Friday, 12 March 2010

Franck and Schami Battle It Out

The longlist for this year's Independent Foreign Fiction Prize is out, and features two German books: Julia Franck's awkwardly titled The Blind Side of the Heart (Die Mittagsfrau) and Rafik Schami's similarly groanworthy The Dark Side of Love (Die dunkle Seite der Liebe). Both translated by Anthea Bell, one about difficult mothers in Germany pre-WWII, the other about forbidden love in Syria.

Judge Boyd Tonkin points out that there were fewer translated books this year as publishing crawled into its shell over the recession - and the fact that Bell and the Arabic translator Humphrey Davies are both on the list twice suggests that younger translators may be bearing the brunt, with people less likely to take a risk on less established translators.

Anyway, my blind heart's behind Julia Franck, as I loved her book - a great story, well told.

1 comment:

Lyn said...

I don't want to cavil, because this is not only A Good Thing but properly credits all the translators and the lovely presses which bring out translation, but calling it Foreign Fiction (as opposed to something more precise like '... in English/translation') does seem a bit disingenuous! what about all the other good foreign fiction which no-one has translated yet? hurrah all the same for the recognition.