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A versión inglesa de «Todo é silencio», de Manuel Rivas, elixida como a segunda mellor novela publicada en 2014

A novela Todo é silencio, de Manuel Rivas, foi elixida por Eileen Battersby como a segunda mellor novela do ano entre todas as obras publicadas en 2014, segundo publica The Irish Times. A tradución ao inglés de All Is Silence está feita por Jonathan Dunne.



Eileen Battersby’s books of 2014

1 Iza’s Ballad, by Magda Szabo, translated by George Szirtes (Harvill Secker) Ettie’s world dies with her beloved hapless husband, leaving her at the mercy of their only daughter, a divorced doctor, and her clinical kindness. Szabo, author of The Door (1987, translated 2005), is a rare voice, and this novel about the death of tradition and hope is a marvel of empathy.

2 All is Silence, by Manuel Rivas, translated by Jonathan Dunne (Vintage) Galician poet Rivas has a gleeful field day with narrative in this textured morality play cum thriller that ricochets between politics, intellectual games, emotion and regret. With a coastal setting that could be the west of Ireland and a cast of characters that could be Irish, it also has flashes of the mighty American, William Gaddis – no need to say more.

3 Iron Gustav, by Hans Fallada, translated by Philip Owens, completed by Nicholas Jacobs (Penguin) Gustav Hackendahl is tough, yet life proves even harder as he sees his adult children and his small empire, a successful Berlin cab business, falter. Finally available with the Nazi-censored cuts reinstated, this is Fallada at his most Dickensian.

4 A Meal in Winter, by Hubert Mingarelli, translated by Sam Taylor (Portobello) Three battle-hardened German soldiers set out to track down a Jew in the Polish countryside and then take shelter from the bitter cold in a derelict shack. There they prepare a meal of strange resonance in a narrative of bleak genius.

5 Beside the Sea, by Veronique Olmi, translated by Adriana Hunter (Peirene Press) Olmi’s devastating study of a mother battling poverty and mental illness, which was also adapted for stage by the Irish actor Lisa Dwan, is a modern-day Greek tragedy whose narrator holds us with her truth and humanity.

6 The Giraffe’s Neck, by Judith Schalansky, translated by Shaun Whiteside (Bloomsbury) An angry biology teacher is at war with the world, while her husband has taken to breeding ostriches and their only daughter has left to study in California. Schalansky, born in 1982 in Hans Fallada’s home town, is another German original and this brilliant, multilayered novel features a flawed anti-heroine all too human in her failures.

7 F, by Daniel Kehlmann, translated by Carol Brown Janeway (Quercus) Poised and knowing, Munich-born Kehlmann takes the theme of dysfunctional families and makes it his own, along with exploiting the hidden symbolism of a Rubik cube.

8 Gilgi, by Irmgard Keun, translated by Geoff Wilkes (Melville House) A one-time companion of Joseph Roth, Keun was a formidable literary talent. In Gilgi, her first novel, published in 1931 when she was 26, the young heroine sets out to take charge of her own destiny and makes plans, only to see them falter when she falls in love. Sharp yet naive, she is utterly human and Wilkes’s inspired translation renders her in bold three-dimensional focus.

9 On Leave, by Daniel Anselme, translated by David Bellos (Penguin Classics) A trio of soldiers make their way home to France to celebrate Christmas 1956. Anselme’s truth-teller’s lost classic, published in 1957, told far too much about the French involvement in Algeria.

10 Strange Weather in Tokyo, by Hiromi Kawakami, translated by Allison Markin Powell (Portobello) True love is celebrated with humour, grace and pathos as the wary narrator recalls her unusual approach to dealing with an overwhelming passion.

11 The Narrow Road to the Deep North, by Richard Flanagan (Chatto & Windus) One of the strongest-ever Booker winners, Flanagan’s story of an outsider doomed to live a long, lonely life triumphs in the vivid sequences describing the horrific suffering endured by Australian prisoners of war building Burma’s Death Railway.

12 In the Beginning was the Sea, by Tomás González, translated by Frank Wynne (Pushkin Press) When an arrogantly intellectual couple decide to settle for a self-sufficient existence on Colombia’s tropical coast, it all goes appallingly wrong. González places it in laconic context. Superb.

13 The Woman Who Borrowed Memories: Selected Stories, by Tove Jansson, translated by Thomas Teal and Silvester Mazzarella (New York Review Books) In her centenary year, the unique Swedish-speaking Finnish author Jansson, a daughter of two artists, continues to dazzle in singular narratives filtered through her sharp wit and beguiling imagination.

14 Red Cavalry, by Isaac Babel, translated by Boris Dralyuk (Pushkin Press) As a journalist with the Soviet first cavalry during the Polish-Soviet War of 1920, Babel kept a diary and later wrote these unforgettable stories, lyrical and earthy, through the eyes of a bewildered Russian-Jewish narrator.

15 Pedro Páramo, by Juan Rulfo, translated by Margaret Sayers Peden (Serpent’s Tail) Honouring a last promise made to his dying mother, Juan Preciado sets off across Mexico to the ghost town once ruled over by his father. First published in 1955, Rulfo’s only novel explores the thin line between the living and the dead.

16 The Sermon on the Fall of Rome, by Jerome Farrari, translated by Geoffrey Strachan (MacLehose Press) As expected, this is another masterful performance from the author of Where I Left My Soul (2010, translated 2012). Two graduates return home from Paris to their Corsican village to run a bar, and fun yields to menace.

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