Looking Forward to Literature in Translation

2014 is half way over, and you are probably spending your nights wondering, why have I not read more Lit in Translation? Don’t beat yourself up too much. It’s bad, but it can be fixed.

Here’s a list of forthcoming titles that I will be checking out:



The Last Days of My Mother by Solvi Bjorn Singurdsson

Publisher: Open Letter

Pub Date: 8/20/14

Why this is interesting to me:

As in all of these selections, the publisher is what interests me most. If you have not checked out the publishers of these works listed, please do so immediately. Specifically to this book, what I find most interesting is that the author is primarily a poet and a translator of poetry, so I expect some playfulness in regards to form and language. I’m a sucker for a picaresque, and the mother/son/son is dying angle seems one that is rich. I’ll read what people consider ‘epic’ books about large groups of people intermingling, but I prefer a small story which values intimacy.



Return to My Native Land by Aime Cesaire

Publisher: Archipelago

Pub Date: 6/3/2014 (go get it now!)

Why this is interesting to me:

Nothing better than a long poem! Right? Well, I think so, anyway. A long poem is the best way to challenge yourself to read a novel like you read a poem, and I think we could all take a little more time to read slower. Cesaire’s book is supposed to be beautiful and significant, so I can’t wait to crack it and then slow down.



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Adventures in Immediate Irreality by Max Blecher

Publisher: New Directions

Pub Date: 2/17/15

Why this is interesting to me:

Max Blecher is one of those authors that is often compared to authors who have cult followings (Kafka and Schulz) and has built up a bit of a cult following, too. I think I’d like to be part of that cult. Lovers of a Scarred Hearts may think that Blecher writes ONLY tragic love stories about pain and redemption and broken bodies, they’d be wrong… he writes about that and so much more confusing terribleness. Can’t wait.


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The Dream of My Return by Horacio Castellanos Moya

Publisher: New Directions

Pub Date: 3/10/15

Why this is interesting to me:

The pull to this one is simple-The She Devil in the Mirror is crazy good, and I hope this one is half as good. If it is, it’ll be well worth my time. Horacio is funny and poignant and should be on your ‘must read’ list. You have a ‘must read’ list right?


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The Scapegoat by Sophia Nikolaidou

Publisher: Melville House

Pub Date: 2/3/15

Why this is interesting to me:

This book is translated by Karen Emmerich. Karen’s translation of Why I Killed My Best Friend by Amanda Michalopoulou is wonderful, and I want to read another one of her projects. Nikolaidou has never been translated before, so that’s intriguing, and Melville House does not do a whole lot of hardcover releases, so when they do, I take notice.



The Tower by Uwe Tellkamp

Publisher: Frisch & Co

Pub Date: 11/6/2014

Why this is interesting to me:

Have you heard about Frisch & Co? They’re an interesting model. They don’t publish physical books, and they only publish translations. They have a wonderful site and they have a well curated list. Highly recommend them. As far as The Tower goes, it’s right in my zone of big/small dichotomy. Big-the fall of the Berlin wall; small- what does it mean to one specific family. When the Berlin wall fell, the world changed—I think. I don’t think of it in the same ways I think about 911 or Katrina or the death of Slobodan Mlosevic, and that’s why I read Lit in Translation.



Winter in Vienna by Robert Schnindel

Publisher: Frisch & Co

Pub Date: 4/1/2015

Why this is interesting to me:

I’d rather a book be more interesting than good. Ambition and chances mean a lot to me when I read. How boring is it to read safe books? If you want clean, perfect prose, please read Alice Munro. I’ll be over here with the weirdos. Robert’s book seems crazy weird. Lots of first person narrators, lots of perspectives, lots of altering of fact in what looks like an historical novel. Big swing for the fence by Mr Schindel.



Ballerina, Ballerina by Marko Sosic

Publisher: Dalkey Archive

Pub Date: 9/1/2014

Why this is interesting to me:

Part of Dalkey’s Slovenian Literature Series (only Dalkey, right? Love em), each chapter of the book begins with a fifteen year old ballerina, with delayed cognitive abilities, wetting her bed. How does this not interest you?



Law of Desire by Andrej Blatnik

Publisher: Dalkey Archive

Pub Date: 8/15/2014

Why this is interesting to me:

I spent some time in the Balkans and the region will always have a pull for me. This collection of short stories focuses on what Dalkey’s website is calling ‘Urban Nomads’. Lovely. In a post-Yugoslavian world, the artists are beginning to say what they want to say, and we should listen. Can’t wait to sit down with Mr. Blatnik for a few days.


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