Earth by Émile Zola. Translated from French by Brian Nelson.
Earth is a vivid portrayal of peasant life on the eve of the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War of 1870. Its graphic depiction of the spiralling disintegration of a family of agricultural workers led to the prosecution for obscenity of its first English translator. Brian Nelson’s introduction considers this most the ‘Zolaesque’ novel, in which Zola’s unflinching depiction of the bestiality and violence of the peasants brought to a head the literary debates about Naturalism.
The Last Varlamis by Thanasis Valtinos. Translated from Greek with an Introduction and Notes by Stathis Gauntlett.
The Last Varlamis is an entertaining and richly nuanced tale of opportunism, lust, brutality and artistic creativity spun upon the frame of selected scenes of modern Greek history. While the narrative affects the sobriety of scholarly discourse, it violates the basic tenets of historiography with varying degrees of subtlety, as if to strike a blow for the recognition of historical memory as a function of the creative imagination.
The Fortune of the Rougons by Émile Zola. Translated from French by Brian Nelson.
This is the first new translation since the nineteenth century of the first novel in Zola’s famous Rougon-Macquart series. This is the series’ founding text in which the prehistory of the family’s two branches is recounted, establishing the hereditary basis for the family characteristics and flaws evident in the later novels. Set during the time of Louis-Napoleon’s coup d’état in 1851, the exciting events establish the symbolic links between a tainted family and the diseased society of the Second Empire.
Bringing It All Back Home by Nicola Lagioia. Translated from Italian by Brigid Maher.
Giuseppe has red hair, pimples, and an inexhaustible reserve of money in his wallet. Vincenzo is good looking and serious, like any respectable adversary. The third friend is the one telling the story: with caustic precision, this restless narrator records dizzying teenage discoveries, the lazy inertia of the high school years, and the plunge into adulthood. The city is Bari in southern Italy, the time, the 1980s. The era of ideologies has been killed off—the streets are full of optimism; commercial television channels are recalibrating people’s desires and aspirations; “something akin to a storm front of madness” is running through Italy’s economy.
Tears in Rain by Rosa Montero. Translated from Spanish by Lilit Zekulin Thwaites.
Death is inevitable. Especially when you have an expiration date… As a replicant, or “techno-human,” Detective Bruna Husky knows two things: humans bioengineered her to perform dangerous, undesirable tasks; and she has just ten years on the United States of Earth before her body automatically self-destructs. But with “anti-techno” rage on the rise and a rash of premature deaths striking her fellow replicants, she may have even less time than she originally thought. Selected as one of World Literature Today‘s 75 Notable Translations for 2012.
The Last Wish Woman by Javier Correa. Translated from Spanish by Kieran Tapsell.
A novel set in one of Colombia’s eternal civil wars. There are no heroes in this novel, only soldiers, hookers, guerrillas and priests: characters in a big picture where, in the end, everyone loses. Yet this is not a depressing book because it is laced with the rich black humour that seems to spring from places in conflict.
Professor Hanaa by Reem Bassiouney. Translated from Arabic by Laila Helmi.
This novel portrays the story of an independent Egyptian woman who with time finds herself confronting the chauvinistic pressures of a male-dominated society. A successful university professor, the advent of her birthday brings about the realization that she is perceived as an embittered 40-year-old spinster. The story thus unfolds as a forceful commentary on gender and power relations in both academia and the Arab World. Nominated for the Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation, 2012.
The Tale of the Heike. Translated from Japanese by Royall Tyler.
This anonymous epic, in the Kakuichi version dated 1371, stands beside The Tale of Genji as a pillar of Japanese literature and a source of inspiraton for centuries of writers, dramatists and artists. Lavishly illustrated and accompanied by maps, character guides and genealogies, this book is a volume to treasure.
Pythagoras and the Early Pythagoreans by Leonid Zhmud. Translated from Russian by Kevin Windle & Rosh Ireland.
A comprehensive study of Pythagoras and the early Pythagorean philosophers, scientists and doctors through an analysis of different representations of the Teacher and his followers. The book explores political, institutional, religious, philosophical and scientific aspects of early Pythagoreanism.
Aesthetics and Creation by Gao Xingjian. Translated from Chinese by Mabel Lee.
In this work Nobel Laureate Gao Xingjian discusses the rationale and techniques involved in his path-breaking innovations across various genres, and demonstrates the extent to which his creations are informed by his close interrogation of both Chinese and European cultural traditions and practices. Includes an informative introduction by the translator.
Erebos by Ursula Poznanski. Translated from German by Judith Pattinson.
A young adult thriller about power, manipulation and revenge. Nick is given a sinister but brilliant computer game called Erebos. The game is highly addictive, but asks its players to carry out actions in the real world in order to keep playing online. As Nick loses friends and all sense of right and wrong in the real world, he gains power and advances towards his online goal. But how far will Nick go to achieve his goal? And what does Erebos really want?
Of Jewish Race by Renzo Modiano. Translated from Italian by Susan Walker and Mirna Cicioni.
“Of Jewish race” is the red annotation on the second-grade school report of Roman boy Renzo Modiano in June 1943. Three months later, as the Germans occupied northern and central Italy, Renzo was forced to leave his family and hide in different parts of Italy until June 1945. This plainly-told, moving memoir recounts his experiences of cold, hunger, fear and betrayal as well as solidarity, warm friendships and unexpected help from strangers.
Villes de sel by Abdul Rahman Mounif. Translated from Arabic into French by France Meyer.
Cities of Salt is the epic tale of both sedentary and nomadic tribes suddenly confronted by the advent of oil empires, and annihilated by the cataclysm that ensued. The author narrates bluntly, with the verve of a seasoned storyteller, the astonishment, the anger, the rebellion, but also the submission, the betrayal, the fragility, and often the naivety of heroes of sand and salt whose fate failed to perturb the foreign invaders or the governments in their pay.