May 2016: What’s New in Translation!

Compiled by Carrina LaCorata and Maggie Zebracka.

The Attempt
by Magdaléna PlatzováThe Attempt
Translated from Czech by Alex Zucker
Published on: May 26, 2016

When a Czech historian becomes convinced he’s the illegitimate great-grandson of an infamous anarchist who attempted an assassination while living in the United States, he travels to New York to investigate. Arriving in Manhattan during the height of the Occupy Wall Street movement, his research takes him further back into the past—from the Pittsburgh home of a nineteenth-century US industrialist to 1920s Europe, where a celebrated anarchist couple is on the run from the law.

Based on the lives of Alexander Berkman and Emma Goldman, The Attempt is a novel about the legacy of radical politics and relationships—one that traverses centuries and continents to deliver a moving, powerful story of personal and political transformation.
– Bellevue Literary Press

Magdaléna Platzová is the author of six books, including two novels published in English: Aaron’s Leap, a Lidové Noviny Book of the Year Award finalist, and The Attempt, a Czech Book Award finalist. Her fiction has also appeared in A Public Space and Words Without Borders. Platzová grew up in the Czech Republic, studied in Washington, DC, and England, received her MA in Philosophy at Charles University in Prague, and has taught at New York University’s Gallatin School. She is now a freelance journalist based in Lyon, France.

Alex Zucker is an award-winning translator of Czech literature. He also works in editing and nonprofit communications, and currently serves as cochair of the PEN America Translation Committee.


A Bad EndA Bad End by Fernando Royuela
Translated from Spanish by Peter Bush
Published on: May 10, 2016

A Bad End is the story of Goyito, a dwarf at the end of his life, who tells us, in a bitter and sarcastic way, the miserable reality of his lonely childhood, his macabre experiences as a circus clown, and his liaisons dangereuses in Madrid’s underworld. Mischief, desire, death, ambition, revenge-the life of a rascal told in exuberant, exhilarating language. Winner of the Premio Ojo Critico.
– Hispabooks

Fernando Royuela is a Spanish lawyer and fiction writer who lives in Madrid, Spain.

Peter R. Bush is a prize-winning English literary translator. He has translated works from Catalan, French, Spanish and Portuguese to English, including the work of Josep Pla, Joan Sales and Merce Rodoreda.


Beyond Elsewhere by Gabriel Arnou-LaujeacBeyond Elsewhere
Translated from French by Hélène Cardona
Published on: May 10, 2016

Beyond Elsewhere is a hauntingly beautiful long prose poem, a dance that at once touches on the universal and uniquely personal. With his debut collection, Gabriel Arnou- Laujeac establishes himself as one of French poetry’s most innovative new voices. His writing is lyrical, masterful, exquisite, an opening into the elusive, affirming the absolute necessity of listening to the world. Beyond Elsewhere is a symphonic poem with boundless language, where past and present meet.
– White Pine Press

Gabriel Arnou-Laujeac is the author of Petite anthologie de la jeune poésie française (Éditions Géhess, 2009), Le livre de la prière (Éditions de l’Inférieur, 2013), Les Citadelles, Poésie Directe, and Littérales.

Hélène Cardona is an award-winning poet, literary translator and actor, author of Life in Suspension (Salmon Poetry), Dreaming My Animal Selves (Salmon Poetry), Ce que nous portons (Éditions du Cygne), her translation of Dorianne Laux, and The Astonished Universe (Red Hen Press).


The BirdsThe Birds
by Tarjei Vesaas

Translated from Norwegian by Torbjørn Støverud and Michael Barnes
Published on: May 3, 2016

Set in the Norwegian countryside over the course of one summer, The Birds tells the story of forty-year-old Mattis, who has mental disabilities and lives in a small house near a lake with his sister Hege, who ekes out a modest living knitting sweaters. From time to time Hege encourages her brother to find work to ease their financial burdens, but Mattis’s attempts to work at the surrounding farms always end in failure and disgrace. Mattis is keenly aware of the distance between himself and the world around him, which often feels hostile; the villagers call him Simple Simon.

Profoundly sensitive to his surroundings, Mattis spends much of his time in the forest, reading its signs and symbols: A woodcock begins a daily flight over their house, a beautiful bird is waiting for him on the path one day when he returns from the store, and one afternoon lighting strikes one of the two withered aspen trees outside the house – trees known in the village as “Mattis-and-Hege.”

When Mattis decides to employ himself as a ferryman, the only passenger he manages to bring across the lake is a lumberjack, Jørgen. When Jørgen and Hege become lovers, Mattis finds he cannot adjust to this new situation. Wholly reliant on Hege and terrified of losing her, he clings to the familiar and does everything in his power to make Jørgen leave. Simultaneously, he struggles to find a place for himself in a world that does not seem to want him.

With spare simplicity, Vesaas’s straightforward prose subtly reveals Mattis’s perspective and readers will find themselves shifting irrevocably from observers of his experience to participants in it. Written by one of Norway’s most celebrated and beloved authors, The Birds is a deeply nuanced examination of identity and responsibility, with abundant narrative suspense and hauntingly beautiful writing besides.
– Archipelago

Tarjei Vesaas was a Norwegian poet and novelist. Born in Vinje, Telemark, Vesaas is widely considered to be one of Norway’s greatest writers of the twentieth century and perhaps its most important since World War II.

