As I explained in my welcome post, I decided to read more books whose authors aren’t English speakers, because I felt that the publishing industry was very much US/UK/AUS centered, and that many voices weren’t heard because of that. You’ll find below the translated books I intend to read next month, with their (short) blurb if you’re interested^^
Sudden Death by Alvaro Enrigue – translated from Spanish (Mexico) : A daring, kaleidoscopic novel about the clash of empires and ideas in the sixteenth century that continue to reverberate throughout modernity—a story unlike anything you’ve ever read before. In this mind-bending, prismatic novel, worlds collide, time coils, traditions break down. There are assassinations and executions, hallucinogenic mushrooms, utopias, carnal liaisons and papal dramas, artistic and religious revolutions, love stories and war stories. A dazzlingly original voice and a postmodern visionary, Álvaro Enrigue tells a grand adventure of the dawn of the modern era in this short, powerful punch of a novel. Game, set, match.
The Vegetarian by Han Kang – translated from Korean (South Korea) : A disturbing, yet beautifully composed narrative told in three parts, The Vegetarian is an allegorical novel about modern day South Korea, but also a story of obsession, choice, and our faltering attempts to understand others, from one imprisoned body to another.
The Queue by Basma Abdel Aziz – translated from Arabic (Egypt) : Set against the backdrop of a failed political uprising, The Queue is a chilling debut that evokes Orwellian dystopia, Kafkaesque surrealism, and a very real vision of life after the Arab Spring. Written with dark, subtle humor, The Queue describes the sinister nature of authoritarianism, and illuminates the way that absolute authority manipulates information, mobilizes others in service to it, and fails to uphold the rights of even those faithful to it.
Raised from the Ground by José Saramago – translated from Portuguese (Portugal) : A multigenerational family saga that paints a sweeping portrait of twentieth-century Portugal. First published in 1980, the City of Lisbon Prize–winning Raised from the Ground follows the changing fortunes of the Mau Tempo family—poor landless peasants not unlike Saramago’s own grandparents. Set in Alentejo, a southern province of Portugal known for its vast agricultural estates, the novel charts the lives of the Mau Tempos as national and international events rumble on in the background—the coming of the republic in Portugual, the two World Wars, and an attempt on the dictator Salazar’s life. Yet nothing really impinges on the grim reality of the farm laborers’ lives until the first communist stirrings.
Dolly City by Orly Castel-Bloom – translated from Hebrew (Israel) : Gruesome, unhinged, and hilarious, Dolly City is widely recognized as one of the most disconcerting–and brilliant–literary works ever to come out of Israel. (aren’t you curious? because I am)
Soccer in The Sun and Shadows – translated from Spanish (Uruguay) : Discussing everything from the leveling of the Twin Towers to the death of the sole survivor of that extraordinary match between British and German soldiers in 1915, one of South America’s greatest commentators issues forth on robotic soccer in Japan, the mass-production of the game as a sign of the decline of civilization, the amazing success of Senegal and Turkey, and how Nike beat Adidas.
And you, do you have translated novels in your TBR?