PEN America has announced the longlist for its 2017 Translation Prize, including Deborah Smith for Han Kang’s The Vegetarian (see our review here), Carlos Rojas for Yan Lianke’s The Explosion Chronicles, and Victoria Cribb for Sjón‘s Moonstone: The Boy Who Never Was. (We profiled Sjón’s work at length a few years back!) The winner will be announced in February of 2017.
Out this week: What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours by Helen Oyeyemi; Gone with the Mind by Mark Leyner; Innocents and Others by Dana Spiotta; High Dive by Jonathan Lee; Crazy Blood by T. Jefferson Parker; We Love You, Charlie Freeman by Kaitlyn Greenridge; Spill Simmer Falter Wither by Sara Baume; and The Best Place on Earth by Ayelet Tsabari. For more on these and other new titles, go read our Great 2016 Book Preview.
Nowadays, we take it as a given that Tolstoy’s fame was guaranteed by his talent, but many of his contemporaries thought he’d never get a readership outside his native Russia. Why? His writing, as Rosamund Bartlett puts it in a comparison with Turgenev, was “unpolished, more uncompromising and altogether more Russian” than his peers’. If you generally prefer Dostoevsky, you’ll appreciate our survey of scholars on which author was greater. (h/t Arts and Letters Daily)
“Perhaps it’s a sign that our literary culture is not quite so ailing that Smith managed to make a space for NW, to clear a third path, one that meanders through Willesden, through time, and through the mind.” Our own Emily M. Keeler on realism and Zadie Smith.
“The idea that novels could be dangerous seems largely have fallen by the wayside, which does raise the question of how today’s newer sources of entertainment and information will look to the critics of the future. In 50 years, maybe we’ll be lamenting our failure to read enough Internet.” Anna North writes about the distant time “When Novels Were Bad For You” for The New York Times.