The Life Before Us

Fiction by Romain Gary

Translated from the French by Ralph Manheim

Momo has been one of the ever-changing ragbag of whores’ children at Madame Rosa’s boarding house in Paris ever since he can remember. But when the check that pays for his keep no longer arrives and as Madame Rosa becomes too ill to climb the stairs to their apartment, he determines to support her any way he can. This sensitive, slightly macabre love story between Momo and Madame Rosa has a supporting cast of transvestites, pimps, and witch doctors from Paris’s immigrant slum, Belleville.…
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Kick the Latch

Fiction by Kathryn Scanlan

Kathryn Scanlan’s Kick the Latch vividly captures the arc of one woman’s life at the racetrack—the flat land and ramshackle backstretch; the bad feelings and friction; the winner’s circle and the racetrack bar; the fancy suits and fancy boots; and the “particular language” of “grooms, jockeys, trainers, racing secretaries, stewards, pony people, hotwalkers, everybody”—with economy and integrity. Based on transcribed interviews with Sonia, a horse trainer, the novel investigates form and authenticity in a feat of synthesis reminiscent of Charles Reznikoff’s Testimony.…
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The Bloater

Fiction by Rosemary Tonks

Why do the only men I know carry wet umbrellas and say “Umm?” I’m being starved alive. Quick: the first bookshop for a copy of the Kama-Sutra. Min works at the BBC as a sound engineer, and in theory she’s married, but her husband George is so invisible that she accidentally turns the lights off even when he’s still in the room. Luckily, she has her friends and lovers to distract her: in Min’s self-lacerating, bracingly opinionated voice, life boils down to sex appeal—and of late she’s being courted by an internationally renowned opera singer whom she refers to as The Bloater (a swelled, salted herring).…
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Toño the Infallible

Fiction by Evelio Rosero

Translated from the Spanish by Victor Meadowcroft Anne McLean

I was alone when someone pounded on my door. Who could it be? So begins Toño the Infallible, Evelio Rosero’s gripping novel about an intense relationship between a writer and a sociopath. Visited by his friend (a kind of Colombian Rasputin) seemingly at the verge of death, the writer, Eri, looks back on the arc of both of their lives. Unique in both its tone and its structure, the novel takes us from their student days (school fights, playground revelations, and an unforgettable trip to the seaside) into their adult years, involving rumors of a hippie cult and a bizarre raucous theater exhibit of history’s most violent crimes.…
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Too Much of Life

Literature by Clarice Lispector

Translated from the Portuguese by Margaret Jull Costa Robin Patterson

The things I’ve learned from taxi drivers would be enough to fill a book. They know a lot: they really do get around. I may know a lot about Antonioni that they don’t know. Or maybe they do even when they don’t. There are various ways of knowing by not-knowing. I know: it happens to me too. The crônica, a literary genre peculiar to Brazilian newspapers, allows writers (or even soccer stars) to address a wide readership on any theme they like.…
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The Wall

Fiction by Marlen Haushofer

Translated from the German by Shaun Whiteside

While vacationing in a hunting lodge in the Austrian mountains, a middle-aged woman awakens one morning to find herself separated from the rest of the world by an invisible wall. With a cat, a dog, and a cow as her sole companions, she learns how to survive and cope with her loneliness. Allegorical yet deeply personal and absorbing, The Wall is at once a critique of modern civilization, a nuanced and loving portrait of a relationship between a woman and her animals, a thrilling survival story, a Cold War-era dystopian adventure, and a truly singular feminist classic.…
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Chinatown

Fiction by Thuân

Translated by Nguyễn An Lý

An abandoned package is discovered in the Paris Metro: the subway workers suspect it’s a terrorist bomb. A Vietnamese woman sitting nearby, her son asleep on her shoulder, waits and begins to reflect on her life, from her constrained childhood in communist Hanoi, to a long period of study in Leningrad during the Gorbachev period, and finally to the Parisian suburbs where she now teaches English. Through everything runs her passion for Thuy, the father of her son, a writer who lives in Saigon’s Chinatown, and who, with the shadow of the China-Vietnam border war falling darkly between them, she has not seen for eleven years.…
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A Fierce Green Place

