This week PEN Atlas asks UK publishers about the translated books they are excited about publishing in 2013 – an intriguing list of books to look forward to this year, so clear your bookshelves! Publishers include And Other Stories, Bloomsbury, Europa Editions, Faber and Faber, Pushkin Press and more…
And Other Stories – Stefan Tobler, Publisher
In 2013 we will pursue our slightly mad idea of publishing mainly translations, alongside some select books originally written in English, among them Deborah Levy’s astounding collection of stories Black Vodka in February.
Our first translation this year will be Oleg Pavlov’s Captain of the Steppe (April 2013, translated by Ian Appleby). The winner of the Russian Booker Prize and Solzhenitsyn Prize, among others, Pavlov is a highly acclaimed author. Think Kafka’s The Trial meets Catch-22: this is a largely comic novel that vividly exposes the absurd and tragic circumstances of an all but forgotten military camp where the guards are almost prisoners.
We will follow a new edition of Juan Pablo Villalobos’s incredible, Guardian First Book Award shortlisted Down the Rabbit Hole (April 2012, translated by Rosalind Harvey) with his second book, Quesadillas (September, also translated by Rosalind Harvey). Quesadillas is a novel for our moment – about social issues such as inequality and poverty; about what happens when a minority of powerful people mess everything up for everyone else. It’s also about growing up in a big family (where all the children have Hellenic names like Aristotle and Orestes). It’s more punk than Down the Rabbit Hole and the humour is even blacker.
Rodrigo de Souza Leão’s All Dogs are Blue(August, translated by Zöe Perry and myself) is a fiery and humorous tale of life in a Rio insane asylum – and never has an asylum had a more engaging, amusing guide. Our narrator appears more worried about his widening girth and the Rio funk blaring from the nearby favela that keeps him awake at night than anything more sinister. He’s loco-lite. All Dogs are Blue burst onto the Brazilian literary scene in 2008. Its raw style and comic invention were something entirely new. But as fate would have it, it would be the last masterpiece Rodrigo de Souza Leão wrote. He died that year, aged 43. His work is currently being filmed. Our editor Sophie Lewis and I had come to the book independently and loved it. It was an easy choice.
Iosi Havilio’s Paradises (October) is our final translation of 2013, translated by Beth Fowler. This intriguing, brilliantly new novel from Iosi Havilio takes up some themes and characters from his debut Open Door (which we published in 2011). Its rebellion is in writing a story about a woman with a young child, who just wants a normal life. If that is possible. Havilio and Paradises in particular have already been singled out by the most influential Argentinean critic, Beatriz Sarlo (author of the study Borges). Havilio finds just the right, understated tone as he presents real, complex people in the full mystery of their unexpected reactions and interactions. His books divide their readers – you’ll love them or hate them! And I think that’s a good thing, isn’t it?
Arcadia – Gary Pulsifer, Publisher
The two new titles I am especially excited about this year are Gunnar Staalesen’s latest crime novel Cold Hearts, translated from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett and set in Norway’s second city of Bergen, and Africa, My Passion by Corinne Hofmann, translated from the German by Peter Millar. We will be reprinting earlier EuroCrime titles by Staalesen to coincide with release of the new novel, as well as a reprint of Hofmann’s The White Masai - Hofmann’s memoirs have sold over 150,000 copies for us and millions worldwide.
We are also reprinting They Were Counted, Book I of Count Miklos Banffy’s marvellous Transylvanian trilogy which charts the decline of the Austro-Hungarian Empire as seen through the eyes of two very different cousins. Paddy Leigh Fermor provided the foreword and the trilogy has taken off across Europe with Chinese rights most recently sold. A true classic of world literature. The translation from the Hungarian is by Countess Banffy and Patrick Thursfield, winners of the Oxford-Weidenfeld Translation Prize for Book III.
