New In Translation: Week of November 5th, 2013

New In Translation

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.

Death_Of_A_NightingaleDeath of a Nightingale
By Lene Kaaberbol & Agnete Friis
Translated from the Danish by Elisabeth Dyssegaard
Soho Press
(2011) 2013 / 368 Pages

Nina. Natasha. Olga. Three women united by one terrifying secret. But only one of them has killed to keep it.

Natasha Doroshenko, a Ukrainian woman who has been convicted of the attempted murder of her Danish fiancé, escapes police custody on her way to an interrogation in Copenhagen’s police headquarters. That night, the frozen, tortured body of Michael, the ex-fiancé, is found in a car, and the manhunt for Natasha escalates. It isn’t the first time the young Ukrainian woman has lost a partner to violent ends: her first husband was also murdered, three years earlier in Kiev, and in the same manner: tortured to death in a car.

Danish Red Cross nurse Nina Borg has been following Natasha’s case for several years now, since Natasha first took refuge at a crisis center where Nina works. Nina, who had tried to help Natasha leave her abusive fiancé more than once, just can’t see the young Ukrainian mother as a vicious killer. But in her effort to protect Natasha’s daughter and discover the truth, Nina realizes there is much she didn’t know about this woman and her past. The mystery has long and bloody roots, going back to a terrible famine that devastated Stalinist Ukraine in 1934, when a ten-year-old girl with the voice of a nightingale sang her family into shallow graves.  (from the publisher)

I_Hear_Them_CryI Hear Them Cry
By Shiho Kishimoto
Translated from the Japanese by Raj Mahtani
(2012) 2013 / 188 Pages

Within the peaceful walls of an old French church, Mayu, a young Japanese artist, finds inspiration. She befriends the local priest and gets involved with community outreach, discovering a rough world of drugs, prostitution, and marginalized youth. Through this work, she learns the value of human life. Even young Pierre, who gets arrested for attacking his mother with a knife, deserves compassion.

This delinquent has a seven-year-old sister named Anna and, as Mayu gets to know the family, she uncovers a disturbing history of abuse. Her wild attempt to save the girl from her twisted mother calls upon a brutal courage she didn’t know she had.

Stunned by her own audacity, Mayu turns away from the church, finds herself a seemingly perfect husband, and returns to Japan. But she hears cries of suffering even in her beautiful new home. Is her husband cheating on her, or is there some darker tale in her husband’s family history crying out to be discovered?  (from the publisher)

The_CreatorThe Creator
By Gurun Eva Minervudottir
Translated from the Icelandic by Sarah Bowen
Portobello Books
(2008) 2013 / 288 Pages

When Lóa’s car gets a puncture out in the countryside, the man who lives nearest proves recalcitrantly helpful. She ends up falling asleep in his armchair and wakes to intense guilt at neglecting her daughter back in Reykjavik, followed by shock at what she finds in her helper’s back room – half-finished, life-size silicone women hanging from hooks. Sveinn, her host, is a craftsman; he makes sex dolls. In his workshop Lóa is overcome with a surprising reverence, and acting on a mad notion of salvation, she steals one of the dolls for her troubled daughter Margret.

For the first time ever, Lóa finds she is a thief. And worse, when her friends and family greet her plans with incredulity, she finds that there is another more awful theft, beyond her expectations and her understanding. Bereft and adrift, how can Lóa save her daughter from herself and what can she learn from Sveinn’s loneliness?

Two people who fear responsibility putting themselves in harm’s way, Sveinn and Lóa dance a fascinating dance in this striking novel from Iceland’s most celebrated young novelist.  (from the publisher)

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About Aaron Westerman

Aaron Westerman is the Manager of Web Architecture for a national human services organization. When he's not busy tearing sites apart and rebuilding them, he spends his ever shrinking free time trying to keep up with his twins, reading works of translated literature, and watching far too many Oscar nominated movies.