There were over 450 new translations published this year, and trust us, we know from experience, keeping track of them all can be a maddening exercise. Each weekday from now until the end of the year we’ll highlight a different title that you may have missed. From short story collections to epic novels, from award winning works of the highest literary caliber to trashy romantic beach reads, we’ll feature the very best, and the very worst that 2015 had to offer, one book at a time.
Nothing But Motorway
Bleak. Honest. Raw. Powerful. I have dozens of adjectives spinning through my head as I close the cover of Pascal Garnier’s novel The A26, place it down on the table beside me, lean back, breathe for what feels like the first time in ages, and sink deep into the couch in my living room. For the past ninety minutes or so I’ve felt trapped in darkness, lost in a damaged world where insanity reigns supreme and hope is nothing more than a cruel, nonexistent joke. I’m not exactly frightened by what I’ve just read, that’s not the right word, but do feel slightly unsettled. Am I sweating a little bit? Fuck. I am. The A26 has left me feeling a bit dazed, a bit off balance, and truth by told, a touch sickened. This a good thing though for it signals that ultimately the author has accomplished his desired effect. Point to Garnier. Consider my outer defenses not just breached, but utterly destroyed.
I’m Not Really Sure
A young woman and her family struggle with public humiliation, shame, and poverty. The story is told from her perspective. Middle child. Mid-twenties. Ten years older than her sister. Ten years younger than her brother. The distance of time between each of their births might as well be measured in light years because they don’t seem to possess the typical bond one would expect to find between siblings. Each acts like a parent figure to the next in line below them with only the youngest daughter, Mia, being able to truly act out like a child. Mom is a hopeless alcoholic. Dad is serving jail time. The house is falling apart. There is no money. No food. No prospects of anything changing for the better anytime soon. Welcome to South Korea circa 1988. Please step right in and make yourself at home.
Here Comes A Greek Tragedy
Eight hours and thirty-five minutes. That’s the average flight time from New York to Greece. It’s also the original title of Fotini Tsalikoglou’s heartbreaking familial tale The Secret Sister. Traveling 600 miles per hour in a seat 35,000 miles above the ground, Jonathan Argyriou has plenty of time to reflect on the anguished, fractured lives of his sister, mother, and grandmother. As he works to carefully untangle the mysteries surrounding his family’s past, can he eventually arrive at a way to push his present day pain aside and move forward? It won’t be an easy undertaking, but he’ll be aided by the familiar and comforting voice of his sister on his mental journey backwards through time.
Happy Are The Amnesiacs
Fifty-six year old meteorologist Shimura Kobo lives a quiet, unassuming life alone in his house in the Nagasaki prefecture of Japan. Alone, or at least he thinks so. What he doesn’t know is that for the past year an intruder has been secretly cohabiting with him. She only dares to venture out from the cramped confines of the cupboard space where she hides herself at night after he leaves for work each morning. While he’s gone she uses his bathroom to freshen up, browses his library of paperbacks to discover her next great read, drinks his tea, and eats sparingly from his refrigerator. How did she get there? What does she want? More importantly, how will Shimura react when he finally discovers her uninvited presence in his home?