24 March 14 | Kaija Straumanis | Comments

The latest addition to our Reviews section is a piece by Sara Shuman on Two Crocodiles by Fyodor Dostoevsky and Felisberto Hernández, translated (respectively) by Constance Garnett and Esther Allen, and out from New Directions.

Two Crocodiles, as the review also explains, is a short book comprised of two stories—one from Dostoevsky, the other from Hernández—with the same title, but with very different contents.

Sara, in turn, is new to the Three Percent fray, and stands out somewhat for her Ph.D. in Public Health (and is an editor for a public health journal). However, she is a great lover of world literature, and is no stranger to the likes of Daniel Sada, Laurent Binet, and Mia Cuoto, to name a few.

Here’s the beginning of Sara’s review:

This pearl from New Directions contains one short story from Russian literary master Fyodor Dostoevsky (translated by Constance Garnett) and one short story from Uruguayan forefather of magical realism Felisberto Hernández (translated by Esther Allen). Both pieces are entitled “The Crocodile,” hence Two Crocodiles.

The edition is slim and aesthetically pleasing; it fits in your jacket pocket, making it perfect for reading on the subway and impressing the people around you with its beauty and your class. Flip it over and you even find endorsements from David Foster Wallace (re: Dostoevsky) and Roberto Bolaño (re: Hernández). Sold.

I won’t compare and contrast the writing and themes from The Crocodile: An Extraordinary Incident to Dostoevsky’s more famous pieces (The Brothers Karamazov, Crime and Punishment), partly because it’s been done enough already, and partly because the goal of this book seems to be to juxtapose (or prove connected) the similarly-named stories of two very different authors from two very different literary worlds. In turn, Felisberto isn’t as well known as Dostoevsky, but literary giants Gabriel García Márquez, Julio Cortázar, and Italo Calvino all credit him as a major influence of their own work.

For the rest of the review, go here.

24 March 14 | Monica Carter | Comments

Stephen Sparks is a buyer at Green Apple Books. He lives in San Francisco and blogs at Invisible Stories.

Through the Night was the last novel Stig Saeterbakken wrote before killing himself in 2012. Maybe this shouldn’t matter when it comes to determining whether it was the best-translated book published in 2013, but there’s something unshakable in the fact that Saeterbakken’s last work concerns itself with suicide, with depths of pain and loss and those regions where words cannot reach. The uncomfortable proximity of the book and its author, especially one as troubled as Saeterbakken, reminds us that behind every novel is a human being.

Through the Night tells the story of Karl Meyer, a successful dentist whose life unravels after his son’s suicide. In its broad contours, this is an unexceptional story, one that in less capable hands might be more tedious than moving. Saeterbakken, though, relates the story in an emotionally honest way, allowing us to understand Meyer while at the same time keeping a necessary distance. So, as we watch Meyer descend into a sort of clichéd self-destruction (against which, of course, we’re helpless)—leaving his family for a younger woman, giving up his practice and leaving the country, abandoning everything familiar in pursuit of the oblivion of elsewhere—we see a man who is both an archetype and an individual. The particulars stick with us: the novel opens with Meyer’s wife, Eva, plunging an axe into the television that Meyer has been glued to since their son’s funeral. It’s the passivity of the binge-viewer that Meyer tries to shake free of as the novel progresses, creating a tension between inertia and action familiar to anyone who’s felt themselves paralyzed by grief.

Part of what makes Through the Night so much more compelling than other novels treading similar ground is that Saeterbakken isn’t concerned with limiting himself to a realist depiction of an extreme psychological state—as difficult a task as that is. As is apparent in his previously translated work—Siamese and Self-Control—Saeterbakken sought to create situations in which extreme states are matched by outward realities, as if he needed to find a physical form in which to embody the waywardness of a world where, for example, a child can die before his parent. In Through the Night, which progresses from psychological realism to surrealism, Saeterbakken finds a haunting manifestation of this waywardness in the house in Zagreb, which is said to contain the fears of each of its visitors. I’ll leave it to the curious reader to find her way there.

