17 January 08 | Chad W. Post

Following up on my previous posts, here’s another addition to the list of translated fiction coming out this month.

Over the past few weeks—thanks in part to the help of Michael Orthofer—I’ve been creating a fairly detailed spreadsheet of all works of fiction and poetry in translation published this year.

(I’ve given up on the idea of identifying all literary nonfiction for a few reasons—there’s only so much time I have to spend on this, and listing a $65 scholarly book isn’t in keeping with my goal for this. If someone else gathered the info and passed it along, I could definitely add it to the spreadsheet/blog though.)

I still have a number of publishers’ catalogs to review, and most of my information only runs through April, but even at this early stage, the results are pretty interesting. At the moment, I’ve identified 106 original translations of fiction and poetry (no retranslations or reprints) coming out in 2008. Based on my non-scientific projection method, I think by the end of this year that number will be around 420-450—which, in my opinion, is remarkably small. I hope though, that by keeping track of this now and well into the future, we can see how this number changes over time, which countries/languages are most often translated, who’s publishing these books, etc.

In the near future, I’ll post the spreadsheet here (and updates every so often), and as always, if you have any suggestions, comments, etc., please contact me at chad.post at rochester dot edu.

Now onto the next group of January releases:

Acquired by two of my favorite editors—Amber Quereshi (now at Free Press) and James Gurbutt (who is at Harvill)—translated by one of my favorite translators from the Japanese, and agented by Anna Stein (another favorite), I’m really looking forward to getting my hands on this. This blurb from Picador also helps: “Hauntingly spare, beautiful, and twisted, The Diving Pool is a disquieting and at times darkly humorous collection of novellas about normal people who suddenly discover their own dark possibilities.” This book was also selected as a Reading the World 2008 title. And hopefully we’ll have a full review of this in the near future.

  • The Cliffs, Olivier Adam, translated from the French by Sue Rose (Pushkin Press, $14.95, 9781901285758)

Adam’s most recent book—A l’abri de rien (In the Shelter of Nothing)—was on the longlist for this year’s Prix Goncourt, Prix Médicis, and Prix Renaudot, and was mentioned as an example of France’s “lively” culture in Don Morrison’s infamous Time piece. This book takes place over a single night, while the narrator “reflects on his life, searching for traces of his mother, his childhood, his lost youth, his brutal father, his runaway brother and his years in Paris.” Not a lot of info online, but Pushkin does great, beautiful books, and based on the general praise for Adam, this is probably worth looking at.

  • Selected Writings, Leopold Lugones, edited by Gwen Kirkpatrick, and translated by Sergio Waisman (Oxford University Press, $15.95, 9780195174045)

This is part of the under-appreciated Oxford “Library of Latin America” series, that has included such writers as Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis. Like with many of the other titles in this series, Lugones was a precursor to Borges, and a writer that was extremely well-known at the time, although relatively obscure to today’s English readers. Aside from his writing, Lugones was also known for his controversial political views, which ranged from radical anarchism to fascism.

Actually two books in one. The first is a translation of an Urdu classic, the second a biography of Nazir Ahmad.

This two-volume collection is a pretty impressive project. The first volume contained mostly poetry, whereas this one is fiction—both short stories and excerpts from novels. From the OUP materials: “Beginning with Muhammad Hadi Ruswa (1857-1931), it moves on to Premchand, Ghulam Abbas, Krishan Chander, Rajinder Singh Bedi, Intizar Husain, Qurratulain Hyder, Abdullah Hussein, Naiyer Masud, among others, and finally, Syed Muhammad Ashraf (b. 1957). [. . .] Moreover, the continuation between pre- and post-Partition Urdu includes authors from both India and Pakistan, thus providing a holistic picture of modern Urdu literature.”

  • The Diary of a Maidservant Krishna Baldev Vaid, translated from the Hindi by Sagaree Sengupta (Oxford University Press, $20.00, 9780195691993)

From OUP: “The Diary of a Maidservant delineates the life and thoughts of Shanti, a young woman who earns a living as a casual household help. Through the ‘diary,’ given as a gift to Shanti, the teenage maidservant slowly discovers her impulses, dreams, and contradictions, and the reader is gradually drawn into the complications of everyday relationships between masters and servants and men and women.”


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