A Literary World Cup 2014

FIFA held the final draw for the 2014 World Cup today. Thirty two national teams were placed in eight groups. In six months, they will challenge each other until one team remains. But six months is a long time and I’m already excited, so I’ll do what I usually do in situations like these and transfer some of my excitement from the football field to the bookshelf. Both are culture. Moreover, football is a world game and the World Cup is its global celebration, so why not learn a little about each of the participating countries—why not delve into their national literatures…

For each country, I will pick a book that is somehow connected to that country and also available in English translation.

Group A

Brazil Gabriela, Clove and Cinnamon
Croatia The Bridge on the Drina
Mexico The Death of Artemio Cruz
Cameroon Mission to Kala

Group B

Spain Juan the Landless
Netherlands The Assault
Chile The Savage Detectives
Australia The Shiralee

Group C

Colombia Chronicle of a Death Foretold
Greece Drifting Cities
Ivory Coast The Suns of Independence
Japan Some Prefer Nettles

Group D

Uruguay A Brief Life
Costa Rica Redemptions
England Earthly Powers
Italy Zeno’s Conscience

Group E

Switzerland Jakob von Gunten
Ecuador Seven Serpents and Seven Moons
France Journey to the End of the Night
Honduras Prison Verde *

Group F

Argentina Hopscotch
Bosnia Herzegovina Death and the Dervish
Iran The Blind Owl
Nigeria Amina: A Novel

Group G

Germany The Glass Bead Game
Portugal The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis
Ghana The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born
United States The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter

Group H

Belgium The Sorrow of Belgium
Algeria The Obstinate Snail
Russia Heart of a Dog
South Korea White Badge
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One thought on “A Literary World Cup 2014

  1. Have fun reading these books! Hopefully you managed to get some reading in over Christmas.

    I recently found books by the Belgian author Jean Philippe Toussaint. I also learned that he wrote an essay about Zidane and that World Cup final incident. I also came across books by the Argentine author César Aira. Incredibly over the last few months, I have been finding books by authors from countries in the World Cup 🙂 That is torture for me, especially since I decided against having books in my world cup spotlight. I think the problem is even though I have no books in my spotlight, I am tuned in to these nations, so I keep finding books from there. What are the chances that at a farmer’s market used book shop, I find a book from the Brazilian author Antonio Torres, an author that I was looking for a few years back.

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