Best Translated Book Award Link Roundup 2: The Longlist

Cover of Horses of God

Horses of God by Mahi Binebine, translated from the French by Lulu Norman (Morocco; Tin House)

“Poor Fuad, though, had no one to defend him; he had nothing but his legs.”


Cover of Blinding

Blinding by Mircea Cărtărescu, translated from the Romanian by Sean Cotter (Romania; Archipelago Books)

“There were days when the only people I saw on the streets were blind.”


Cover of Textile

Textile by Orly Castel-Bloom, translated from the Hebrew by Dalya Bilu (Israel; Feminist Press)

“It was not only avoiding thoughts of home that helped the good sniper to carry out his mission…”


Cover of Sleet

Sleet by Stig Dagerman, translated from the Swedish by Steven Hartman (Sweden; David R. Godine)

“When you’re the child of a small family farmer your back grows crooked already at an early age from you trying to bear as much on it as the grown-ups. “


cover of story of a new name

The Story of a New Name by Elena Ferrante, translated from the Italian by Ann Goldstein (Italy; Europa Editions)

“It was hot, I opened the window. I listened to the chickens pecking, the rustle of the reeds, then I became aware of the mosquitoes. I closed the window quickly and spent at least an hour going after them and crushing them with one of the books that Professor Galiani had lent me, Complete Plays,by a writer named Samuel Beckett.”


Cover of Tirza

Tirza by Arnon Grunberg, translated from the Dutch by Sam Garrett (Netherlands; Open Letter Books)

“Button it,” Hofmeester said, “your shirt. I can see everything. I don’t want to see everything. I’ve seen too much as it is.” Ibi was standing at the door, her upper body swaying rhythmically back and forth. She was crying without a sound.

The tenant buttoned his shirt, all the way to the top.”


Her Not All Her Cover

Her Not All Her by Elfriede Jelinek, translated from the German by Damion Searls (Austria; Sylph Editions)

“From the art of poetry war has arisen: People were bored by what they knew but they didn’t want to ask anything either. They wanted to answer right off. But there’s one thing they know for certain: Always conquer new ground! “


Cover of My Struggle Book 2: A Man in Love

My Struggle: Book Two by Karl Ove Knausgaard, translated from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett (Norway; Archipelago Books)

“‘We’re going to stay a bit longer,’ Linda said. ‘And look, now you’re all getting some goodies!’Was she was referring to the vegetables on the board?

She had to be.

They were crazy in this country.”


Seiobo There Below Cover

Seiobo There Below by László Krasznahorkai, translated from the Hungarian by Ottilie Mulzet (Hungary; New Directions)

“…and you should not come back if tomorrow, or after tomorrow, dawn breaks, because for you it will be much better for there to be no tomorrow and no day after tomorrow; so hide away now in the grass, sink down, fall onto your side, let your eyes slowly close, and die, for there is no point in the sublimity that you bear, die at midnight in the grass, sink down and fall, and let it be like that — breathe your last.”

I think this is surely the most reviewed book of the bunch. I would have guessed My Struggle.


Cover of Autobiography of  a corpse

Autobiography of a Corpse by Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky, translated from the Russian by Joanne Turnbull (Ukraine; NYRB)

“An old Indian folktale tells of a man forced to shoulder a corpse night after night—till the corpse, its dead but moving lips pressed to his ear, has finished telling the story of its long-finished life.”


Book cover featuring ink drawing of paper scrolls

The Missing Year of Juan Salvatierra by Pedro Mairal, translated from the Spanish by Nick Caistor (Argentina; New Vessel Press)

“This is where everything begins to be flattened by the gusting wind of time. People are suddenly horizontal, swept along by the invisible current.”


Book cover showing a close up of a man's dress shirt

The Infatuations by Javier Marías, translated from the Spanish by Margaret Jull Costa (Spain; Random House)

“But why do I say “too late,” I wonder, too late for what? I have no idea, to be honest. It’s just that when someone dies, we always think it’s too late for anything, or indeed everything — certainly too late to go on waiting for him — and we write him off as another casualty. It’s the same with those closest to us, although we find their deaths much harder to accept and we mourn them, and their image accompanies us in our mind both when we’re out and about and when we’re at home, even though for a long time we believe that we will never get accustomed to their absence. From the start, though, we know — from the moment they die — that we can no longer count on them, not even for the most petty thing, for a trivial phone call or a banal question (“Did I leave my car keys there?” “What time did the kids get out of school today?”), that we can count on them for nothing. And nothing means nothing.”