Bloomsbury – Bill Swainson, Senior Commissioning Editor
In 2013 Bloomsbury will be publishing three very different but outstanding novels from Cuba, France and Israel – each also an exceptional work of translation:
Delphine de Vigan: Nothing Holds Back the Night (July – translated from the French by George Miller) – The third novel to be published in English by the best-selling author of No and Me, Nothing Holds Back the Night was nominated for eight of France’s top literary prizes, winning two of them (including the FNAC). It marks a huge step forward for this gifted novelist, combining humour, intellectual honesty, emotional sensitivity and a disarming clarity of expression in a masterpiece of autofiction about the author’s mother.
Zeruya Shalev: The Remains of Love (August – translated from the Hebrew by Philip Simpson) – Zeruya Shalev’s electrifying new novel – she is the author of Love Life, Husband and Wife and Late Family – is at once a meditation on the state of modern Israel and a profound exploration of family, yearning, compromise and the insistent pull of the past.
Carlos Acosta: Pig’s Foot (October – translated from the Spanish by Frank Wynne) – Carlos Acosta is best known as one of the world’s top ballet dancers, spellbinding audiences with towering performances in the likes of Spartacus and Romeo and Juliet. Pig’s Foot, four years in the writing, sets out to tell an alternative history of Cuba from the slave trade to the revolution and beyond as seen through the eyes of its less than reliable narrator, Oscar Mandinga. Rumbustious, darkly funny, defiant and ultimately moving, it’s an astonishing first novel.
Doubleday – Jane Lawson, Editorial Director
If I Close My Eyes Now by Edney Silvestre (May), translated by Nick Caistor, a prize-winning Brazilian debut in the tradition of I’m Not Scared and Stand by Me. Set in 1960s small-town Brazil, two boys discover the body of a dead woman while playing near a mango plantation. They refuse to accept the official line about her death and together with an old man and a nun, they uncover the real motives behind her murder. Compelling and moving, this tale of loss of innocence coupled with a riveting crime plot and social commentary marks a new phase in contemporary Brazilian writing.
Europa Editions – Daniela Petracco, UK Director
Viola Di Grado: 70% Acrylic 30% Wool (January, translated by Michael Reynolds):
Viola Di Grado was 23 when her debut novel was published in Italy. It was a runaway success and went on to win the Campiello First Novel Award and was shortlisted as a finalist for the Strega Prize.
The tragic death of her father plunges Camelia and her mother into a depression so deep it stops time and voids words of meaning, and only decapitating flowers and morbidly customising clothes offer relief. A budding romance with shop owner Wen seem to offer a way out, and as he teaches her Chinese ideograms, Camelia comes to see the world anew. But Wen has troubles of his own…. and as Camelia is left behind by her mother’s recovery, the story winds up to a devastating conclusion.
Ioanna Karystiani: Back to Delphi(March, translated by Konstantine Matsoukas):
Ioanna Karystiani is one of Greece’s foremost writers, author of The Jasmine Isle and winner of the Greek National Book Award.
Viv Koleva is a woman with a heavy secret. The novel opens as she takes a trip to Delphi with her grown-up son Linus. They wander among the ruins, Viv single-mindedly trying to infect her son with her enthusiasm for the ancient art and myths. But Linus remains taciturn and withdrawn. By degrees we find out that Linus is a convicted criminal. And his mother too has a lot to answer for. Back to Delphi is a powerful novel about the responsibility parents carry for the actions of their children, and their ultimate helplessness.
May will be busy for Europa. We are kicking off our Noir Season with the reissue – and Europa UK launch, having recently secured UK rights – of Jean-Claude Izzo’s Marseilles Trilogy: Total Chaos, Chourmo and Solea (Total Chaos used to be published in the UK by Arcadia but it’s been out of print for some time now, Chourmo and Solea have not been published before in the UK). With a brand new Introduction by Massimo Carlotto and translated by Howard Curtis.
The Marseilles Trilogy, featuring ex-cop Fabio Montale, is a classic of European crime fiction, the catalyst for the foundation of an entire literary movement, Mediterranean Noir.
The trilogy’s plot centres on ex-cop Fabio Montale and his fight against villains in the grittier side of Marseilles. Innocence is fleeting, everyone is flawed and everything is in flux. Izzo’s novels show us the simmering anti-immigrant sentiments flowing through southern France as the intersections of competing interests of right-wingers, the mafia, and Arab immigrants combine to wreak havoc onto Montale’s increasingly complicated life.
