Sunday, 18 April 2010
Independent Foreign Fiction prize shortlist 2010 and fiction in translation
For those of you, like me, who get seized with anxiety in bookshops because of too much choice, and at the same time get frustrated by the limited and bland range of titles which are given most airtime, sigh no more, for the shortlist for this year's Independent Foreign Fiction prize has just been announced.
Thinking about the books I've enjoyed over the last year or two I was struck by how many of them were in translation. Saramago's Blindness, translated by Giovanni Pontiero; Muriel Barbery's The Elegance of the Hedgehog, published by Europa Editions and translated by Alison Anderson. I hugely enjoyed The Last Wish by the Polish fantasy writer Andrzej Sapkowski, translated by Danuta Stok (many thanks to Tomasz whose essay introduced me to Sapkowski, and I have more of the books on order!). I and half the world have really enjoyed Stieg Larsson's Girl With the Dragon Tattoo trilogy in Reg Keeland's translations. The style is sometimes clunky but Larsson can plot like nobody's business.
In their different genres, all riveting reads and I look forward to more in 2010. If any of our readers has recently read a translation they really enjoyed, why not post and tell us about it?