Saeterbakken’s final novel isn’t perfect and the translation suffers from an occasional rough patch, but the book is nonetheless a fitting testament to a writer who, more than anything, found it unacceptable to take the easy way out. And while I generally avoid the qualifier “brave” when describing fiction, I think Through the Night is a brave work—perhaps the only brave book on the BTBA longlist. For that alone, it deserves to win.

22 March 14 | Monica Carter | Comments

Sarah Gerard’s novel Binary Star is forthcoming from Two Dollar Radio in January 2015. Her essay chapbook, Things I Told My Mother, was published by Von Zos this past fall. Other fiction, criticism and personal essays have appeared in the New York Times, New York Magazine, Bookforum, the Paris Review Daily, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Slice Magazine, and other journals. She holds an MFA from The New School and lives in Brooklyn.

Here’s why Boris Vian’s Red Grass should win the Best Translated Book Award: the odds are stacked against it. It’s not the second volume in a six-volume epic; it doesn’t have the sex appeal of Sauvageot; nor does it have the audience a Marias novel is guaranteed; nor the counter-culture appeal of Krasznahorkai; and Vian himself enjoyed limited authorial success during his lifetime. Red Grass is strange, and Vian is, and has always been, just outside of what’s easily co-opted by “cool.” But this book is unrivaled in its inventiveness.

Lysergic and science fictional, psychological and sexually uncomfortable, Red Grass follows Wolf, an engineer who has invented a machine to erase memory, through phase after phase of painful self-exploration and deletion. Simultaneously, Wolf’s mechanic partner, Saphir Lazuli, confronts his inability to make love to his wife; a talking dog talks himself into enlightenment; and Wolf’s and Lazuli’s wives find themselves having to cover up a strange disappearance. It all takes place in a world not quite our own, somewhere in a time long after ours or in an alternate present day, where the grass is blood red and the sky is within reach, and the seams of the known world are strained to the point of breaking. Adults are childishly naïve but able to carry out acts of government, and assemble complicated apparatuses with which to perform impossible tasks. Death is seeping in from all corners, threatening a world not unlike a futuristic Oz.

Lest we forget that we’re here discussing an award for translation, I’d like to take a minute to tip my beret to Paul Knobloch, Red Grass’s translator. Vian combines and invents words, and is at all times vivid, his tone vacillating within the intersection of imminent tragedy and wit, unimaginable pain and fear, and delight, and wonder:

From superior regions fell vague tracks of brilliant and elusive dust, and the imaginary sky palpitated endlessly, pierced by beams of light. Wolf’s face was sweaty and cold.

And

Outside, the wind began to stir. Little vortexes of dust rose obliquely from the ground and ran through the weeds. The wind caressed the beams and angles of the roof and at each curve left behind a living screech, a sonorous spiral. The window in the hallway suddenly slammed down without warning. The tree in front of Wolf’s office shook and sung incessantly.

And

And in fact, Wolf couldn’t answer right away. He swung his club and amused himself by decapitating the grimacing fartflowers that popped up here and there along the rednecking field. From each decapitated stem oozed a black sap that formed into a little black and gold monogrammed bubble.

Every part of this world is alive and moving, struggling, begging. Of all of Vian’s novels, Red Grass is the most uncharacteristically dark. When he wrote it, he was in the midst of a serious marital crisis that would ultimately end in separation. And unlike the success he had achieved with previous novels, Red Grass would not find publication until several years after it was written, and only then with a small, unknown publisher. Vian’s career as an author would never recover from this.

As an added note about his life, which might shed light on the personality behind the incredible book that is Red Grass and Vian’s many, many other works: he called himself not only novelist, but also poet, jazz musician, singer, actor, screenwriter, translator, critic, and inventor. He was the protégé of Raymond Queneau, the translator of Raymond Chandler and others, the one-time friend of Camus, de Beauvoir, and Sartre (before his wife’s infamous affair with the philosopher, which ultimately ended their marriage), the first French rock-and-roll songwriter, and, as if that weren’t enough, he ghost-wrote in the persona of an African-American author while masquerading as his translator, penning a book that would become a cult classic in its day.

