(Today is a day in which I list things . . . ) Hopefully most of you are aware of Reading the World, a unique collaborations between publishers and independent booksellers to promote literature in translations throughout the month of June.
This program came out of a series of discussions at BookExpo America five (?!) years ago, and has grown every year since thanks to its simplicity and elegance. Throughout the month of June, approx. 250 bookstores across the country display RTW titles complete with posters and brochures featuring the artwork of Czech artist Peter Sis. In the past, various bloggers, reviewers, radio hosts, and the like wrote and talked about many of these books, and the program in general, helping to create a certain buzz around RTW, which helped get these titles into the hands of readers.
I’ll be posting periodic updates over the next few months, especially once the artwork for 2008 is finalized, the new website is online, the Bookforum/RTW BEA party details are set, etc., but since we just finalized this list, I wanted to share it with everyone. This year the RTW list consists of 25 titles—20 from the 10 “core” publishers who have been part of the program from the start and 5 selected by a panel of independent booksellers.
So here they are in alpha order of publisher:
Yalo, Elias Khoury, translated from the Arabic by Peter Theroux (Lebanon)
A Mind at Peace, Ahmet Hamdi Tanpinar, translated from the Turkish by Erdag Goknar (Turkey)
COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY PRESS
The Song of Everlasting Sorrow: A Novel of Shanghai, Wang Anyi, translated from the Chinese by Michael Berry and Susan Chan Egan (China)
COPPER CANYON PRESS
So What: New and Selected Poems, 1971-2005, Taha Muhammad Ali, translated from the Arabic by Gabriel Levin and Peter Cole (Lebanon)
DALKEY ARCHIVE PRESS
I’d Like, Amanda Michalopoulou, translated from the Greek by Karen Emmerich (Greece)
Knowledge of Hell, Antonio Lobo Antunes, translated from the Portuguese by Clifford Landers (Portugal)
Don Quixote, Miguel de Cervantes, translated from the Spanish by Edith Grossman (Spain)
Celestial Harmonies, Peter Esterhazy, translated from the Hungarian by Judith Sollosv (Hungary)
The Days of Abandonment, Elena Ferrante, translated from the Italian by Ann Goldstein (Italy)
FARRAR, STRAUS, AND GIROUX
The Girl on the Fridge, Etgar Keret, translated from the Hebrew by Miriam Shlesinger and Sondra Silverston (Israel)
Beijing Coma, Ma Jian, translated from the Chinese by Flora Drew (China)
New European Poets, edited by Wayne Miller and Kevin Prufer, translated from various by various (Europe)
Serve the People!, Yan Yan, translated from the Chinese by Julia Lovell (China)
HOUGHTON MIFFLIN HARCOURT
Peeling the Onion, Gunter Grass, translated from the German by Michael Henry Heim (Germany)
Woods and Chalices, Tomas Salamun, translated from the Slovenian by Brian Henry (Slovenia)
Mind’s Eye, Hakan Nesser, translated from the Swedish by Laurie Thompson (Sweden)
Fire in the Blood, Irene Nemirovsky, translated from the French by Sandra Smith (France)
Nazi Literature in the Americas, Roberto Bolano, translated from the Spanish by Chris Andrews (Chile)
The Assistant, Robert Walser, translated from the German by Susan Bernofsky (Switzerland)
NEW YORK REVIEW BOOKS
The Unforgiving Years, Victor Serge, translated from the French by Richard Greeman (France)
The Post-Office Girl, Stefan Zweig, translated from the German by Joel Rotenberg (Austria)
The King of Corsica, Michael Kleeberg, translated from the German by David Dollenmayer (Germany)
Life Laid Bare: The Survivors in Rwanda Speak, Jean Hatzfeld, translated from the French by Linda Coverdale (France)
Out Stealing Horses, Per Petterson, translated from the Norwegian by Anne Born (Norway)
The Diving Pool, Yoko Ogowa, translated from the Japanese by Stephen Snyder (Japan)
Though far from the most convincing reason to read literature in translation, one common side effect is learning of another culture, of its history. Within that, and a stronger motivation to read, is the discovery of stories not possible within. . .
Despite cries that literature is dead, dying, and self-replicating in the worst way, once in a while a book comes along to remind readers that there’s still a lot of surprise to be found on the printed page. To be. . .
“I was small. And my village was small, I came to know that in time. But when I was small it was big for me, so big that when I had to cross it from one end to the other,. . .
A few weeks after moving into a farm house in the Welsh countryside, Emilie, an expatriate from the Netherlands, starts to think about her uncle. This uncle tried to drown himself in a pond in front of the hotel where. . .
Think back to the last adventure- or action-type book you read. Wasn’t it cool? Didn’t it make you want to do things, like learn to shoot a crossbow, hack complicated information systems, travel to strange worlds, take on knife-wielding thugs,. . .
In Aira’s Shantytown, while we’re inside the characters’ heads for a good portion of the story, the voice we read on the page is really that of Aira himself, as he works out the plot of the book he’s writing.. . .
Noir is not an easy genre to define—or if it once was, that was a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away; as a quick guess, maybe Silver Lake, Los Angeles, 1935. When two books as different as. . .
Some time ago I read this phrase: “The page is the only place in the universe God left blank for me.”
Pedro Mairal’s short novel The Missing Year of Juan Salvatierra is more about these blank spaces than the usual full. . .
“What if even in the afterlife you have to know foreign languages? Since I have already suffered so much trying to speak Danish, make sure to assign me to the Polish zone . . .”
So reads a typical aphoristic “poem”. . .
If you somehow managed to overlook the 2012 translation of Andrés Neuman’s breathtaking Traveler of the Century (and woe betide all whom continue to do so), you now have two exceptional works of fiction from the young Argentine virtuoso demanding. . .