ARC’s in Translation Reading Resolution # 11
March 3, 2016
For those maybe reading ahead for the 16 in 16 promotion, I have a few ARCs that may be of interest in the translated category. Translations are getting more publicity and promotion lately, and it goes way beyond Scandinavian thrillers (though they’re still going strong, too). Publishers and imprints like New Directions, Europa Editions, Other Press, Overlook Books, etc. etc. are supplying great new genre and literary titles to expand the American reader’s mind. Italian writer Elena Ferrante has hit the NYT bestseller list, along with Indian-American Jhumpa Lahiri, whose new book In Other Words is an interesting experiment by an author writing in her third language, Italian, and having it translated into English in a parallel text.
Also, I welcome input on getting originals of any translated work originally in one of the six non-English languages we collect., as reading the same book in two languages is a great way to study another language, including English.
Please comment to this post to claim. The Dove’s Necklace by Raja Alem is particularly richly written and poignant, and Shelter by Jung Yun is developing a solid queue.
Alem, Raja. The Dove’s Necklace.
Summary: When a dead woman is discovered in Abu Al Roos, one of Mecca’s many alleys, no one will claim the body because they are ashamed by her nakedness. As we follow Detective Nassir’s investigation of the case, the secret life of the holy city of Mecca is revealed. Tackling powerful issues with beautiful and evocative writing, Raja Alem reveals a city–and a civilization–at once beholden to brutal customs, and reckoning (uneasily) with new traditions. Told from a variety of perspectives–including that of Abu Al Roos itself–The Dove’s Necklace is a virtuosic work of literature, and an ambitious portrait of a changing city that deserves our attention.
Chirbes, Rafael. On the Edge.
Summary: On the Edge opens with the discovery of a rotting corpse in the marshes on the outskirts of Olba, Spain–a town wracked by despair after the burst of the economic bubble, and a microcosm of a world of defeat, debt, and corruption. Stuck in this town is Esteban–his small factory bankrupt, his investments stolen by a “friend,” and his unloved father, a mute invalid, entirely his personal burden. Much of the novel unfolds in Esteban’s raw and tormented monologues. But other voices resound from the wreckage–soloists stepping forth from the choir–and their words, sharp as knives, crowd their terse, hypnotic monologues of ruin, prostitution, and loss. Chirbes alternates this choir of voices with a majestic third-person narration, injecting a profound and moving lyricism and offering the hope that a new vitality can emerge from the putrid swamps. On the Edge, even as it excoriates, pulsates with robust life, and its rhythmic, torrential style marks the novel as an indelible masterpiece.
Camilleri, Andrea. Montalbano’s First Case and Other Stories.
Summary: From the author of the New York Times -bestselling Inspector Montalbano mystery series, twenty-one short stories spanning the beloved detective’s career. Inspector Montalbano has charmed readers in nineteen popular novels, and now in Montalbano’s First Case and Other Stories , Andrea Camilleri has selected twenty-one short stories, written with his trademark wit and humor, that follow Italy’s famous detective through highlight cases of his career. From the title story, featuring a young deputy Montalbano newly assigned to Vigàta, to “Montalbano Says No,” in which the inspector makes a late-night call to Camilleri himself to refuse an outlandish case, this collection is an essential addition to any Inspector Montalbano fan’s bookshelf and a wonderful way to introduce readers to the internationally bestselling series.
Yun, Jung. Shelter.
Summary: You can never know what goes on behind closed doors. One of The Millions’ Most Anticipated Books of the Year (Selected by Edan Lepucki) Kyung Cho is a young father burdened by a house he can’t afford. For years, he and his wife, Gillian, have lived beyond their means. Now their debts and bad decisions are catching up with them, and Kyung is anxious for his family’s future. A few miles away, his parents, Jin and Mae, live in the town’s most exclusive neighborhood, surrounded by the material comforts that Kyung desires for his wife and son. Growing up, they gave him every possible advantageâe”private tutors, expensive hobbiesâe”but they never showed him kindness. Kyung can hardly bear to see them now, much less ask for their help. Yet when an act of violence leaves Jin and Mae unable to live on their own, the dynamic suddenly changes, and heâe(tm)s compelled to take them in. For the first time in years, the Chos find themselves living under the same roof. Tensions quickly mount as Kyung’s proximity to his parents forces old feelings of guilt and anger to the surface, along with a terrible and persistent question: how can he ever be a good husband, father, and son when he never knew affection as a child? As Shelter veers swiftly toward its startling conclusion, Jung Yun leads us through dark and violent territory, where, unexpectedly, the Chos discover hope. Shelter is a masterfully crafted debut novel that asks what it means to provide for one’s family and, in answer, delivers a story as riveting as it is profound.