I know the stakes for the Best Translated Book Award are high this year. I also know that, in only a few days, I’ll have to write another one of these posts, arguing that a different book should win, and I’ll mean it then, too. But let’s not forget that Red Grass is ready for an audience who will read and appreciate it, and feel disappointment when some heavyweight comes along and again takes what is Vian’s. No one else wrote like him, and the task of a translator is unlike any other when he is translating Vian. For my part, my vote lies with him.

21 March 14 | N. J. Furl | Comments

In this bonus mini-podcast, Chad and Tom talk about the NCAA tournament, making many definitely wrong predications in over-confident tones. Of course, depending on your level of knowledge of the NCAA tournament (pro wrestling, I think?), you may have to choose a more sarcastic interpretation of the word “bonus.” However! If the NCAA Tourney is your bag, then you’ve hit the jackpot—which is also the name of the thing that neither Tom nor Chad will hit when their brackets get ruined in week one.

The intro/outro music is brought to you this week by the “Official 2014 March Madness Theme”: Shot At the Night by The Killers, who I believe are now Chad’s favorite band.

As always you can subscribe to the podcast in iTunes by clicking here. To subscribe with other podcast downloading software, such as Google’s Listen, copy the following link.


21 March 14 | Chad W. Post | Comments

The idea of an award winning an award is pretty meta, but I can’t begin to express how amazed, thrilled, and proud that the Best Translated Book Awards are a finalist for the inaugural International Book Industry Excellence Awards presented by the London Book Fair and the UK Publishers Association.

The Awards which celebrate international excellence in the book industry, cover all aspects of the business of international publishing, including academic publishing, the supply chain, education, children’s publishing and digital innovation. A panel of UK judges, with international or discipline-specific expertise, have judged the individual award categories.

And here’s the complete list of finalists, starting with the category I’m personally most interested in:

The International Literary Translation Initiative Award
Best Translated Book Award; Penguin India; Shanghai 99 (China)

IPA Freedom to Publish Award
Irina Balakhonova (Russia), Nguyen Vu Binh (Vietnam), Ihar Lohvinau (Belarus), Myay Hmone Lwin (Myanmar), Ilbay Kahraman (Turkey), Afghan PEN Centre

Korea Market Focus Outstanding Contribution Award
Brother Anthony of Taizé (An Sonjae); Eric Yang Agency; Barbara J. Zitwer Agency

The Bookseller International Adult Trade Publisher Award
Fixi, Malaysia; Kero, France; Silverfish, Malaysia

The Crossmedia Award for Best Use of IP
Chronicle Books US; Penguin Australia; Robert Kirkman, Skybound (US); Rovio, Angry Birds (Finland)

The International Academic and Professional Publisher Award
Sage (US); University of Chicago Press

The International Education Initiatives Award
Fatih Project Turkey; Indigenous Literacy Foundation Australia; Knowledge without Borders (UAE)

The International Educational Learning Resources Award
Penguin Australia; HarperCollins India; Oxford University Press (Brazil)

The International Literary Agent Award
Pierre Astier, Pierre Astier & Associates (France); Anneli Høier, Leonhardt & Høier Literary Agency (Denmark); Nicole Witt, Mertin Literary Agency (Germany)

The International Trade Children’s and Young Adult Publisher Award
Cosac Naify (Brazil); Kalimát Publishing (Sharjah, UAE); Tara Books (India)

The UK Publishers Association Copyright Protection Award
Bholan Boodoo, Publishers Territory Manager (Guyana); Manas Saikia, Feel Books (India); Emrah Ozpirincci, Oxford University Press (Turkey); Copyright Clearance Centre (US); Oxford University Press (Pakistan)

The Market Focus Achievement Award
Jo Lusby, Penguin China; Nermin Mollaoglu, Kalem Literary Agency (Turkey); Motilal Books of India

The Publishers Weekly International Book Industry Technology Supplier Award
Datamatics (India); Publishing Technology (China)

Unfortunately, I couldn’t obtain funding from the University of Rochester to attend the awards ceremony, so, instead, I’ll be stuck in Rochester on April 8th instead of enjoying the company of the most influential publishing people on the planet. So, if we win, I want all of you to have a special glass of wine on our behalf that evening. I’m not going to let my bitterness detract from the HUGE HONOR it is to be listed among all these other luminaries . . . And it reinforces my belief that the most important thing I’ve ever done in my career is start this award . . .

