March 2016: What’s New in Translation!

Compiled by Carrina LaCorata and Maggie Zebracka. 

A Little Lumpen Novelita by Roberto Bolañolumpen
Translated from Spanish by Natasha Wimmer
Available on: March 21, 2016

“Now I am a mother and a married woman, but not long ago I led a life of crime”: so Bianca begins her tale of growing up the hard way in Rome. Orphaned overnight as a teenager—“our parents died in a car crash on their first vacation without us”—she drops out of school, gets a crappy job, and drifts into bad company. Her younger brother brings home two petty criminals who need a place to stay. As the four of them share the family apartment and plot a strange crime, Bianca learns how low she can fall.

Electric and tense with foreboding, A Little Lumpen Novelita—the last novel Roberto Bolaño published in his lifetime—delivers a surprising, fractured tale of taking control of one’s fate.
—New Directions

Roberto Bolaño was a Chilean novelist, short-story writer, poet and essayist. In 1999, Bolaño won the Rómulo Gallegos Prize for his novel Los detectives salvajes (The Savage Detectives), and in 2008 he was posthumously awarded the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction for his novel 2666, which was described by board member Marcela Valdes as a “work so rich and dazzling that it will surely draw readers and scholars for ages”. The New York Times described him as “the most significant Latin American literary voice of his generation”.

Natasha Wimmer‘s translation of Bolano’s Savage Detectives was chosen as one of the ten best books of 2007 by the New York Times and the Washington Post. She lives in New York City.

confessionsConfessions by Rabee Jaber
Translated from Arabic by Kareen James Abu-Zeid
Available on: March 21, 2016

During the violence and chaos of the Lebanese Civil War, a car pulls up to a roadblock on a narrow side street in Beirut. After a brief and confused exchange, several rounds of bullets are fired into the car, killing everyone in the car except for a small boy of four or five. The boy is taken to the hospital, adopted by one of the assassins, and raised in a new family.

“My father used to kidnap and kill people…” begins this haunting tale of a child who was raised by the murderer of his real family. The narrator of Confessionsdoesn’t shy away from the horrible truth of his murderous father—instead he confronts his troubled upbringing and seeks to understand the distortions and complexities of his memories, his war-torn country, and the quiet war that rages inside of him.
—New Directions

The author of fifteen novels, the Lebanese writer Rabee Jaber was born in Beirut in 1972. He is the editor of Afaaq, the weekly cultural supplement of Al-Hayat, the daily
pan-Arab newspaper.

Half American and half Egyptian, Kareem James Abu-Zeid is completing his Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley.

Córdoba Skies by Federico Falcocorboda skies
Translated from Spanish by Sarah Viren
Available on: March 16, 2016

Córdoba Skies is the coming-of-age story of a boy named Tino whose father owns a UFO museum in the Cordoba region of Argentina and whose mother is laid up at the nearby hospital. Tino spends most of his days chatting with an elderly blind woman he’s befriended at the hospital, watching TV in his house attached to the UFO museum, or swimming alone in the river. He’s distracted from all this by a boy he meets at school, a boy who for a little while, at least, represents Tino’s first chance at a more normal childhood. This novella has been called “dangerous and tender” by critics in Argentina. It is the first book translated into English by the Argentine writer Federico Falco, who was named one of the Best Young Spanish-Language Novelists writing today by Granta magazine. (Synopsis written by Sarah Viren.)
—Ploughshares Solos

Federico Falco was born in General Cabrera, a village in the interior of Argentina bordering the dry pampas. A writer and video artist, he has published the short-story collections 22 patitos (2004), 00 (2004) and La hora de los monos (2010), and two books of poetry: Aeropuertos, aviones (2006) and Made in China (2008). A professor in the departments of Film, Literature and Contemporary Art at Blas Pascal University in Córdoba, he received a scholarship from New York University and Banco Santander to study for an MFA in Creative Writing in Spanish at NYU in 2009. He now lives between Argentina, Madrid and New York. ‘In Utah There Are Mountains Too’ is a new story.