Poetry by Pamela Mordecai

Edited by Carol Bailey Stephanie Mckenzie

With a contribution by Tanya Shirley

A Fierce Green Place: New and Selected Poems brings together, across the span of thirty-plus years, the rebellious, innovative work of the Jamaican-born Canadian writer Pamela Mordecai. From her acclaimed first collection Journey Poem, to the moving elegy for her murdered brother in The True Blue of Islands, to the stories of freed slaves told in Subversive Sonnets, and on to her dazzling reimaginings of biblical stories, this collection—Mordecai’s first book published in the US—highlights the astounding range and depths of a poet whose poetry has been described by Kamau Brathwaite as “brilliant,” by Kwame Dawes as “deeply felt and immaculately crafted,” and by Edward Baugh as “heady, sensuous, intoxicating, dangerous, and painful.…
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It Must Be a Misunderstanding

Poetry by Coral Bracho

Translated from the Spanish by Forrest Gander

Edited by Forrest Gander

It Must Be a Misunderstanding is the acclaimed Mexican poet Coral Bracho’s most personal and emotive collection to date, dedicated to her mother who died of complications from Alzheimer’s. Remarkably, Bracho, author and daughter, seems to disappear into her own empathic observations as her mother comes clear to us not as a tragic figure, but as a fiery and independent personality. The chemistry between them is vivid, poignant, and unforgettable. As the translator Forrest Gander explains in his foreword: the book’s force builds as the poems cycle through their sequences— from early to late Alzheimer’s—“with non-judgmental affection and compassionate watchfulness.…
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Bloom & Other Poems

Poetry by Xi Chuan

Translated by Lucas Klein

“Bloom and change your way of living,” Xi Chuan exhorts us. “Bloom / unleash a deep underground spring with your rhizome.” In his wildly roving new collection, Bloom & Other Poems, Xi Chuan, like a modern-day master of the fu-rhapsody, delves into the incongruities of daily existence, its contradictions and echoes of ancient history, with sensuous exaltations and humorous observations. Problems of mourning and reading, thoughts on loquaciousness, Manhattan, the Luxor Temple, and socks are scrutinized, while in other poems we encounter dead friends on a visit to a small village and fakes in an antique market.…
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Letter to the Americans

Literature by Jean Cocteau

Translated from the French by Alex Wermer-Colan

In 1949, Jean Cocteau spent twenty days in New York, and began composing on the plane ride home this essay filled with the vivid impressions of his trip. With his unmistakable prose and graceful wit, he compares and contrasts French and American culture: the different values they place on art, literature, liberty, psychology, and dreams. Cocteau sees the incredibly buoyant hopes in America’s promise, while at the same time warning of the many ills that the nation will have to confront—its hypocrisy, sexism, racism, and hegemonic aspirations—in order to realize this potential.…
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Alindarka’s Children

Fiction by Alhierd Bacharevič

Translated from the Belarusian by Petra Reid Jim Dingley

It’s not Avi’s fault, it’s those sourish, mind-bending little berries that are to blame, those tiny wee spheres. Bilberries, bletherberries that befuddle the mind, babbleberries that give you a kick. The beautiful green forest scales, the timber songs, play out like a kaleidoscope before his eyes. It’s hard tae breathe, yer haunds skedaddle awa… In a camp at the edge of a forest children are trained to forget their language through drugs, therapy, and coercion.…
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Conversation of the Three Wayfarers

Fiction by Peter Weiss

Translated by E.B. Garside

With a contribution by John Keene

They were men who did nothing but walk walk walk. They were big, they were bearded, they wore leather caps and long raincoats, they called themselves Abel, Babel, and Cabel, and while they walked they talked to each other. Conversation of the Three Wayfarers is a three-sided first-person monologue told by the wayfarers: Abel, Babel, and Cabel. The men exchange fantastic tales—of a bridge, a bride, and the ferryman’s sons; of an island, a river, a wharf—but one never knows who is speaking or where one tale leaves off and the next begins.…
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The Shadow of the Coachman's Body

Fiction by Peter Weiss

Translated by Rosmarie Waldrop

From the revolutionary author of Marat/Sade, a meticulously observed and macabre novel of hell on earth. The Shadow of the Coachman’s Body was unanimously praised as an original work of art by critics when it first appeared in 1960. Here, in poet Rosmarie Waldrop’s pitch-perfect translation, Weiss presents a vividly alive black comedy of inert objects—stones, buttons, needles, tin cups, celestial orbs, an overwound music box—with a supporting cast of the oblique residents of a dismal boarding house.…
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Lucky Breaks

