New in Translation is a weekly segment that aims to bring attention to the latest releases in world literature. From the largest presses to the smallest independent publishers, if it’s a piece of translated literature, we’ve got you covered.
The Only Happy Ending for a Love Story Is an Accident
By Joao Paulo Cuenca
Translated from the Portuguese by Elizabeth Lowe
(2010) 2013 / 152 Pages
Set in Tokyo, in a not-too-distant future, this novel tells the story of Shunsuke, a salaryman, and his complicated relationship with his mad poet father, Mr. Okuda, whose hobby is spying on his son. When Shunsuke falls in love with Iulana, a maelstrom of jealousy is set in motion that culminates in abduction and death. In poetic and imaginative language, Cuenca subtly interweaves reality and fiction, creating a dreamlike world whose palpable characters, including a silicone doll, leave a lasting impression. Written like a crime novel, full of odd events and reminiscent of Haruki Murakami’s work, this disturbing, kaleidoscopic story of voyeurism and perversion draws the reader in from the very first page. (from the publisher)
By Iosi Havilio
Translated from the Spanish by Beth Fowler
And Other Stories
(2012) 2013 / 400 Pages
Paradises might be a reimagining of Camus’ Outsider – but in female form and living in 21st-century Buenos Aires. Our narrator allows the hazards of death and chance encounters to lead her through the city, where she sleepwalks into a job in the zoo’s reptile house and administers morphine to one of the oddball residents of the squat that she and her young son move into. Is this life in the shadows, an underworld of cut-price Christmases, drugs and dealers, or is this simply life? And why do snakes seem to be invading every aspect of it?
Paradises returns to the enigmatic female characters of Havilio’s first novel, Open Door – and has already been highly praised by Beatriz Sarlo, perhaps the most influential critic in his native Argentina. Thoughtful, yet unafraid of squalor or the perils of insecurity, this is a voice for right now, obliquely critical, grimly comic. (from the publisher)
Milk and Other Stories
By Simon Fruelund
Translated from the Danish by K.E. Semmel
Santa Fe Writers Project
(1997) 2013 / 110 Pages
The stories collected in Milk & Other Stories display the quiet, inconspicuous way in which terrible truths and experiences are intimated: the death of a sailboarder makes a widower see deeper into love and loss; a young poet visits his former teacher only to discover he is literally not who he thought he was; a middle-aged man glimpses the terrible humdrum of his third marriage as his son embarks on a new chapter in his life. These revelations are conveyed to readers without grandeur or pathos, and they demonstrate Fruelund’s gift of subtlety and nuance. Like scenes from a life unfiltered by authorial comment, readers see characters’ stories played out dramatically; in brief but brilliant flashes, readers see lives they may recognize as their own.
The 14 stories in this collection range across the wide arc of human experience, from the comic to the tragic, and readers take from their time with the stories a feeling, a mood, which lingers long after they put the book aside. To read Simon Fruelund is to absorb the complex emotions of the human heart. He gives readers the chance to step into his characters’ shoes at a key moment, a turning point, in their lives—and in so doing, quietly articulates not just what it means to be Danish, but also what it means to be human. (from the publisher)
The Infamous Rosalie
By Evelyne Trouillot
Translated from the French by M. A. Salvodon
University of Nebraska
(2003) 2013 / 152 Pages
Lisette, a Saint-Domingue-born Creole slave and daughter of an African-bornbossale, has inherited not only the condition of slavery but the traumatic memory of the Middle Passage as well. The stories told to her by her grandmother and godmother, including the horrific voyage aboard the infamous slave ship Rosalie, have become part of her own story, the one she tells in this haunting novel by the acclaimed Haitian writer Évelyne Trouillot.
Inspired by the colonial tale of an African midwife who kept a cord of some seventy knots, each one marking a child she had killed at birth, the novel transports us back to Saint-Domingue, before it became Haiti. The year is 1750, and a rash of poisonings is sowing fear among the plantation masters, already unsettled by the unrest caused by Makandal, the legendary Maroon leader. Through this tumultuous time, Lisette struggles to maintain her dignity and to imagine a future for her unborn child. In telling Lisette’s story, Trouillot gives the revolution that will soon rock the island a human face and at long last sheds light on the invisible women and men of Haitian history. (from the publisher)
The Black Lake
By Hella Haasse
Translated from the Dutch by Ina Rilke
(1948) 2013 / 140 Pages
Amid the lush abundance of Java’s landscape, two boys spend their days exploring the vast lakes and teeming forests. But as time passes the boys come to realize that their shared sense of adventure cannot bridge the gulf between their backgrounds, for one is the son of a Dutch plantation owner, and the other the son of a servant. Inevitably, as they grow up, they grow estranged and it is not until years later that they meet again. It will be an explosive and emblematic meeting that marks them even more deeply than their childhood friendship did. (from the publisher)
The Elixir of Immortality
By Gabi Gleichmann
Translated from the Norwegian by Michael Meigs
(2012) 2013 / 768 Pages
Since the eleventh century, the Spinoza family has passed down, from father to son, a secret manuscript containing the recipe for immortality. Now, after thirty-six generations, the last descendant of this long and illustrious chain, Ari Spinoza, doesn’t have a son to whom to entrust the manuscript. From his deathbed, he begins his narrative, hoping to save his lineage from oblivion.
Ari’s two main sources of his family’s history are a trunk of yellowing documents inherited from his grandfather, and his great-uncle Fernando’s tales that captivated him when he was a child. He chronicles the Spinozas’ involvement in some of Europe’s most formative cultural events with intertwining narratives that move through ages of tyranny, creativity, and social upheaval: into medieval Portugal, Grand inquisitor Torquemada’s Spain, Rembrandt’s Amsterdam, the French Revolution, Freud’s Vienna, and the horrors of both world wars.
The Elixir of Immortality blends truth and fiction as it rewrites European history through comic, imaginative, scandalous, and tragic tales that prove “the only thing that can possibly give human beings immortality on this earth: our ability to remember.” (from the publisher)
Let The Old Dreams Die
By John Ajvide Lindqvist
Translated from the Swedish by Ebba Segerberg
Thomas Dunne Books
(2006) 2013 / 416 Pages
Because of the two superb films made of John Ajvide Lindqvist’s vampire masterpiece Let the Right One In, millions of people around the world know the story of Oskar and Eli and of their final escape from Blackeberg at the end of the novel. Now at last, in “Let the Old Dreams Die,” the title story in this absolutely stunning collection, we get a glimpse of what happened next to the pair. Fans of Let the Right One In will have to read the story, which is destined to generate much word of mouth both among fans and online.
“Let the Old Dreams Die” is not the only stunner in this collection. In “Final Processing,” Lindqvist also reveals the next chapter in the lives of the characters he created in Handling the Undead. “Equinox” is a story of a woman who takes care of her neighbor’s house while they are away and readers will never forget what she finds in the house. Every story meets the very high standard of excellence and fright factor that Lindqvist fans have come to expect. Totally transcending genre writing, these are world class stories from possibly the most impressive horror writer writing today. (from the publisher)
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