 Sarah Viren‘s writing has appeared in the Colorado ReviewThe Normal School, GuernicaFourth GenreThe New Inquiry, and others. Her essay “My Murderer’s Futon” was selected by Lee Martin for The Pinch literary journal’s 2014 Nonfiction Prize and recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her translation of the novella Cordoba Skies by the Argentine writer Federico Falco is forthcoming from Ploughshares Solos.

extracting stonesExtracting the Stone of Madness: Poems 1962 – 1972 by Alejandra Pizarnik
Translated from Spanish by Yvette Sieger
Available on: March 28, 2016

Revered by Octavio Paz and Roberto Bolaño, Alejandra Pizarnik is still a hidden treasure in the U.S. Extracting the Stone of Madness comprises all of her middle to late work, as well as a selection of posthumously published verse. Obsessed with themes of solitude, childhood, madness, and death, Pizarnik explored the shifting valences of the self and the border between speech and silence. In her own words, she was drawn to “the suffering of Baudelaire, the suicide of Nerval, the premature silence of Rimbaud, the mysterious and fleet- ing presence of Lautréamont,” and to the “unparalleled intensity” of Artaud’s “physical and moral suffering.”
—New Directions

One of the most significant contributors to twentieth-century Argentine poetry, Alejandra Pizarnik made a name for herself through her dark themes and diction. Heavily influenced by Rimbaud and Artaud, Pizarnik believed that suffering was intrinsic to the creation of great poetry. This concession to misery was apparent in her work as her writing was often filled with themes of solitude, estrangement, madness, and death—yet also included moments of tenderness. During her short lifetime she wrote seven books of poetry and one book of prose, as well as numerous translations, short stories, essays, and drawings. In 1968 she was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship and later in 1971 she received a Fulbright Scholarship. Pizarnik struggled with depression and ended her life in 1972.

Yvette Siegert is a poet and translator based in New York. She has edited for The New Yorker and has taught at Columbia University, Baruch College and the 92nd Street Y. Her writing has appeared in many publications, most recently in Aufgabe, Boston Review, St. Petersburg Review, Stonecutter, The Literary Review and, and her work has received recognition from PEN/New York State Council on the Arts, the Academy of American Poets and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Montalbano’s First Case & Other Stories by Andrea Camillerimontalbanos
Translated from Italian by Stephen Sartarelli
Published on: February 23, 2016

From the author of the New York Times–bestselling Inspector Montalbano mystery series, twenty-one short stories spanning the beloved detective’s career.

Inspector Montalbano has charmed readers in nineteen popular novels, and now in Montalbano’s First Case and Other Stories, Andrea Camilleri has selected twenty-one short stories, written with his trademark wit and humor, that follow Italy’s famous detective through highlight cases of his career. From the title story, featuring a young deputy Montalbano newly assigned to Vigàta, to “Montalbano Says No,” in which the inspector makes a late-night call to Camilleri himself to refuse an outlandish case, this collection is an essential addition to any Inspector Montalbano fan’s bookshelf and a wonderful way to introduce readers to the internationally bestselling series.
—Penguin Books

Andrea Camilleri is the author of many books, including his Montalbano series, which has been adapted for Italian television and translated into German, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Greek, Japanese, Dutch, Swedish, and finally, English. He was born at Porto Empedocle, near Agrigento. His style is very particular as he mixes Italian and local dialect without making it unreadable for those who are not from that part of Italy. Camilleri has won numerous homestigious literary awards in Italy as well as in France. He is married with three children and four grandchildren, and lives in Rome.

Stephen Sartarelli was awarded the 2001 Ralziss-De Palchi Prize of the Academy of American Poets for Songbook: Selected Poems of Umberto Saba and the 2002 John Florio Prize of the British Society of Authors for his translation of Prince of the Clouds by Gianni Riotta. He is the author of three books of poetry, most recently, The Open Vault.

seeing redSeeing Red by Lina Meruane
Translated from Spanish by Megan McDowell
Published on: February 23, 2016

Seeing Red describes a young Chilean writer recently relocated to New York for doctoral work who suffers a stroke which leaves her blind. It charts her journey through hospitals and an increased dependency on those closest to her to cope. Fiction and autobiography intertwine in an intense, visceral, and caustic novel about the relation between the body, science, and human relationships.
—Deep Vellum Publishing

Lina Meruane, considered the best woman author of Chile today, has won numerous prestigious international prizes, and lives in New York, where she teaches at NYU.

Megan McDowell has translated many modern and contemporary South American authors, including Alejandro Zambra, Arturo Fontaine, Carlos Busqued, Álvaro Bisama and Juan Emar. Her translations have been published in The New YorkerMcSweeney’sWords Without BordersMandorla, and Vice, among others.