21 March 14 | Kaija Straumanis | Comments

The latest addition to our Reviews section is a piece by J.T. Mahany on Navidad & Matanza by Carlos Labbé, translated by Will Vanderhyden, and out next month from Open Letter.

Carlos Labbé was one of Granta’s The Best of Young Spanish-Language Novelists, and has quickly become a Name to Know in the world literature sphere. Both Carlos and translator Will Vanderhyden, along with Andrés Numan, will be at the University of Rochester April 22nd for a Reading the World Conversation Series event. (If you’re in town then, definitely, definitely join us!)

Incidentally, Will (a.k.a. Willsconsin) and J.T. (who wrote the following review) were cohorts in the University of Rochester’s MA in Literary Translation Studies program, and not only brought to the table their skills as translators, but also brought amazing projects to the press (Open Letter will also be bringing out Labbé’s Locuela in a few years, in Will’s translation, and Antoine Volodine’s Post-Exoticism in Ten Lessons, Lesson Eleven in J.T.‘s translation next year).

Enough UROC and Open Letter promotion—all you really need to know is that if you’re a literary nerd boy or girl, Labbé’s work will be right up your alley. Here’s the beginning of J.T.‘s review:

Carlos Labbé’s Navidad & Matanza is the story of two missing children and the journalist trying to find them. Actually. it’s the story of a group of scientists who are working on a top-secret project, and pass the time by collectively writing a novel about two missing children and the journalist trying to find them. Actually, it’s about a group of friends playing a “novel game” in which they write a story via email based on the movements of pieces on a game board. Actually, it’s all three, equally true and untrue at the same time. The narrator is a scientist codenamed Domingo, except when it’s the conman Boris Real, except when it’s the alleged kidnapping victim Bruno Vivar, except when it’s the novelist, Labbé himself . . .

The book is a compelling work of meta-fiction, and is rife with recurring images and motifs, such as theremins, Mormonism, and Edgar Lee Masters. These all form an intricate web to ensnare the reader in a synaptic echo chamber, where everything is connected but the reasons for the connections are never made entirely clear. The chapters of the novel are labeled 1-100, but most of the chapters are missing (the novel clocks in at just over 90 pages), implying that not everything has been or is going to be revealed. This withholding of information is also present in the internal monologues or thought processes of the handful of characters—not even the people who could best answer our questions, as readers, are going to give us a break and reveal (or explain) everything that’s going on.

For the rest of the review, go here.

21 March 14 | Monica Carter | Comments

Michael Orthofer runs the Complete Review – a book review site with a focus on international fiction – and its Literary Saloon weblog.

Why should Humphrey Davies’ translation of Ahmad Faris al-Shidyaq Leg Over Leg (Vol. 1) win this year’s Best Translated Book Award? Well, simply put: because it is awesome.

Let’s begin with the full title: Leg over Leg or The Turtle in the Tree concerning The Fāriyāq, What Manner of Creature Might He Be otherwise entitled Days, Months, and Years spent in Critical Examination of The Arabs and Their Non-Arab Peers. Which is already pretty awesome (and, let’s face it, a bit more intriguing than Textile, Commentary, or Tirza…).

Mind you, a lot of books on the longlist impress, in a variety of ways. There are some truly great pieces of literature, great translations, great books among them, works that we’ll be talking about and reading for years to come. And yet even in this lofty company, Leg Over Leg is a standout.

