Translation Anticipation: Latin-American Edition

Article by mark

Being the reader of a single language can be a sad and unenviable predicament for someone in love with the literature of another language. Patience is not only a warranted attribute, it’s downright necessary. You hear that a book has come out by a beloved author, and then you hunker down for the long, often interminable wait. Have the translation rights been sold? Has the translation even started? Who is translating it?—all questions an obsessive asks as the months sometimes stretch into years. What follows is a short, highly-abbreviated list of books translated from the Spanish coming out this year that I’m highly (highly) excited about and think you should be, too.

Sudden Death
Álvaro Enrigue
When I read HYPOTHERMIA by Álvaro Enrigue, I was overwhelmed with the desire to read everything by this author. His stories displayed a deep understanding of literary tradition. And what does a serious writer do when they’ve read the books, learned the rules, and know the hard truths? Turn around and ignore them. There is a fine intelligence at work in Enrigue’s stories, as well as a sense of humor and, yes, even danger.

The Story of My Teeth
Valeria Luiselli, Christina MacSweeney
Auctioneer Gustavo ‘Highway’ Sanchez plans to replace every single one of his hideous teeth. To do this, he will sell the jewels of his collection, mainly the pearly whites of Plato, Petrarch, Virginia Woolf, and more. If you think you understand Luiselli’s quiet and philosophical style, dive into this bold and exhilarating story that examines the idea of worth and value, and that’s never wanting in imagination. APRIL 2

My Documents Cover Image
By Alejandro Zambra, Megan McDowell (Translator)
ISBN: 9781940450520
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: McSweeney's - April 14th, 2015

Zambra has already proven himself to be one of Latin America’s most exciting young writers. BONSAI and WAYS OF GOING HOME were brilliant, disembodied works, dealing with first love and life during and after a dictatorship. MY DOCUMENTS, his first collection of stories, contains a world of young lovers, liars, ghosts and armed bandits. FEBRUARY 10

The Body Where I Was Born Cover Image
ISBN: 9781609805265
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Seven Stories Press - June 16th, 2015

My favorite discovery of last year was Mexican author Guadalupe Nettel, whose short story collection, NATURAL HISTORIES, was a magnificent example of mixing the quiet and the strange. THE BODY WHERE I WAS BORN discusses Nettel’s unconventional childhood in 1970s Mexico. From a psychoanalyst's couch, the narrator looks back on her bizarre childhood. Guaranteed to be stunning. JUNE 2

Staff Pick Logo
The Art of Flight Cover Image
By Sergio Pitol, George Henson (Translator), Enrique Vila-Matas (Introduction by)
ISBN: 9781941920060
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Deep Vellum Publishing - March 17th, 2015

Winner of the prestigious Cervantes Prize, THE ART OF FLIGHT is Sergio Pitol’s first book to appear in English. I know very little about this literary memoir, only that my Spanish-speaking friends use words like “a treasure” and “indispensable” to describe Pitol. The excitement these readers display when describing his books is hard to contain. Additionally, his second book in English, THE JOURNEY, is scheduled to be released later in 2015. MARCH 17

The Musical Brain: And Other Stories Cover Image
By Cesar Aira, Chris Andrews (Translator)
ISBN: 9780811220293
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: New Directions Publishing Corporation - March 3rd, 2015

The word “prolific” was coined for writers like César Aira, whose books, in Spanish, number over sixty. Of course, his novels (or novellas, or micro-novels) aren’t very long but are always a great treat. They’re often whimsical, philosophical, and a touch delirious. At his best, Aira manages to create a world slightly off-kilter but not very different from our own. This is Aira’s first collection of stories in English: a perfect introduction for the novice, or another gem for longtime fans. MARCH 3

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