The Red Notebook by Antoine Laurain

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What I really need is a friend just like me; I’m sure I’d be my own best friend

When single, middle-aged Laurent finds a woman’s handbag outside of his Paris bookstore, his first instinct is to leave it alone.  But a deeper curiosity inspires the bookseller to locate the owner of this mysterious mauve handbag and return it.  With only a few personal effects, how is Laurent supposed to find one woman in a city of millions?

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The A26 by Pascal Garnier

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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.

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New in Translation: April 2015

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According to the Visual Guide to Translated Fiction there are 47 works being published in April that are new in translation. If you want to check out the full list go here, and then click on April.

Today we’ll take a closer look at the 8 books that have caught our attention. Okay fine, technically 9 books, because Per Petterson has both a short story collection and a novel being published in April, both of which have been translated by Don Bartlett. We’ll lump those 2 together so some other worthy titles can also be highlighted…you know, like that OTHER Don Bartlett translation that everyone is so excited about finally reading.

You can’t start a fire without a spark, or find love sitting ’round here crying over a broken heart, or something along those general lines, so let’s get to it, shall we?

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