Given that eight of the twenty-five authors with works on the longlist are deceased, Leg Over Leg is hardly the only belatedly-brought-into English work – but, originally published in Arabic in 1855, it is the oldest book in the running. In purely literary-historical terms, it’s probably also safe to say that it’s the most significant. As Rebecca C. Johnson writes in her foreword, this work is: “acknowledged as one of the most distinguished works of the nineteenth century and an inaugural text of Arabic modernity”. In that case: What took so long? you might wonder. (I did, but I wonder that about a lot of books….) Well, there hasn’t been much more than a drip of translation of Arabic literature into English over the decades – increasing now to perhaps a trickle – and Leg Over Leg doesn’t fit with the general conceptions most publishers and readers might have of Arabic fiction.

That’s already one reason why this book should win the BTBA: it blows our (pre-)conceptions of Arabic literature out of the water. It certainly did mine. Sure, I’ve made my way through Naguib Mahfouz and Elias Khoury, and a variety of the translations of Arabic novels from the past decades, but I never managed to get much of a sense of anything earlier than, say, Tawfiq al-Hakim. Sure, there’s always the Arabian Nights, but that stands so distant and apart from everything else that it feels entirely separate. Arabic fiction – in translation – always seemed to be twentieth (generally later- twentieth) and twenty-first century fiction, much of it strongly shaped by so-called Western influences. And then I pick this up and get an electrifying jolt, finding a mid-nineteenth century literary work that is as radical and inventive as any modern novel. I thought I had a decent sense of modern Arabic literature, and suddenly I found myself exposed to a whole new layer underlying it all, throwing a whole new light on all of it.

Before I read Leg Over Leg I would have suspected any nineteenth-century work of Arabic fiction to be…well, let’s be honest: kind of conservative and stale. But Leg Over Leg turns out to probably be the most exuberant and formally inventive text on the entire BTBA longlist.

Leg Over Leg is an autobiographical novel, centered on the life of the author’s alter ego, ‘the Fāriyāq’. An eighty-chapter work, it is divided into four books – and it is the first of these that is BTBA-longlisted; Leg Over Leg is, remarkably, one of four multi-volume works of which an individual volume has been longlisted this year (the others being the books by Cărtărescu, Ferrante, and Knausgaard). Even though volumes three and four of Leg Over Leg will only be published later this year, the first volume stands up superbly on its own. While the young Fāriyāq’s life-story is the framework for the narrative, al-Shidyaq feels entirely comfortable taking it completely off the rails at times, too. There are stories within the stories here, and metafictional games. Above all, the text engages with language, in everything from its use of rhyme and poetry to dictionary-like lists and glossaries. Throughout, al-Shidyaq revels in the possibilities of language and expression. And ‘ribald’ doesn’t do justice to the extensive sexual-(word)play found here (yes, Leg Over Leg is definitely not conservative).

The BTBA is a translation prize, and so we naturally focus on the quality of the translation, too. And here we have yet another reason why Leg Over Leg should win: Humphrey Davies’ translation is a stunner. No doubt, one reason why Leg Over Leg hasn’t been translated previously is because it can seem untranslatable. There is a lot of wordplay here, from the use of rhymes within passages to what amount to lists of word-definitions – and even beyond that, the multifaceted text is daunting. Every text brings with it translation-challenges, but few of the longlisted titles presented anywhere near as many as this one does – and yet Davies handled them exceptionally well. The reader gets a sense of much of what al-Shidyaq is trying to do, and especially what he is trying to say and demonstrate about language; equally importantly, the humor – and there’s a lot of it – comes across: in English, too, Leg Over Leg is a very funny book.

One of the amazing things about this year’s BTBA longlist is that the 25 titles were published by 23 different publishers. There are many who specialize in literature in translation, and it’s always nice to see them get some recognition – and it’s nice to see the publishers of Leg Over Leg get the recognition too: by itself it’s not really good enough a reason why this book should win the BTBA, but it doesn’t hurt. Leg Over Leg is one of the first volumes in NYU Press’ new Library of Arabic Literature, devoted to publishing: “key works of classical and premodern Arabic literature”. Many of the BTBA-longlisted publishers also have admirable missions, but there’s no doubt that this is a worthy, important, and long overdue one.

