The Beginners

Fiction by Anne Serre

Translated by Mark Hutchinson

Anna has been living happily for twenty years with loving, sturdy, outgoing Guillaume when she suddenly (truly at first sight) falls in love with Thomas. Intelligent and handsome, but apparently scarred by a terrible early emotional wound, he reminds Anna of Jude the Obscure. Adrift and lovelorn, she tries unsuccessfully to fend off her attraction, torn between the two men. “How strange it is to leave someone you love for someone you love.…
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The Divorce

Fiction by César Aira

Translated from the Spanish by Chris Andrews

With a contribution by Patti Smith

The Divorce tells about a recently divorced man on vacation in Buenos Aires. One afternoon he encounters a series of the most magical coincidences. While sitting at an outdoor café, absorbed in conversation with a talented video artist, he sees a young man riding by on a bicycle get thoroughly drenched by a downpour of water—seemingly from rain caught the night before in the overhead awning. The video artist knows the cyclist, who knew a mad hermetic sculptor whose family used to take the Hindu God Krishna for walks in the neighborhood.…
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Battles in the Desert

Fiction by José Emilio Pacheco

Translated from the Spanish by Katherine Silver

With a contribution by Fernanda Melchor

This landmark novella—one of the central texts of Mexican literature, is eerily relevant to our current dark times—offers a child’s-eye view of a society beset by dictators, disease, and natural disasters, set in “the year of polio, foot-and- mouth disease, floods.” A middle-class boy grows up in a world of children aping adults (mock wars at recess pit Arabs against Jews), where a child’s left to ponder “how many evils and catastrophes we have yet to witness.…
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The Trojan Women

Here is a new comic-book version of Euripides’s classic The Trojan Women, which follows the fates of Hekabe, Andromache, and Kassandra after Troy has been sacked and all its men killed. This collaboration between the visual artist Rosanna Bruno and the poet and classicist Anne Carson attempts to give a genuine representation of how human beings are affected by warfare. Therefore, all the characters take the form of animals (except Kassandra, whose mind is in another world).…
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A Shock

Fiction by Keith Ridgway

Finally, Ridgway gives us A Shock, his thrilling and unsparing, slippery and shockingly good new novel. Formed as a rondel of interlocking stories with a clutch of more or less loosely connected repeating characters, it’s at once deracinated yet potent with place, druggy yet frighteningly shot through with reality. His people appear, disappear, and reappear. They’re on the fringes of London, clinging to sanity or solvency or a story by their fingernails, consumed by emotions and anxieties in fuzzily understood situations.…
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Twice Alive

Poetry by Forrest Gander

In the searing poems of his new collection, Twice Alive, the Pulitzer Prize-winner Forrest Gander addresses the exigencies of our historical moment and the intimacies, personal and environmental, that bind us to others and to the world. Drawing from his training in geology and his immersion in Sangam literary traditions, Gander invests these poems with an emotional intensity that illuminates our deep-tangled interrelations. While conducting fieldwork with a celebrated mycologist, Gander links human intimacy with the transformative collaborations between species that compose lichens.…
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Personhood

Literature by Thalia Field

Whether investigating refugee parrots, indentured elephants, the pathetic fallacy, or the revolving absurdity of the human role in the “invasive species crisis,” Personhood reveals how the unmistakable problem between humans and our nonhuman relatives is too often the derangement of our narratives and the resulting lack of situational awareness. Building on her previous collection, Bird Lovers, Backyard, Thalia Field’s essayistic investigations invite us on a humorous, heartbroken journey into how people attempt to control the fragile complexities of a shared planet.…
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Little Elegies for Sister Satan

Poetry by Michael Palmer

Little Elegies for Sister Satan presents searingly beautiful new poems by Michael Palmer, “the foremost experimental poet of his generation, and perhaps of the last several generations” (citation for The Poetry Society of America’s Wallace Stevens Award). Grappling with our dark times and our inability to stop destroying the planet or to end our endless wars, Palmer offers a counterlight of wit (poetry was dead again / they said again), as well as the glow of wonder.…
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Voices in the Evening

Fiction by Natalia Ginzburg

Translated from the Italian by D.M. Low

With a contribution by Colm Tóibín

After WWII, a small Italian town struggles to emerge from under the thumb of Fascism. With wit, tenderness, and irony, Elsa, the novel’s narrator, weaves a rich tapestry of provincial Italian life: two generations of neighbors and relatives, their gossip and shattered dreams, their heartbreaks and struggles to find happiness. Elsa wants to imagine a future for herself, free from the expectations and burdens of her town’s history, but the weight of the past will always prove unbearable, insistently posing the question: “Why has everything been ruined?…
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Sevastopol