Fiction by Yevgenia Belorusets

Translated from the Russian by Eugene Ostashevsky

Out of the impoverished Ukrainian coal regions known as the Donbass, where Russian secret military intervention mixes with banditry and insurgency, the women of Yevgenia Belorusets’s captivating collection of stories Lucky Breaks emerge from the ruins of an ongoing war. Through a series of unexpected encounters, we are pulled into the ordinary lives of these anonymous women: a florist, a cosmetologist, readers of horoscopes, the unemployed, cardplayers, a witch who catches newborns with a mitt.…
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Scattered All Over the Earth

Fiction by Yoko Tawada

Translated by Margaret Mitsutani

In Scattered All Over the Earth, the mind-expanding, cheerfully dystopian new novel by Yoko Tawada, the world’s climate disaster and its attendant refugee crises is viewed through the loving twin lenses of friendship and linguistic ingenuity. Welcome to the not-too-distant future: Japan, having vanished from the face of the earth, is now remembered as “the land of sushi.” Hiruko, a former citizen and a climate refugee, has a job teaching immigrant children in Denmark with her invented language Panska (Pan-Scandinavian): “homemade language.…
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Let Us Believe in the Beginning of the Cold Season

Poetry by Forough Farrokhzad

Translated from the Persian by Elizabeth T. Gray, Jr.

In the years since her tragic death in a car accident at age thirty-two in 1967, Forough Farrokhzad has become a poet as influential as Lorca or Akhmatova, celebrated as a feminist trailblazer of Iranian literature and as an iconoclastic figure of contemporary world literature. As Mehdi Jami writes in the Guardian, “In every culture you have cultural icons, like Shakespeare in Britain. Farrokhzad was like that for contemporary Iran, someone who formed the identity of our contemporariness.…
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Novel on Yellow Paper

I am a forward-thinking girl, and don’t stay where I am. ‘Left right, be bright.’ Pompey Casmilus, Stevie Smith’s loquacious alter ego, works as a secretary and writes down on yellow office paper this wickedly amusing novel. “Dear Reader,” she addresses us politely in the whirlwind of her opinions on death, sex, anti-Semitism, art, Greek tragedy, friendship, marriage, Nazism, gossip, and the suburbs. But most of all Pompey talks about love.…
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Chasing Homer

Fiction by László Krasznahorkai

Translated from the Hungarian by John Batki

Art by Max Neumann Music by Szilveszter Miklós In this chase thriller, a hunted being escapes certain death at breakneck speed—careening through Europe, heading blindly South. Faster and faster, escaping the assassins, our protagonist flies forward, blending into crowds, adjusting to terrains, hopping on and off ferries, always desperately trying to stay a step ahead: I’m a prisoner of the instant, an I rush into this instant, an instant that has no continuation, just as it has no earlier version, and I have to tell myself—if I had the time to think about this between two instants—that I have no need for either past or future because neither one exists.…
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His Name Was Death

Fiction by Rafael Bernal

Translated from the Spanish by Kit Schluter

With a contribution by Yuri Herrera

Never before in English, this legendary precursor to ecofiction turns the coming insect apocalypse on its head. A bitter drunk forsakes civilization and takes to the Mexican jungle, trapping animals, selling their pelts to buy liquor for colossal benders, and slowly rotting away in his fetid hut. His neighbors, a local Chiapas tribe, however, see something more in him than he does himself (dubbing him Wise Owl). When he falls deathly ill, a shaman named Black Ant saves his life—and, almost by chance, in driving out his fever, she exorcises the demon of alcoholism as well.…
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Cremation

Fiction by Rafael Chirbes

Translated by Valerie Miles

The booming post-Franco years have left everything up for grabs along a stretch of the Mediterranean coastline of Spain: real-estate developers scramble to transform the once pastoral landscape into resorts, nightclubs, and beachfront properties with lavish pools. Cremation opens with the death of Matías, a paterfamilias who had rejected all of these changes and whose passing sets off a chain reaction, uncovering guilts and resentments that had been buried for years and leading those closest to him to question the paths they’ve chosen.…
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