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?

1 comment:

Jon said...

I know it's a bit old, but I was pleasantly surprised by Haruki Murakami's Norwegian Wood (trans. Jay Rubin) recently. Unexpectedly fantastic. But then what should we expect from the Japanese translator of Catcher in the Rye and Raymond Carver's short stories?

I keep planning to read the Larsson books, but I keep meaning to read them in the original -- which cost about £20 a pop from Grant & Cutler, meaning that it's not going to happen before I win the lottery.