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Found in Translation: Longlist for Best Translated Book of 2008

Three Percent, the website arm of Chad Post's seemingly one-man literary-translation crusade at the University of Rochester (see Heidi's Omni interview with him about his publishing arm, Open Letter, last month), has announced this year's 25-book longlist for their Best Translated Book of 2008 award:

Which ones look good to me? I wishlisted Voice Over and Homage to Czerny (mainly because the PW reviews made them sound so good), and I already had Senselessness, Tranquility, and the two NYRB books, Unforgiving Years and The Post-Office Girl, high on my (endless) to-read pile. And I've read both Bolaños (and made them both Best of the Month picks). Michael Orthofer, proprietor of the Literary Saloon (whose advocacy of translated lit really makes it a two-man crusade), is one of the other judges, and he has a far better rundown than I could give, including reviews of 13 of the books. He also points out some geographical omissions, especially the surprising absence of anything from Asia, in a year when a remarkable number of novels from China (Beijing Coma, Wolf Totem, etc.) got pretty prominent review coverage. He loves 2666 even more than I do and amusingly comments on its prospects for winning the award: "(are there any doubts about which book will emerge top of the heap ? I mean, I can't commit my vote yet, since I haven't read all the titles and I'll have to revisit some I read a while back, but come on ...)."

Read more in Chad Post's Q&A on the award with the LA Times's Jacket Copy. They'll announce 10 finalists on January 27, and the winner on February 19. --Tom


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