We are also launching Garlic, Mint and Sweet Basil, a little book of unpublished/selected writings by Jean-Claude Izzo, a love song to Marseilles, its inhabitants and the earthy flavours of its cuisine.
Also in May, we will publish the new novel by Massimo Carlotto translated by Antony Shugaar. At the End of a Dull Day is a wonderfully sleazy story of crime and corruption in which Carlotto proves just how good he is at creating a central character, both morally dubious and unsympathetic, and compelling all the same.
Giorgio Pellegrini has been living an “honest” life for eleven years. But his lawyer has been deceiving him and now Giorgio is forced into service as an unwilling errand boy for an organized crime syndicate. A sharp insight into the intersecting worlds of corrupt politics and organised crime.
Another title to watch in our Noir Season is Patrizia Rinaldi’s Three, Imperfect Number (August, translated by Antony Shugaar). Two bodies, one a celebrity’s, the other unidentified. Each is found in a football stadium, in the foetal position and without signs of violence. A daring challenge left by a psychopath for the police? Unassuming Commissario Martuscello is in charge of the investigation, with the aristocratic inspector Liguori, and superintendent Blanca Occhiuzzi, who, blind from birth, relies on her intuition to see much farther than her colleagues. Saturated with an exotic musicality, this is something different for fans of crime fiction and lovers of literary fiction alike.
Faber and Faber – Lee Brackstone, Editorial Director, Fiction
In 2013 Faber will publish three new writers in translation for the first time, from wildly different corners of the globe. The first of these will be Sicilian writer Giorgio Vasta’s incendiary debut, Time on my Hands, translated by Jonathan Hunt, set in Palermo in the late ’70s. Ian Thomson reviewing the Italian edition in the TLS said it is ‘without question one of the most important novels to emerge from Italy in the past ten years.’
In May, a month after Vasta, we will publish the young Argentine writer, Patricio Pron. One of Granta’s Best of Young Spanish Language Novelists, Pron’s novel, My Fathers’ Ghost is Climbing in the Rain translated by Mara Lethem, is again set in the ’70s during Argentina’s dirty wars. The ambition and style of the novel bring to mind early Kundera, and Juan Gabriel Vasquez has called it ‘a moving exploration of guilt and memory, and an unflinching study of what history can do to us.’
Finally, in the summer, we will publish the epic German bestseller and winner of The German Book Prize, In Times of Fading Light by Eugen Ruge, translated by Anthea Bell. In unforgettable style, Ruge documents the social, political and cultural history of East Germany through the prism of one family across the best part of the twentieth century. There are shades of Jonathan Franzen here, but Ruge’s novel is definitively its own thing over almost 600pages of shimmering prose.
Granta/Portobello Books – Laura Barber, Editorial Director
This year brings new books from two Granta authors who made their English-language debuts last year: Peter Stamm, who follows his acclaimed novel Seven Years with a collection of stories called We’re Flying (translated from the German by Michael Hoffman), which charts with extraordinary precision the impulses that determine the course of ordinary lives. And from the young Latin American author of the novel Faces in the Crowd comes Sidewalks (translated from the Spanish by Christina MacSweeney), a series of literary journeys around the margins of metropolitan life that demonstrates Valeria Luiselli’s equal virtuosity as a writer of non-fiction.
Portobello welcomes three new authors, from France, Italy and Japan. A Meal in Winter by Hubert Mingarelli (translator tbc) – an English-language debut for a prize-winning French writer, this novel is a miniature masterpiece: a sparse, stunning story of three SS officers who share a meal with their Jewish prisoner and face a chilling choice. Fabio Stassi’s Charlie Chaplin’s Last Dance (translated from the Italian by Stephen Twilley) is a brilliantly inventive novel about the final years of Charlie Chaplin’s life, which is both a vivacious portrait of a comic legend and a love letter to the era of silent cinema: a must-read for fans of The Artist. Strange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami (translated from the Japanese by Allison Markin Powell) – just long-listed for the Man Asia Prize, already a best-seller across Europe and soon to be a movie, this is a short, simple and incredibly touching story of modern Japan and old-fashioned romance.
