Best Translated Book Award winner Can Xue is back with a new novel, Frontier, (translated by Karen Gernant and Chen Zeping with an introduction by Porochista Khakpour), which is every bit as wonderfully strange and complex as anything she’s written to date. You can win a copy through GoodReads simply by clicking on the “Enter Contest” box below.
Frontier opens with the story of Liujin, a young woman heading out on her own to create her own life in Pebble Town, a somewhat surreal place at the base of Snow Mountain where wolves roam the streets and certain enlightened individuals can see and enter a paradisiacal garden.
Exploring life in this city (or in the frontier) through the viewpoint of a dozen different characters, some simple, some profound, Can Xue’s latest novel attempts to unify the grand opposites of life—barbarism and civilization, the spiritual and the material, the mundane and the sublime, beauty and death, Eastern and Western cultures.
A layered, multifaceted masterpiece from the 2015 winner of the Best Translated Book Award, Frontier exemplifies John Darnielle’s statement that Can Xue’s books read “as if dreams had invaded the physical world.”
Part Jessica Jones, part China Miéville, Radiant Terminus (trans. by Jeffrey Zuckerman) is one of Antoine Volodine’s craziest, longest, and most compelling books to date. And you can win a copy simply by entering the GoodReads contest below.
The most patently sci-fi work of Antoine Volodine’s to be translated into English, Radiant Terminus takes place in a Tarkovskian landscape after the fall of the Second Soviet Union. Most of humanity has been destroyed thanks to a number of nuclear meltdowns, but a few communes remain, including one run by Solovyei, a psychotic father with the ability to invade people’s dreams—including those of his daughters—and torment them for thousands of years.
When a group of damaged individuals seek safety from this nuclear winter in Solovyei’s commune, a plot develops to overthrow him, end his reign of mental abuse, and restore humanity.
Fantastical, unsettling, and occasionally funny, Radiant Terminus is a key entry in Volodine’s epic literary project that—with its broad landscape, ambitious vision, and interlocking characters and ideas—calls to mind the best of David Mitchell.
Click the “Enter Contest” button below for a chance to win one of 15 copies of Chronicle of the Murdered House by Lúcio Cardoso (and translated by Margaret Jull Costa and Robin Patterson) that we’re giving away through GoodReads this month.
“A real revolution in Brazilian Literature.“—Benjamin Moser
Long considered one of the most important works of twentieth-century Brazilian literature, Chronicle of the Murdered House is finally available in English.
Set in the southeastern state of Minas Gerais, the novel relates the dissolution of a once proud patriarchal family that blames its ruin on the youngest son Valdo’s marriage to Nina—a vibrant, unpredictable, and incendiary young woman whose very existence seems to depend on the destruction of the household. This family’s downfall, peppered by stories of decadence, adultery, incest, and madness, is related through a variety of narrative devices, including letters, diaries, memoirs, statements, confessions, and accounts penned by the various characters.
Salacious, literary, and introspective, Cardoso’s masterpiece marked a turning away from the social realism fashionable in 1930s Brazilian literature and had a huge impact on the writing of Cardoso’s life-long friend and greatest admirer—Clarice Lispector.
From now until October 31st, any and all GoodReads users can enter to win a copy of Justine by Iben Mondrup, translated from the Danish by Kerri Pierce:
Stylistically provocative, Justine tells the story of a young female artist whose life is upended when her house burns down with all of the artworks for her upcoming exhibit inside. With little time left to recreate every-thing she’s lost, Justine embarks on a series of sexual escapades with a sort of doomed intensity that foreshadows the novel’s final, dark twist.
Through flashbacks and fragmented memories, we see Justine as a student at the Art Academy first discovering the misogynistic order that rules the Danish art world, and later on as she constantly challenges its expectations—both in the studio and in bed.
A personal meditation on artistic identity, creative process, and the male-dominated art scene, the novel veers between the erotic and the savage, resulting in a spellbinding read from one of Denmark’s edgiest contemporary feminist writers.
It’s been some months since I posted about GoodReads Giveaways here on Three Percent, but since I recently scheduled ones for all of our forthcoming winter titles, I thought I’d invite everyone to enter into these drawings.
Both of these giveaways—for The Brother and for A Greater Music—run from October 1st until October 15th, and you can throw your name into the virtual hat simply by clicking through the “Enter Giveaway” boxes below.