Something Will Happen, You’ll See 
by Christos Ikonomousomething will happen
Translated from Greek by Karen Emmerich
Available on: March 15, 2016

Something Will Happen, You’ll See is a heart-wrenching elegy on the impoverished working-class Greeks populating the neighborhoods around Piraeus, the large port southwest of Athens. Ikonomou’s luminous and poignant short stories center around laid-off steelworkers, warehousemen, families, pensioners, and young couples faced with sudden loss and turmoil. Between docks, in tenement buildings, and on city streets Ikonomou’s men and women sustain their traumas on flickers of hope in the darkness and on their deep faith in humanity. An illuminating examination of the human condition, Ikonomou’s award-winning book has become the literary emblem of the Greek crisis; stories so real, humane, and haunting that they will stay with the reader long after the final page.
—Archipelago Books

Christos Ikonomou was born in Athens in 1970. He has published two collections of short stories, The Woman on the Rails, (Ellinika Grammata, 2003) and Something will Happen, You’ll See, (Polis, 2010), which has won the prestigious Best Short-Story Collection State Award and became the most reviewed Greek book of 2011. Something will Happen, You’ll See has been translated into Italian (Editori Riuniti, 2012) and German  (CH Beck, 2013.) The US edition is forthcoming (Archipelago Books 2015) as well as a Spanish edition (Valparaiso, 2015).

Karen Emmerich is a prolific translator of Modern Greek poetry and prose. Her recent and forthcoming translations include Something Will Happen, You’ll See by Christos Ikonomou, The Scapegoat by Sophia Nikolaidou, and Why I Killed My Best Friend by Amanda Michalopoulou. She has also translated books by Ersi Sotiropoulos, Margarita Karapanou, and Vassilis Vassilikos. Her translation of Poems (1945–1971) by Miltos Sachtouris was a finalist for a National Book Critics’ Circle Prize in Poetry in 2006, and her co-translation with Edmund Keeley of Diaries of Exile by Yannis Ritsos was awarded the PEN Poetry in Translation Award in 2014. She currently teaches at the University of Oregon, and will be joining the faculty of Princeton University in the spring of 2015.

happy marriageThe Happy Marriage by Tahar Ben Jelloun
Translated from French by André Naffis-Sahely
Published on: January 5, 2016

In The Happy Marriage, the internationally acclaimed Moroccan author Tahar Ben Jelloun tells the story of one couple—first from the husband’s point of view, then from the wife’s—just as legal reforms are about to change women’s rights forever.
The husband, a painter in Casablanca, has been paralyzed by a stroke at the very height of his career and becomes convinced that his marriage is the sole reason for his decline.

Walled up within his illness and desperate to break free of a deeply destructive relationship, he finds escape in writing a secret book about his hellish marriage. When his wife finds it, she responds point by point with her own version of the facts, offering her own striking and incisive reinterpretation of their story.

Who is right and who is wrong? A thorny issue in a society where marriage remains a sacrosanct institution, but where there’s also a growing awareness of women’s rights. And in their absorbing struggle, both sides of this modern marriage find out they may not be so enlightened after all.
—Melville House

Tahar Ben Jelloun is an award-winning and internationally bestselling Moroccan novelist, essayist, critic, and poet. Regularly shortlisted for the Nobel Prize, he is also a frequent contributor to Le MondeLa RepubblicaEl PaisPanoramaThe New Yorker, and The Paris Review.

André Naffis-Sahely is a poet, critic, and translator from French and Italian.


The Other Woman by Therese Bohmanother woman
Translated from Swedish by Marlaine Delargy
Published on: February 23, 2016

From the author of Drowned, a psychological novel where questions of class, status, and ambition loom over a young woman’s passionate love affair.

She works at Norrköping Hospital, at the very bottom of the hierarchy: in the cafeteria, below the doctors, the nurses, and the nursing assistants. But she dreams of one day becoming a writer, of moving away and reinventing herself.

Carl Malmberg, an older, married doctor at the hospital, catches her eye. She begins an intense affair with him, though struggling with the knowledge that he may never be hers. At the same time, she realizes that their attraction to each other is governed by their differences in social status. As her doubts increase, the revelation of a secret no one could have predicted forces her to take her own destiny in hand.
—Other Press

Therese Bohman is an editor of the magazine Axess and a columnist for Expressen and Tidningen Vi, writing about literature, art, culture, and fashion. She lives in Sweden.

Marlaine Delargy is based in the UK. She has translated novels by Swedish writers including Åsa Larsson, Ninni Holmqvist and Johan Theorin–with whom she won the CWA International Dagger 2010 for The Darkest Room.


Carrina LaCorata has a Bachelor’s degree from the University of South CarolIMG_1665ina with a major French and a minor in Theater and a Master’s degree from New York University in Literary Translation: French to English. She is currently working on building her career as a freelance translator (and hopes that literary translation will be a part of that). Carrina is excited to be an intern with ALTA and learn more about the literary translation world.


Maggie Zebracka is a graduate of Wellesley College and Vanderbilt University. Originally zebrackafrom southeastern Poland, she currently lives and writes in West Texas.

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2 Responses to March 2016: What’s New in Translation!

  1. dubrav01 says:

    Thanks for posts like this one, of new translations: it sometimes takes me forever to get around to reading them, but I appreciate the mini-reviews and news so much, wouldn’t learn of these books otherwise.

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