Some of the most respected booksellers in my region recommend their favorite forthcoming or recently released works in translation. --George Carroll
Rambling On by Bohumil Hrabal, translated from the Czech by David Short (Karolinum, distributed by University of Chicago Press). "Hrabal's great fun, in fact, comic and crude and character-rich, and this collection of linked stories might just be the best proof of that in print. This edition is stunning, printed on thick paper that's a pleasure to touch and practically spilling over with art. Even if you don't ever read the words, you'll love it." --James Crossley, Island Books, Mercer Island, Wash.
Tristana by Benito Perez Galdos, translated from the Spanish by Margaret Jull Costa (New York Review Books). "My newest discovery is Galdos, the Spanish writer who some folks say is second only to Cervantes. New York Review Books published his short classic from 1892, Tristana, in October--Luis Bunuel made a film of it--and the book blew my mind." --Nick DiMartino, University Bookstore, Seattle, Wash.
Monastery by Eduardo Halfon, translated from the Spanish by Lisa Dillman and Daniel Hahn (Bellevue Literary Press). "Much like his wispy smoke-filled covers, Eduardo Halfon's writing has an ephemeral quality that is both wondrous and intriguing. In Monastery, the same mysterious narrator as in his previous work, The Polish Boxer, returns to lead us once again on nomadic travels through time and place." --Shawn Donley, Powell's Books, Portland, Ore.
I Called Him Necktie by Milena Michiko Flasar, translated from the German by Sheila Dickie (New Vessel Press). "I Called Him Necktie may be simple story, but it packs a serious emotional punch. This exquisite novel is a subtle reminder of what it means to be alive and to be human." --Shawn Donley
Talking to Ourselves by Andrés Neuman, translated from the Spanish by Nick Caistor and Lorenza Garcia (Farrar, Straus & Giroux). "In Andrés Neuman's stunning new novel, Talking to Ourselves, a small family is forced to confront a precarious reality teetering upon the cusp of sorrow and uncertainty. There's a vibrancy and liveliness to Neuman's writing (as well-evidenced, too, in Traveler of the Century--his first book to be translated into English) that is both compelling and irresistible." --Jeremy Garber, Powell's Books, Portland, Ore.
Klaus Klump: A Man by Gonçalo M. Tavares, translated from the Portuguese by Rhett McNeil (Dalkey Archive Press). "The first volume of Gonçalo Tavares's remarkable Kingdom series, Klaus Klump: A Man is the last of the four to be translated into English. Like the others, however, this one explores themes of alienation, brutality, impotency and power. With juxtaposing imagery, stark metaphors and tight, yet evocative language, Tavares entwines the disorienting horrors of senseless ultraviolence with the psychological detachment of conflict-survival." --Jeremy Garber
Butterflies in November by Audur Ava Olafsdóttir, translated from the Icelandic by Brian FitzGibbon (Grove/Atlantic). "A very accessible novel. An ideal cure for the approaching winter, with the right mix of humor and reflection. Besides, everyone needs to make the journey to Iceland and follow its ring road." --Alex Gholz, Ravenna Third Place Books, Seattle, Wash.
August by Christa Wolf, translated from the German by Katy Derbyshire (Seagull Books). "Seagull Books' first English translation of Christa Wolf's novella is beautiful. Wolf's words are alive and seamless as she floats between past and present, memory and remembrance, as August reflects on childhood's lessons from post-war Germany." --Alex Gholz
Tombe by Helene Cixous, translated from the French by Laurent Milesi (Seagull Books). "Tombe succeeds on so many levels. Cixous' command of both language as it relates to her ideas and the innate playfulness of the shifts she creates in her theories by developing a layered vernacular thick with allusion, as well as her ability to argue self-contained ideas that hold broad implications is unparalleled. The translator of this work takes such great pains to recreate the experience of reading the work in the original language. An exceptional feminist work dealing with the ideas of confinement, decline, death, and transcendence." --Justus Joseph, Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle, Wash.
Diary of the Fall by Michel Laub, translated from the Portuguese by Margaret Jull Costa (Other Press). "Alcoholism, Alzheimer's and Auschwitz, and what can be said about them when everything has been said. I hope we'll see more of Laub." --Greg Kimball, Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park, Wash.
La Grande by Juan José Saer, translated from the Spanish by Steve Dolph (Open Letter). "I loved the other Open Letter Saer titles and La Grande was even better than I hoped for. I feel like I need to go back and read the others--they're all of a piece." --Greg Kimball
Kamal Jann by Dominique Edde, translated from the French by Ros Schwartz (Seagull Books). "The second of acclaimed Lebanese writer Dominique Edde's novels to be translated and published in recent years, this story about a family's virtual disintegration, played out largely in Syria, but elsewhere, works on metaphoric and literal levels with great empathy and insight. And it's a beautiful book." --Rick Simonson, Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle, Wash.
The Walls of Delhi by Uday Prakash, translated from the Hindi by Jason Grunebaum (Seven Stories Press). "Each of the novellas in this collection, set in Delhi, is a universe, like several books, unto itself. Shortlisted for the 2013 DSC South Asian Prize--and almost the winner--it's a brilliant combination of the mocking and outraged, and the tender and loving, all of people trying to survive in a place that doesn't make it easy." --Rick Simonson
Passions by Giacomo Leopardi, translated from the Italian by Tim Parks (Margellos World Literature/Yale University Press). "If the 3.5-lb, $75 FSG edition of Leopardi's Zibaldone was too much for your wallet or your arms, this fresh translation (by author and NYRB contributor Tim Parks) of selections from Leopardi's masterpiece is a perfect introduction to the poet's work. 'Revenge is so sweet one often wishes to be insulted so as to be able to take revenge,' goes on of Leopardi's more honest aphorisms." --Stephen Sparks, Green Apple Books, San Francisco, Calif.
Signs Preceding the End of the World by Yuri Herrara, translated from the Spanish by Lisa Dillman (And Other Stories). "A slim book that casts a long shadow, Herrara's first novel to be translated into English is a story of border crossing that echoes the eeriness of Juan Rulfo's influential classic Pedro Paramo." --Stephen Sparks
Our Lady of the Nile by Scholastique Mukasonga, translated from the French by Melanie Mauthner (Archipelago Books). "For her most recent work and first novel, Mukasonga immerses us in a school for young girls, called 'Notre-Dame du Nil.' The girls are sent to this high school perched on the ridge of the Nile in order to become the feminine elite of the country and to escape." --Paul Yamazaki, City Lights Bookstore, San Francisco, Calif.