2021 International Booker shortlisted translator Martin Aitken's translated fiction recommendations

Por The Booker Prizes

Por The Booker Prizes

Mysteries: Classic Edition

Knut Hamsun

9,99 鈧 9,29 鈧

I found a disintegrating paperback of Hamsun鈥檚 鈥淢ysteries鈥 in a flat I was sharing in Newcastle in 1986. It was surely this 1971 translation by Gerry Bothmer. I was spellbound, and took it with me when I left.

Death In Venice And Other Stories

Thomas Mann

8,99 鈧 8,36 鈧

The decadence, the decay, the modernity. Probably Kenneth Burke鈥檚 translation from 1925, unearthed in that same Newcastle flat, though this one is recent, by David Luke.

Lost Musicians

William Heinesen

9,99 鈧 9,29 鈧

Heinesen was from the Faroe Islands but wrote in Danish. I鈥檓 sure I first discovered him through an English translation by Erik Friis, much earlier than this one by W. Glyn Jones. After I learned Danish, Heinesen鈥檚 were probably the first books I read. Magical.


Michel Houellebecq

9,99 鈧 9,29 鈧

I wouldn鈥檛 notice if Houellebecq wrote a poor novel, I just inhale everything he does. This, his latest, is translated by Shaun Whiteside. Required reading on any late-capitalist night.


W. G. Sebald

8,99 鈧 8,36 鈧

Eerie and heart-wrenching. Sebald鈥檚 is such an utterly original and important voice, and this has me in pieces. Anthea Bell鈥檚 translation is meticulous and beautiful.


Thomas Bernhard

10,99 鈧 10,22 鈧

Abundantly bleak, like all his novels, but just as hilarious. The translation, by David McLintock, moves effortlessly with Bernhard鈥檚 expressive peculiarities and tortuously expansive syntax.