Fiction by Emilio Fraia

Translated by Zoë Perry

Three subtly connected stories converge in this chimerical debut, each burrowing into a turning point in a person’s life: a young woman gives a melancholy account of her obsession with climbing Mount Everest; a Peruvian-Brazilian vanishes into the forest after staying in a musty, semi-abandoned inn in the haunted depths of the Brazilian countryside; a young playwright embarks on the production of a play about the city of Sevastopol and a Russian painter portraying Crimean War soldiers.…
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Novel 11, Book 18

Fiction by Dag Solstad

Translated from the Norwegian by Sverre Lyngstad

Bjørn Hansen, a respectable town treasurer, has just turned fifty and is horrified by the thought that chance has ruled his life. Eighteen years ago he left his wife and their two-year-old son for his mistress, who persuaded him to start afresh in a small, provincial town and to devote himself to an amateur theater. In time that relationship also faded, and after four years of living alone Bjørn contemplates an extraordinary course of action that will change his life forever.…
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Double Trio

For thirty-five years the poet Nathaniel Mackey has been writing a long poem of fugitive-making like no other: two elegiac, intertwined serial poems—“Song of the Andoumboulou” and “Mu”—that follow a mysterious, migrant “we” through the rhythms and currents of the world with lyrical virtuosity and impassioned expectancy. In a note to this astonishing box set of new work, Mackey writes: “I turned sixty-five within a couple of months of beginning to write Double Trio and I was within a couple of months of turning seventy-one when I finished it.…
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An Apprenticeship or The Book of Pleasures

Fiction by Clarice Lispector

Translated from the Portuguese by Stefan Tobler

Edited by Benjamin Moser

Lóri, a primary school teacher, is isolated and nervous, comfortable with children but unable to connect to adults. When she meets Ulisses, a professor of philosophy, an opportunity opens: a chance to escape the shipwreck of introspection and embrace the love, including the sexual love, of a man. Her attempt, as Sheila Heti writes in her afterword, is not only “to love and to be loved,” but also “to be worthy of life itself.…
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In Memory of Memory

Fiction by Maria Stepanova

Translated by Sasha Dugdale

With the death of her aunt, the narrator is left to sift through an apartment full of faded photographs, old postcards, letters, diaries, and heaps of souvenirs: a withered repository of a century of life in Russia. Carefully reassembled with calm, steady hands, these shards tell the story of how a seemingly ordinary Jewish family somehow managed to survive the myriad persecutions and repressions of the last century. In dialogue with writers like Roland Barthes, W.…
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The Hölderliniae

Poetry by Nathaniel Tarn

Each hymn in Nathaniel Tarn’s new collection The Hölderliniae is a love song to the Poet of Poets, Friedrich Hölderlin — the German Romantic poet-philosopher who spent the last thirty-six years of his life sequestered in a carpenter’s tower in the south of Germany. Tarn speaks through Hölderlin and Hölderlin speaks through Tarn in an act of spiritual and lyric possession unlike anything else in contemporary poetry. The French Revolution — which Hölderlin supported passionately until the Reign of Terror — illuminates our war-torn, ecologically precarious age, as the failures of our age recall past tragedies.…
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Antonio

Fiction by Beatriz Bracher

Translated from the Portuguese by Adam Morris

Benjamin, on the verge of becoming a father, discovers a tragic family secret involving patrimony and determines to get to the root of. Those most immediately involved are all dead, but their three closest confidantes are still alive—Isabel, his grandmother; Haroldo, his grandfather’s friend; and Raul, his father’s friend—and each will tell him a different version of the facts. By collecting these shards of memories, which offer personal glimpses into issues of class and politics in Brazil, Benjamin will piece together the painful puzzle of his family history.…
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The German Lesson

Fiction by Siegfried Lenz

Translated from the German by Ernst Kaiser Eithne Wilkins

In this quiet and devastating novel about the rise of fascism, Siggi Jepsen, incarcerated as a juvenile delinquent, is assigned to write a routine German lesson on the “The Joys of Duty.” Overfamiliar with these joys, Siggi sets down his life since 1943, a decade earlier, when as a boy he watched his father, a constable, doggedly carry out orders from Berlin to stop a well-known Expressionist artist from painting and to seize all his “degenerate” work.…
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