Yet one more reason why this book should win is how the Library of Arabic Literature-volumes are published: in bilingual editions. Quite a few of the BTBA poetry contenders are usually bilingual editions, but bilingual fiction titles are a rarity. Admittedly, most of us (including me) can’t make or do much with the Arabic text facing the English on each page, but aside from aesthetic appreciation I think it does give a better sense of the text as a whole. In particular, one can at least get a sense of some of the repetition, as well as the original presentation of the text; given its complexities, any additional clues are welcome.

Finally, yet another reason why this book should win the BTBA is because it deserves the attention. Even though this book was published many months ago it has barely received any notice. Possibly the ‘serious’ periodicals like the Times Literary Supplement are waiting for the full four-volume set to be available before they tackle it, possibly it sits uneasily between ‘scholarly’ (it looks so serious in it’s plain cover; there are thirty pages of endnotes; it’s from a university press; it’s bilingual) and popular (it should be popular!), but it’s still astonishing and baffling that a publication of this significance, and of a book that’s just plain this good, hasn’t received the glowing attention it deserves. (I do note, however, that several of the BTBA longlisted books have received minimal review attention – notably Commentary, Red Grass, and Sleet.)

So look: it’s hard not think of Leg Over Leg as the most important translation in the running for the BTBA. It’s an amazing work of literature. It’s an incredible translation. It’s a beautiful edition (bilingual, helpfully annotated). And it’s just a whole lot of fun to read. So I’m not so much wondering why it should win the BTBA as: how can it not?

See also my review of Leg Over Leg, as well as interviews with translator Humphrey Davies by Sal Robinson at Moby Lives (An “absquiliferous” interview with Humphrey Davies, Arabic translator) and M.Lynx Qualey at Arabic Literature (in English) (Humphrey Davies on Climbing Translation’s Mt. Everest).

20 March 14 | Kaija Straumanis | Comments

All “translator recognition” issues and talk aside (as a translator myself, but also as someone working in publishing, I have my own particular set of views on how this issue should be approached), our friends over at Typographical Era have put together a five-part list highlighting (with photo proof) that the twenty-five amazing novels that made the fiction longlist were indeed translated, and by people nonetheless—people with FACES (most of them)!

As TypoEra’s Aaron Westerman writes:

A novel in its original form might be great, but let’s face it, without the loving attention of a skilled translator it could end up destroyed when it arrives in its English version. The Best Translated Book Award isn’t just about the authors, it’s about the translators who take their work and make it accessible to an even greater audience as well. To drive that point home, the award’s $10,000 cash prize is split equally between the winning author and the translator of his or her book.

Part One and Part Two are already up—stay tuned to TypoEra for Parts Three, Four, and Five!

20 March 14 | Chad W. Post | Comments

20 March 14 | Monica Carter | Comments

Judge Daniel Medin hands over the reins to Madeleine LaRue, Social Media Manager for Music and Literature.

If, on the one hand, the BTBA aims to bring attention to a neglected work of international fiction, then I’m afraid Seiobo There Below is a poor candidate. Neither the book nor its author, László Krasznahorkai, suffers from a lack of attention; on the contrary, Krasznahorkai is increasingly hailed as one of the most masterful writers of our time. His 1985 work Satantango won the BTBA last year, and generated such excitement that any subsequent book of his was all but guaranteed a place on this year’s shortlist. But if, on the other hand, we wish to use the BTBA to indicate that we have recognized great literature — and I mean truly great, of the kind we all secretly yearn for and yet find so few examples of — then there is no choice but Seiobo There Below.

It is better than Satantango. It is better than nearly everything.

Krasznahorkai, like Beckett, writes like a pilgrim whose temple has been destroyed, who owns nothing but the bruises on his feet. To our astonishment, he shows us that the concerns we thought we had left behind — how to make art as an offering and a plea to the gods, for example — are in fact terribly modern. As we journey through the seventeen chapters of Seiobo There Below — each of which displays remarkable erudition, pathos, and humor — we come to understand the urgency of our spiritual predicament, the poverty and despair that we have chosen and that is beyond our power to undo.

