Last year I started a new tradition of looking back over my year in reading and assigning arbitrary awards. You can check out last year’s opening post here. (Again, this idea is blatantly ripped-off from FictionFan who is currently presenting her 2019 awards so you should go check those out too!) The categories, the shortlists, and the winners are all decided by me. The reward is the warm feeling these authors will surely receive knowing that a random person on the internet enjoyed their book. All of these books are ones I read between December 2018 and November 2019.
This year’s categories are as follows:
Best Short Story Collection
Best Canadian Book
Best Book Published in 2019
We’ll begin with Best Translation!
Reading more in translation is an ongoing goal of mine. Three titles really stood out to me this year.
Article 353 by Tanguy Viel, translated from the French of William Rodarmor. This was one of the first books I read in 2019 and ended up being a standard by which I judged the rest of the translations of the year. This short novel was different than anything I’d ever read.
Death is Hard Work by Khaled Khalifa, translated from the Arabic by Leri Price. The Syrian As I Lay Dying. Sort of. This book had a lot going on and it took my a while to get through but it was a worthwhile read. A powerful glimpse into another culture and a conflict that is still ongoing.
Drive Your Plough Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk, translated from the Polish by Antonia Lloyd-Jones. I mean, Tokarczuk won the Nobel Prize this year so I’m far from alone in thinking this book is pretty amazing. Weird, wonderful, unsettling, complex, disturbing. There are so many adjectives you could use to describe Tokarczuk’s writing. She succeeds at creating a truly unique character and the book is very quirky but still entirely readable.
Your turn! What’s your book for the best translated work you read in 2019?
Next category: Best short stories on Thursday