The Best Translated Book Award’s longlist was just announced and its 25 titles contain a handful of novels from this part of the world:
Serbia: Leeches by David Albahari
French novels dominate the list, with Spanish and German just behind them. What really surprises me is the fact that there isn’t a single Russian title that made it although there were a number of excellent Russian books that came out last year: Thirst by Andrei Gelasimov, two novels by Ilf and Petrov and The New Moscow Philosophy by Vyacheslav Pyetsukh.
“Some people want to move Russia aside so it does not interfere in the ruling of the world,” rotating Prime Minister and President Vladimir Putin said about an altogether different subject.
The list will be narrowed down to a 10-title shortlist on April 10.
Tolstoy among the psychologists
The American View has an article about the influence of Tolstoy’s novella The Death of Ivan Ilych on our notions of death and dying. Psychologists and other doctors dealing with patients approaching the end have mined the book for its lessons on coping with the fear of death and being able to accept its inevitability.
The latest issue of Bookforum is out and has a lot of interesting articles, though for the most part not available online. J. Hoberman writes about László Krasznahorkai’s Satantango and Marjorie Perloff has a piece on Gregor von Rezzori and the final days of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, with his novel An Ermine in Czernopol having just been published by NYRB.
Photo – Portrait of Tolstoy by Nikolai Ge