If Sieobo There Below is the most reviewed, this might be reviewed by the most diverse set of publications.


Cover showing a red and yellow pattern

A True Novel by Minae Mizumura, translated from the Japanese by Juliet Winters (Japan; Other Press)

“A miracle happened to me two years ago.”


Cover showing a strange blue 3-d shape and a man walking along it

In the Night of Time by Antonio Muñoz Molina, translated from the Spanish by Edith Grossman (Spain; Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

It’s strange how much trouble I’m having finding reviews and information about this book, considering it was published by one of the big five and you would think they would have marketing skills and budget. Maybe it’s just too large for reviewers to get to in time.


Book cover showing an owl eating a frog

The African Shore by Rodrigo Rey Rosa, translated from the Spanish by Jeffrey Gray (Guatemala; Yale University Press)


Book cover showing a black diamond on a white background

Through the Night by Stig Sæterbakken, translated from the Norwegian by Seán Kinsella (Norway; Dalkey Archive)

“I looked at her, the lovely renewed Eva. The just right level of tipsy Eva. The slightly nonchalant, amenable Eva. Whenever I dreamed of her, she was wearing the red dress she’d had on the first time we went out, to that Chinese restaurant. Yes, I think the two of us will always be together, I thought. What else could we possibly want?”


Book cover showing a gray background with black geometric lines embossed on top

Commentary by Marcelle Sauvageot, translated from the French by Christine Schwartz Hartley & Anna Moschovakis (France; Ugly Duckling Presse)

“This corner of myself judged you, measured you; and in judging and measuring you I saw your weaknesses, your insufficiencies; where is the harm in my staying, in my accepting these insufficiencies, in my loving them? O, Man! You always want to be admired. You do not judge, you do not measure the woman you love. You are there, you take her; you take your happiness, she seems not to belong to herself anymore, to have lost all sense of anything; you are happy.”


Blue book cover

Leg Over Leg Vol. 1 by Ahmad Faris al-Shidyaq, translated from the Arabic by Humphrey Davies (Lebanon; New York University Press)

“‘The Arabs have set the standard for both orientation and osculation, for to kiss the brow, as the Franks do, is meaningless. But why is the kissing of parts other than the mouth and the cheek devoid of the pleasure that the kisser experiences at those two spots?’ ‘Because,’ he replied, ‘one who is thirsty cannot quench his thirst by planting his mouth at the top of the water pitcher or on its side.’”


Book cover featuring the name Sjon in bold letters

The Whispering Muse by Sjón, translated from the Icelandic by Victoria Cribb (Iceland; FSG)

“So clattering crockery and clinking cutlery formed my lullaby on my first ‘night’ as a guest on board the flagship of my benefactor, Mr. Magnus Jung-Olsen.”


Cover with strange painting

The Forbidden Kingdom by Jan Jacob Slauerhoff, translated from the Dutch by Paul Vincent (Netherlands; Pushkin Press)


Book cover featuring a grid with soviet, nazi, and jewish symbols

The Devil’s Workshop by Jáchym Topol, translated from the Czech by Alex Zucker (Czech Republic; Portobello Books)


Book cover that shows the title growing like vines

The End of Love by Marcos Giralt Torrente, translated from the Spanish by Katherine Silver (Spain; McSweeney’s)

“Why doesn’t anybody tell us that we are not always the same, that it takes time for us to become who we are?”


Book cover showing the back of a man's head

Red Grass by Boris Vian, translated from the French by Paul Knobloch (France; Tam Tam Books)


Book cover showing two photographs of Los Angeles

City of Angels, or, The Overcoat of Dr. Freud by Christa Wolf, translated from the German by Damion Searls (Germany; FSG)

“Very softly, and quickly repressed again, the question came to mind: What had actually made me come here?—just loud enough for me to recognize it the next time it announced itself, already more urgent than before. In any case, the scaly trunks of the palm trees glided by as though they were reason enough. The smell of gas and exhaust. A long drive.”


Cover of Sandalwood Death

Sandalwood Death by Mo Yan, translated from the Chinese by Howard Goldblatt (China; University of Oklahoma Press)

” If a dog grunts, it is still a dog, and when a pig barks, it remains a pig. And a dieh is still a dieh, even if he does not act like one. Grunt grunt, arf arf. The noise drove me crazy. They knew they would be dead soon. So would my dieh.”

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