First up, Rein Raud’s The Brother, translated from the Estonian by Adam Cullen:
Winner of the Eduard Vilde Literary Award
The Brother opens with a mysterious stranger arriving in a small town controlled by a group of men—men who recently cheated the stranger’s supposed sister out of her inheritance and mother’s estate. Resigned to giving up on her dreams and ambitions, Laila took this swindling in stride, something that Brother won’t stand for. Soon after his arrival, fortunes change dramatically, enraging this group of powerful men, motivating them to get their revenge on Brother. Meanwhile, a rat-faced paralegal makes it his mission to discover Brother’s true identity . . .
The first novel of Rein Raud’s to appear in English, The Brother is, in Raud’s own words, a spaghetti western told in poetic prose, simultaneously paying tribute to both Clint Eastwood and Alessandro Baricco. With its well-drawn characters and quick moving plot, it takes on more mythic aspects, lightly touching on philosophical ideas of identity and the ruthless way the world is divided into winners and losers.
And then A Greater Music by Bae Suah, translated from the Korean by Deborah Smith:
Near the beginning of A Greater Music, the narrator, a young Korean writer, falls into an icy river in the Berlin suburbs, where she’s been house-sitting for her on-off boyfriend Joachim. This sets into motion a series of memories that move between the hazily defined present and the period three years ago when she first lived in Berlin. Throughout, the narrator’s relationship with Joachim, a rough-and-ready metalworker, is contrasted with her friendship with M, an ultra-refined music-loving German teacher who was once her lover.
A novel of memories and wandering, A Greater Music blends riffs on music, language, and literature with a gut-punch of an emotional ending, establishing Bae Suah as one of the most exciting novelists working today.
Juan José Saer was one of the greatest
Spanish-language writers of the past hundred years. When he passed away in 2005, he was working on La Grande, a novel that brings together a number of characters from his earlier works in an exploration and ends with one of the greatest final lines in literature: “With the rain came the fall, and with the fall, the time of the wine.” (You can read a longer excerpt of Steve Dolph’s translation by clicking here.)
If you’ve read Saer before, you’re undoubtedly dying to get your hands on this; if you’ve never read him, this, despite being his last book, is a fantastic place to start.
To help everyone out, we’re giving away 15 copies through GoodReads. All the info on entering is below—just make sure you do it before March 24th.
And if you’d rather just forgo the whole “entering a drawing” aspect, you can just preorder the book via your favorite bookselling outlet, or via our website.
Our latest GoodReads Giveaway is for Amanda Michalopoulou’s Why I Killed My Best Friend, which may well win the prize for the best Open Letter title ever. And, along with Navidad & Matanza, it’s in the running for one of the best blurbs:
“Flawlessly translated, Amanda Michalopolou’s WIKMBF uses the backdrop of Greek politics, radical protests, and the art world to explore the dangers and joys that come with BFFs. Or, as the narrator puts it, ‘odiodsamato,’ which translates roughly as ‘frienemies.’”—Gary Shteyngart
This novel, which is coming out in May, is the second book of Michalopoulou’s to come out in the U.S., the first being I’d Like, which Dalkey brought out a few years back. (And both of which are translated by Karen Emmerich.) It’s a book about two women—Maria who relocates to Greece from Africa, and Anna who moved to Greece from Paris—and their lifelong “friendship” that is filled with both unquestioned support and bitter competition.
The structure of the novel, and the way it fills in the details of their present day relationship (which is reignited when Anna’s daughter ends up in Maria’s art class) with flashbacks to the tumultuous events of growing up in Greece in 70s works incredibly well, and provides and interesting look into the impact politics can have on friendships and life in general.
We’re giving away 20 copies, so if you’re a GoodReads user, be sure and sign up below.
Also, we’re in the final stages of planning a reading tour for Amanda that will take place in April. More information about that in the near future.
To celebrate the upcoming release (Nov. 20) of Juan Gelman’s Dark Times Filled with Light, we’re giving away 10 copies via the GoodReads giveaway program. All you have to do to enter (if you’re a member of GoodReads) is click on the box below. The giveaway went live this morning, and will close on November 15th, so if you want a chance to win, do it soon!
To give you a sense of Gelman’s importance and poetry, here’s a bit from Paul Pines’s introduction:
Juan Gelman was born in Buenos Aires in 1930 to a father who had participated in the 1905 Russian revolution before immigrating to Argentina. Juan was a political activist until the 1976 Argentine coup d’état brought a reign of terror to Buenos Aires. Gelman’s son, Marcelo, and daughter-in-law, Claudia, pregnant with the poet’s grandchild, were “disappeared.” The poet spent the next thirty years as an exile in Mexico and Europe. In 2000, after decades of searching, he located his granddaughter, born before her mother’s murder and given to a pro-government family in Uruguay.
