some quick Googling turns up some interesting possibilities for subtexts for the title…

Disclaimers: The usual, including things mentioned above and knowing nominators and writers on the list. Plus my translation of NatsBest’s Vadim Levental’s Masha Regina (previous post), which comes out in May from Oneworld Publications!

Up Next: Aleksandr Grigorenko’s Mebet, which has been a nice companion during a very busy spell (not always with proper glasses!), as I’ve been finishing up Eugene Vodolazkin’s Solovyov and Larionov, which will be coming this fall, also from Oneworld.


  1. Typo alert: "Autochtons" should be "Autochthons."

    What have you been reading on the Civil War? I can highly recommend both Lincoln and Mawdsley.

    1. Thank you, Languagehat, for catching that! I feel doubly silly on that one because I purposely copied the word rather than typing it in. But then I copied the wrong line. (I don't think butterflies are the issue here, though who knows, maybe that was wishful thinking?)

      The Civil War interest is because I'm translating Vodolazkin's Solovyov and Larionov, parts of which are set during the Civil War. Thank you for the recommendations: I just took a quick look at Lincoln's last chapter on Amazon.