The Desert and Its Seed

Fiction by Jorge Barón Biza

Translated from the Spanish by Camilo Ramirez

The Desert and Its Seed opens with a taxi ride to the hospital: a recently- separated wife’s face is disintegrating from acid thrown by her ex-husband while they signed divorce papers. Mario, their son, tries to wipe the acid from his mother’s cheeks but his own fingers burn. What follows is a fruitless attempt to reconstruct her face— first in Buenos Aires, thereafter in Milan. Mario, the narrator, becomes the shadow and witness of the reconstruction attempts to repair his mother’s outraged flesh.…
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The Linden Tree

Fiction by César Aira

Translated from the Spanish by Chris Andrews

A delightful fictional memoir about César Aira’s small hometown. The narrator, born the same year and now living in the same great city (Buenos Aires) as César Aira, could be the author himself. Beginning with his parents—an enigmatic handsome black father who gathered linden flowers for his sleep-inducing tea and an irrational, crippled mother of European descent—the narrator catalogs memories of his childhood: his friends, his peculiar first job, his many gossiping neighbors, and the landscape and architecture of the provinces.…
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The Emissary

Fiction by Yoko Tawada

Translated from the Japanese by Margaret Mitsutani

Japan, after suffering from a massive irreparable disaster, cuts itself off from the world. Children are so weak they can barely stand or walk: the only people with any get-go are the elderly. Mumei lives with his grandfather Yoshiro, who worries about him constantly. They carry on a day-to-day routine in what could be viewed as a post-Fukushima time, with all the children born ancient—frail and gray-haired, yet incredibly compassionate and wise.…
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The Beekeeper

Nonfiction by Dunya Mikhail

Translated by Max Weiss Dunya Mikhail

Since 2014, Daesh (ISIS) has been brutalizing the Yazidi people of northern Iraq: sowing destruction, killing those who won’t convert to Islam, and enslaving young girls and women. The Beekeeper, by the acclaimed poet and journalist Dunya Mikhail, tells the harrowing stories of several women who managed to escape the clutches of Daesh. Mikhail extensively interviews these women—who’ve lost their families and loved ones, who’ve been repeatedly sold, raped, psychologi- cally tortured, and forced to manufacture chemical weapons—and as their tales unfold, an unlikely hero emerges: a beekeeper, who uses his knowledge of the local terrain, along with a wide network of transporters, helpers, and former cigarette smugglers, to bring these women, one by one, through the war-torn landscapes of Iraq, Syria, and Turkey, back into safety.…
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The Solitary Twin

Fiction by Harry Mathews

With a contribution by John Ashbery

Harry Mathews’s brilliant final work, The Solitary Twin, is an engaging mystery that simultaneously considers the art of storytelling. When identical twins arrive at an unnamed fishing port, they become the focus of the residents’ attention and gossip. The stories they tell about the young men uncover a dizzying web of connections, revealing passion, sex, and murder. Fates are surprisingly intertwined, and the result is a moving, often hilarious, novel that questions our assumptions about life and literature.…
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