American readers who were caught flat-footed by the announcement that Patrick Modiano had won the Nobel Prize in Literature shouldn’t feel too guilty. At the time the prize was announced, exactly one book by Modiano was in print in English; he was as unknown in this country as J.M.G. Le Clezio, the previous French laureate, had been when he won the Nobel in 2008. Whether this is an indictment of our provincialism, or of the failure of the publishing industry to translate enough books, I’m not sure. After all, this is a country of 300 million people, almost as big as the entire European Union, and keeping up with American literature is surely a full-time job for most American readers.
Still, if there is one way to ensure that a European writer will finally be translated, the Nobel is it; and English versions of Modiano’s books are already on their way to bookstores. The first to arrive is Suspended Sentences, which Yale University Press was already scheduled to publish, but is now rushing into print thanks to the Nobel announcement. Read the full article | New Repubic