Ahead of November 14th, I’ll be making my way through the shortlists for the NBA in Fiction and Translated Literature, beginning with Rebecca Makkai’s The Great Believers.
Over the weekend, I’m planning on listening to Rebecca Makkai’s The Great Believers, a novel that meditates on the AIDS epidemic during the ’80s as well as the impact the epidemic has had on one woman’s life in the present. The 432-page book has only received lukewarm reviews on my Goodreads feed, but I wanted to begin with it, since I need something lengthy to listen to while finishing a freelance project this weekend.
I’ll then transition to Yoko Tawada’s The Emissary. A friend loaned me a copy of this earlier in the fall, and I’m excited to finally have the time to read it. The story centers on Japan after it has suffered “a massive irreparable disaster,” leading to a kind of “a post-Fukushima time, with all the children born ancient.” It seems more like a novella than a novel, and I probably won’t have the chance to read anything else over the weekend.
Over the course of next week, I’ll read Jamel Brinkley A Lucky Man and Négar Djavadi’s Disoriental, and listen to Brandon Hobson’s Where the Dead Sit Talking. A Lucky Man and Disoriental have been high on my list throughout the year; Graywolf and Europa both tend to publish such strong work that I’d be surprised were I to dislike either. I only recently came across Where the Dead Sit Talking, with the release of the longlist for the NBA in Fiction. The novel follows two Native American teens as they make their way through the foster system and develop a close bond, and I’m hoping to finish it before next weekend.
What books on the NBA shortlists or longlists have you read so far? Do you enjoy reading works in translation?