Featured Translation: Cognac Conspiracies by Jean-Pierre Alaux and Noël Balen

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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.

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Beyond the Pale Motel by Francesca Lia Block

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There is a skeleton of pain beneath your flesh and I can see it.

Francesca Lia Block has been a sensation in the YA scene for over 15 years.  Since her 1989 debut of Weetzie Bat, Block has been casting spells over readers with tales of magical realism in the glittering world of Los Angeles.  With a fearless exploration of love, sex, abuse, heartbreak, and redemption, her novels are powerful yet whimsical portrayals of growth, discovery, and perseverance.

With this novel, Block steps out of her YA comfort zone and into the Adult Mystery genre with a tale of lust, deceit, addiction, and murder in L.A.  Beyond the Pale Motel introduces readers to Catt, a fierce yet deeply heartbroken and damaged woman.  After more than ten years of sobriety, Catt and her best friend Bree are finally settling into positive routines, happiness, and health.

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Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld

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I always worried someone would notice me, and then when no one did, I felt lonely

It’s been nearly ten years since Prep was published, but that doesn’t mean it’s lost any relevance.  While Prep is a coming-of-age tale at heart, it’s also a deeply affecting story that may remind readers (especially female readers) of the personal triumphs and tragedies of adolescence.

The novel follows teen girl Lee Fiora, who attends the elite Ault School – a fictional Ivy League prep school in Massachusetts.  While Ault is known for producing some of the brightest and most promising students in the nation, the school is also known for its insulated and elite reputation, as well as astronomical tuition fees.

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Summer House with Swimming Pool by Herman Koch

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Zebra One, we’re on our way!

Once again translated by Sam Garrett, Dutch author Herman Koch returns with an eagerly anticipated summer thriller about a successful doctor and a family vacation in the Mediterranean gone horribly wrong. Fans of his previous outing are sure to be delighted by the author’s insistence on sticking closely to the same blueprint that turned him into an overnight international best-seller, while those who didn’t care all that much for 2013’s The Dinner will most likely find even less to enjoy here.

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Casebook by Mona Simpson

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I only discovered what I most didn’t want to know

In Mona Simpson’s Casebook, Miles Adler-Hart is just a kid when he begins spying on his family members.  Armed with a set of walkie talkies and a knack for digging through drawers and bedside tables, Miles quickly discovers that he is soon to be a child of divorce.  While most kids might be horrified and distracted by such a discovery, Miles turns his initial shock into a learning experience and an opportunity to delve further into adult secrets.

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