This is a great idea:
Amazon.co.uk has launched a new Literature in Translation store, highlighting hundreds of titles from 27 countries across the world. The site went live last week and is linked via the books homepage and the crime, fiction and poetry category pages The Bookseller
Can’t say it’s the easiest store to find, but that might be my faulty searches and the fact that I need some coffee . . . Nevertheless, here’s a link to the front page of the translation store.
Independent bookstores such as McNally Jackson, Quail Ridge Books, Talking Leaves, and others, have implemented similar ideas, creating a foreign fiction section and organizing the books by country/region. Similar to a special display in a store, Amazon is also highlighting books from particular authors and presses, which is a nice touch. (Personally, I think it would be great if there was a bit more editorial info included in these spotlights. An interview, a more complete description, etc., would go a long way.)
From my experience at Quail Ridge Books, creating a section like this worked really well in terms of increasing sales of translations, which is something Kes Nielsen, head of book buying, seems to believe in:
Sales of the genre had been growing in recent years. “By creating a dedicated Literature in Translation section on site, we are making it easy for our customers to discover a wide selection of great books by new authors from different countries that we hope they will enjoy,” he said.
“Customers will always respond to well written books, regardless of whether they were originally written in English. However there is also the appeal of reading fiction set in cities or countries that are either familiar based on travel or that are simply different to the traditional setting of most books, specifically the US and UK. It can make them all the more exciting to read.”
The one disappointing thing is that this is only on Amazon UK—not on the U.S. sister site. Sort of embarrassing that the original Amazon is a step behind . . .
César Aira dishes up an imaginative parable on how identity shapes our sense of belonging with Dinner, his latest release in English. Aira’s narrator (who, appropriately, remains nameless) is a self-pitying, bitter man—in his late fifties, living again with. . .
Originally published in French in 2007, We’re Not Here to Disappear (On n’est pas là pour disparaître) won the Prix Wepler-Fondation La Poste and the Prix Pierre Simon Ethique et Réflexion. The work has been recently translated by Béatrice Mousli. . .
Even though the latest from Jean Echenoz is only a thin volume containing seven of what he calls “little literary objects,” it is packed with surprises. In these pieces, things happen below the surface, sometimes both literally and figuratively. As. . .
Who is this woman? This is the question that opens Xiao Bai’s French Concession, a novel of colonial-era Shanghai’s spies and revolutionaries, police and smugglers, who scoot between doorways, walk nonchalantly down avenues, smoke cigars in police bureaus, and lounge. . .
For the past 140 years, Anna Karenina has been loved by millions of readers all over the world. It’s easy to see why: the novel’s two main plots revolve around characters who are just trying to find happiness through love.. . .
Linn Ullmann’s The Cold Song, her fifth novel, is built much like the house about which its story orbits: Mailund, a stately white mansion set in the Norwegian countryside a few hours drive from Oslo. The house, nestled into the. . .
Karel Schoeman’s Afrikaans novel, This Life, translated by Else Silke, falls into a genre maybe only noticed by the type of reader who tends toward Wittgenstein-type family resemblances. The essential resemblance is an elderly narrator, usually alone—or with one other. . .
In Joris-Karl Hyusmans’s most popular novel, À rebours (Against Nature or Against the Grain, depending on the which translated edition you’re reading), there is a famous scene where the protagonist, the decadent Jean des Esseintes, starts setting gemstones on the. . .
There are books that can only wisely be recommended to specific types of readers, where it is easy to know who the respective book won’t appeal to, and Kristiina Ehin’s Walker on Water is one these. What makes this neither. . .
Imagine the most baroque excesses of Goethe, Shakespeare, and Poe, blended together and poured into a single book: That is The Nightwatches of Bonaventura. Ophelia and Hamlet fall in love in a madhouse, suicidal young men deliver mournful and heartfelt. . .