But even there at the edge of the apocalypse, Krasznahorkai offers us two beaten pearls of hope. The first is that the goddess herself, Seiobo, does indeed come down to earth, not to an individual, but to a performance, where everyone is together; the Buddha, too, appears in a crowded room. We are worth very little, but we are not always alone. The second is the very book in our hands, this beautiful text that is itself a kind of prayer, straining toward its breaking point as it reaches for something beyond itself.

Seiobo There Below would have presented challenges to the most skilled of translators, and even under Ottilie Mulzet’s expert hand, the novel barely fits in English — but this is only because it barely fits in language at all. Seiobo There Below is certainly one of the most unwieldy and important books of our young century; its success or failure to win literary prizes will do nothing to change that. But there is not a prize we could offer of which it would be unworthy.

In Times of Fading Light
In Times of Fading Light by Eugen Ruge
Reviewed by Phillip Koyoumjian

The historian John Lukacs observed, “Fictitious characters may represent characteristic tendencies and potentialities that existed in the past” and thus “may serve the historian under certain circumstances—when, for example, these are prototypical representations of certain contemporary realities.” Eugen Ruge’s In. . .

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The Antiquarian
The Antiquarian by Gustavo Faverón Patriau
Reviewed by P.T. Smith

Gustavo Faverón Patriau’s The Antiquarian, translated by Joseph Mulligan, is a genre-blending novel, a complete immersion that delves into a lesser-used niche of genre: horror, gothic, the weird. There are visual horrors, psychological ones, and dark corners with threats lurking.. . .

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Elsewhere
Elsewhere by Eliot Weingerber (ed.)
Reviewed by Grant Barber

What a wonderful, idiosyncratic book Weinberger has written. I say book, but the closest comparison I could make to other works being published right now are from Sylph Edition’s “Cahiers Series“—short pamphlet-like meditations by notable writers such as Ann Carson,. . .

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The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly
The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly by Sun-mi Hwang
Reviewed by Chris Iacono

Early in Sun-mi Hwang’s novel The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly, the main character, a hen named Sprout, learns about sacrifice. After refusing to lay any more eggs for the farmer who owns her, she becomes “culled” and released. . .

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Sankya
Sankya by Zakhar Prilepin
Reviewed by Kseniya Melnik

When Sankya was published in Russia in 2006, it became a sensation. It won the Yasnaya Polyana Award (bestowed by direct descendants of Leo Tolstoy) and was shortlisted for the Russian Booker and the National Bestseller Award. Every member of. . .

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Stalin is Dead
Stalin is Dead by Rachel Shihor
Reviewed by Tiffany Nichols

Stalin is Dead by Rachel Shihor has been repeatedly described as kafkaesque, which strikes a chord in many individuals, causing them to run to the bookstore in the middle of the night to be consumed by surreal situations that no. . .

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Paradises
Paradises by Iosi Havilio
Reviewed by Andrea Reece

Paradises by cult Argentinian author Iosi Havilio is the continuation of his earlier novel, Open Door, and tells the story of our narrator, a young, unnamed Argentinian woman.

The very first sentence in Paradises echoes the opening of Camus’s The Outsider. . .

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Two Crocodiles
Two Crocodiles by Fyodor Dostoevsky; Felisberto Hernández
Reviewed by Sara Shuman

This pearl from New Directions contains one short story from Russian literary master Fyodor Dostoevsky (translated by Constance Garnett) and one short story from Uruguayan forefather of magical realism Felisberto Hernández (translated by Esther Allen). Both pieces are entitled “The. . .

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Navidad & Matanza
Navidad & Matanza by Carlos Labbé
Reviewed by J.T. Mahany

I’m talking about pathological individuals; six twisted people taking part in an unpredictable game.

Carlos Labbé’s Navidad & Matanza is the story of two missing children and the journalist trying to find them. Actually. it’s the story of a group of. . .

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Zbinden's Progress
Zbinden's Progress by Christoph Simon
Reviewed by Emily Davis

For Lukas Zbinden, walking is a way of life. At eighty-seven, he is still an avid walker and insists on going for walks outside as often as possible, rain or snow or shine. Now that he lives in an assisted. . .

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The next few events from our Translation Events Calendar: See More Events >