And finally, a Portobello book that shows not so much what is lost in translation as what is found: Multiples: 12 Stories in 18 Languages by 61 Authors. Masterminded by Adam Thirlwell and featuring an all-star international line-up of writers from Zadie Smith to Alejandro Zambra, via Javier Marias, Etgar Keret and Jeffrey Eugenides, this is an ingenious game of literary Chinese whispers, in which stories pass from hand to hand, from language to language, changing all the while, with surprising, thought-provoking, and frequently funny results.
Harvill Secker – Liz Foley, Publishing Director
Revenge is a collection of short stories from one of my favourite writers, Yoko Ogawa, translated from the Japanese by Stephen Snyder, which we will publish in January. These are beautifully dark and creepy. Hilary Mantel calls her ‘original, elegant, very disturbing’.
On the thriller front, we have the The Andalucian Friend by Alexander Söderberg in March. This is translated from the Swedish by Neil Smith. It’s the first in an international crime trilogy that we’re very excited about. It centres around a young woman who gets caught up in the activities of two warring crime families and finds that the police force investigating them is as dangerous as the criminals themselves.
In April we have the second volume of the Norwegian writer Karl Ove Knausgaard’s magnum opus, A Man in Love. Everyone in the office is obsessed with these books – they are completely addictive in a way that it’s impossible to explain. The first volume, A Death in the Family, was broadly about the author’s father’s death and this one is about love and marriage, but again it’s actually about so much more than this and is everything you want from a novel. This is translated by Don Bartlett.
In May we have Harvill favourite Manuel Rivas’ All is Silence, translated from the Galician by Jonathan Dunne. This is a novel about young friends growing up in Galicia and becoming entangled with the local crime lord. This book was shortlisted for the Rómulo-Gallegos-Prize.
Finally our lead translated title for the year is, unsurprisingly, Jo Nesbo’s Police (translated by Don Bartlett), which we have scheduled for the autumn. We’re also excited to be publishing the second Harry Hole book in the series, Cockroaches, later in the year so that the series will finally be complete for English-language readers.
Pushkin Press – Adam Freudenheim, Publisher and Managing Director
This year Pushkin Press will continue its focus on international fiction, but from a wider array of languages. In January we publish the powerful, timely yet also funny and sensuous The Silence and the Roar by Syrian writer Nihad Sirees, translated by Max Weiss. In April, for the first time in English, we publish a wonderful century-old Greek book called A Tale Without a Name by Penelope Delta, translated by Mika Provata-Carlone – a fable for our times if ever there was one, about a corrupt kingdom brought to its senses by a prince who realises that if only people would work together the world would be a happier place indeed. In May, something completely different as acclaimed cult Japanese writer Ryu Murakami comes to the Pushkin Press list for the first time. We’re thrilled to be publishing Murakami’s major new novel From the Fatherland, with Love translated by Ralphy McCarthy, Charles De Wolf and Ginny Tapley Takemori, alongside the first UK publication of his modern classic Coin Locker Babies, translated by Stephen Snyder, and two other titles. If you haven’t yet experienced a Murakami novel, you’re in for a shock and a treat!
Weidenfeld & Nicholson – Kirsty Dunseath, Fiction Publishing Director
In July next year we are publishing the English translation of Gregoire Delacourt’s fantastic novel The List of My Desires (La liste de mes envies), translated by Anthea Bell. Set in the French town of Arras, it is the story of Jocelyne who runs her own dressmaking shop. She’s 47, overweight, a little bored with her husband, and perhaps a little disappointed with the way her life has turned out, measuring it against what her teenage self had imagined. But then is she really unhappy? She has her weekends away, her friendships, her sewing blog, her work and its small pleasures…Then her best friends persuade Jocelyn to enter the Euromillion lottery and she wins. She could do anything with the money, change her life completely, but what does she really want? And what if changing your life isn’t all it is cracked up to be…? La liste de mes envies has been a number one bestseller in France, on the bestseller lists now for ten months, with rights sold in 27 countries.