Books in Translation: Background information when reading Fame

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A Novel in Nine Episodes

by Daniel Kehlmann

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  • First Published:
    Sep 2010, 192 pages
    Nov 2011, 192 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Norah Piehl

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About this Book

Beyond the Book:
Books in Translation

In a now-infamous statement preceding the awarding of the 2008 Nobel Prize in literature to French author Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clezio, Swedish Academy member Horace Engdahl remarked that the publishing climate in the United States had grown "too isolated, too insular. They don't translate enough and don't really participate in the big dialogue of literature." It's true that no American has won the Nobel Prize in literature since Toni Morrison did so in 1993. However, partly in defiance of Engdahl's statement, and partly in response to the recent run of prizewinners not writing in English, some American publishers are rediscovering the sometimes heady, sometimes just downright entertaining bounty of literature originally written in other languages.

Part of the demand comes, surprisingly enough, from readers of European mystery and suspense novels; arguably the best known of which are the Scandinavian authors Henning Mankell and Stieg Larsson whose books are bestsellers in the United...

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