The Argentina that nurtured the tango, and then “disappeared” its people, became the crucible for a poet. Steeped in the authority of his wound, Gelman’s poems transform the unspeakable into an affirmation that locates light even in the darkest of times:
dark times / filled with light / the sun
spreads sunlight over the city split
by sudden sirens / the police hunt goes on / night falls and we’ll
make love under this roof
Enter below, and if you’d rather just buy the book, you can order it directly from us for $11.95.
For all you GoodReads users, we’re giving away 10 copies of Kristin Omarsdottir’s Children in Reindeer Woods though their special program. To enter, simply click on the button below before March 31st.
In terms of this book, it’s a very intriguing novel that’s kind of like a war book that’s not about a war. It opens in shocking fashion with a group of paratroopers descending on an idyllic farmhouse and killing everyone in site. Then one paratrooper turns on the others, and by page three, the only people remaining are Rafael—a soldier who wants to start life over as a farmer—and the eleven-year-old Billie, a precious and strange child who had been living at the Children in Reindeer Woods foster home.
As the book progresses, it becomes less about war—the when and where of this war are displaced and made intentionally irrational, transforming this into a more mythic, or universal sort of story—and more about the relationship between these two characters who are building an oasis amid a culture of violence.
Back at the MLA conference, I gave a copy of this to a friend who texted me the next day to say that it gave her “the most fucked up dreams ever . . . in a good way.” It really is that strange and powerful and vivid.
It’s also going to be reviewed in the New York Times Book Review next month. So get your copy now, either by entering below, or simply buying it through our website.
This month our GoodReads Giveaway is for The Cyclist Conspiracy by Svetislav Basara. A strange, fragmented, playful book, fans of Pynchon or Basara’s earlier work (Chinese Letter available from Dalkey Archive) will definitely love this. It’s sort of like The DaVinci Code meets The Crying of Lot 49. Or something like that.
Oh, and people obsessed with bicycles will dig it as well. And those who like to smash clocks. Seriously. You just have to read it to understand.
Sign up below before the end of the month to have a chance to win one of these 10 copies.
The Smoke of Distant Fires by Eduardo Chirinos is the second book in our International Poetry Series, and to help spread the word about this collection (which G. J. Racz did an amazing job translating), we’re giving away 10 copies through GoodReads. Just click below to enter.
We’re bringing out Scars, the the follow-up to Juan Jose Saer’s critically acclaimed The Sixty-Five Years of Washington this December, but if you can’t wait till then, you can enter into the GoodReads Giveaway by clicking on the link below. Contest closes on the 15th, at which time 10 lucky winners will be selected . . .
Over at GoodReads, we’re giving away 10 copies of Milen Ruskov’s Thrown into Nature, which will be coming out this November.
If you want a chance to win one, just click on the link below before the end of the month.
Karaoke Culture doesn’t officially come out until October 25th, but 15 lucky people will win copies of Dubrakva Ugresic’s latest (and in the opinion of some, greatest) book through this GoodReads giveaway. Just click below to enter yourself in the drawing.
As with other recent books, we’re giving away 10 copies of Guadalajara via Goodreads. Accepting entries until June 15th, so follow the instructions below for a chance to win.
Prose translators will likely disagree, but I believe translating poetry requires a significant level of talent, a commitment to the text, and near mania, all of which suggests that the undertaking is the greatest possible challenge. The task is to. . .
The biggest issues with books like The Subsidiary often have to do with their underpinnings—when we learn that Georges Perec wrote La Disparition without once using the letter E, we are impressed. Imagine such a task! It takes a high. . .
Following The Infatuations, Javier Marías’s latest novel seems, like those that have preceded it, an experiment to test fiction’s capacity to mesmerize with sombre-sexy atmospheres and ruminative elongated sentences stretched across windowless walls of paragraphs. Thus Bad Begins offers his. . .
Death by Water, Kenzaburo Oe’s latest novel to be translated into English, practically begs you to read it as autobiography. Like The Changeling, as well as many other works not yet released in English, Death by Water is narrated in. . .
Jocelyne Saucier’s Twenty-One Cardinals is about the type of unique, indestructible, and often tragic loyalty only found in families. For a brief but stunningly mesmerizing 169 pages, Twenty-One Cardinals invited me in to the haunting and intimate world of the. . .
We know so very little; so little that what we think to be knowledge is hardly worth reckoning with at all; instead we ought to settle for being pleasantly surprised if, on the edge of things, against all expectations, our. . .
Many of Virginie Despentes’s books revolve around the same central idea: “To be born a woman [is] the worst fate in practically every society.” But this message is nearly always packaged in easy-to-read books that fill you with the pleasure. . .