Torbjørn Støverud is the author of Milestones of Norwegian Literature, Modern Norwegian Literature, and together with George Popperwell, Anthology of Norwegian Literature, Volume 1-6. Together with Hal Sutcliff he is the translator of The Story of Edvard Munch by Ketil Bjornstad and Insect Summer by Knut Faldbakken.


The Clouds by Juan Jose SaerThe Clouds
Translated from Spanish by Hilary Vaughn Dobel
Published on: May 10, 2016

In modern-day Paris, Pichón Garay receives a computer disk containing a manuscript—which might be fictional, or could be a memoir—by Doctor Real, a nineteenth-century physician tasked with leading a group of five mental patients on a trip to a recently constructed asylum. Their trip, which ends in disaster and fire, is a brilliant tragicomedy thanks to the various insanities of the patients, among whom is a delusional man who greatly over-estimates his own importance and a nymphomaniac nun who tricks everyone—even the other patients—into sleeping with her.

Fascinating as a faux historical novel and written in Saer’s typically gorgeous, Proustian style, The Clouds can be read as a metaphor for exile—a huge theme for Saer and a lot of Argentine writers—as well as an examination of madness.
– Open Letter Books

Juan José Saer was the leading Argentinian writer of the post-Borges generation. The author of numerous novels and short-story collections (including Scars and La Grande), Saer was awarded Spain’s prestigious Nadal Prize in 1987 for The Event. Five of his novels are available from Open Letter Books.

Hilary Vaughn Dobel has an MFA in poetry and translation from Columbia University. She is the author of two manuscripts and, in addition to Saer, she has translated work by Carlos Pintado.


Confessions of a MadmanConfessions of a Madman by Leila Sebbar
Translated from French by Rachel Crovello
Published on: May 27, 2016

Confessions of a Madman personalizes the struggle of a civil war by following the fragmentation and irreversible separation of a single family. Written in alternating flashbacks and descriptions of a man’s present, Sebbar delivers a modern fable for adults: a tale of familial disorientation, identity, violence, and morality. A young man observes his mother losing her mind while waiting for her murdered husband to return home. Despite his estrangement from his father, the son vows to avenge his father’s death by murdering his father’s killers. In delving into his father’s past, he discovers his role in an unsuccessful revolt and soon finds himself following in his father’s footsteps. This book addresses the meaningfulness of cultural traditions, their origins, and their potential contemporary repercussions when juxtaposed with a modern context of events.
– Dalkey Archive Press

Leïla Sebbar was born in 1941 to an Algerian father and a French mother. Much of her literature involves the relationship between France and Algeria, including direct juxtaposition of imagery related to both countries in order to highlight the differing cultures. A unique quality of her work is her penchant for keeping her characters unnamed. The anonymous, mysterious quality of her writing allows a wider relation to all who seek asylum.

The daughter of a Filipino mother and an Italian-American father, Rachel Crovello was born and raised in the Midwest. Thanks to early exposure to French and Spanish at an immersion school, she discovered a passion for languages.

Rachel specialized in Arabic and Translation Studies while completing her B.A. in Linguistics at Stanford University. Rachel currently resides in the Bay Area, where she continues to explore her love of the power of language.


Constellation by Adrien BoscConstellation
Translated from French by Willard Wood
Published on: May 10, 2016

On October 27, 1949, Air France’s new plane, the Constellation, launched by the extravagant Howard Hughes, welcomed thirty-eight passengers aboard. On October 28, no longer responding to air traffic controllers, the plane disappeared while trying to land on the island of Santa Maria, in the Azores. No one survived.

The question Adrien Bosc’s novel asks is not so much how, but why? What were the series of tiny incidents that, in sequence, propelled the plane toward Redondo Mountain? And who were the passengers? As we recognize Marcel Cerdan, the famous boxer and lover of Edith Piaf, and we remember the musical prodigy Ginette Neveu, whose tattered violin would be found years later, the author ties together their destinies: “Hear the dead, write their small legend, and offer to these thirty-eight men and women, like so many constellations, a life and a story.”
– Other Press

Adrien Bosc was born in 1986 in Avignon. Constellation, the winner of the prestigious Grand Prix du roman de l’academie francaise and a best seller in France, is his first novel.

Willard Wood is the winner of the 2002 Lewis Galantière Award for Literary Translation and a 2000 National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Translation. He lives in Connecticut.


Dassoukine's TrousersCurious Case of Dassoukine’s Trousers by Fouad Laroui
Translated from French by Emma Ramadan
Published on: May 26, 2016

This first book in English by Morocco’s most prominent contemporary writer won France’s most prestigious literary award, the Prix Goncourt de Nouvelles, awarded for the best story collection. This linked story collection employs laugh-out-loud humor and profound pathos in a variety of literary styles to explore what it would be like to live in a world where everything was foreign. Introduction by Laila Lalami, author of The Moor’s Account.
– Deep Vellum Publishing

Fouad Laroui has published over twenty novels and collections of short stories, poetry, and essays. Laroui teaches econometrics and environmental science at the University of Amsterdam, and lives between Amsterdam, Paris, and Casablanca.

Emma Ramadan is a graduate of Brown University, received her Master’s in Cultural Translation from the American University of Paris, and recently completed a Fulbright Fellowship for literary translation in Morocco. Her translation of Anne Garréta’s Sphinx was published by Deep Vellum in spring 2015, and her translation of Anne Parian’s Monospace is forthcoming from La Presse in fall 2015.


A Fine Line by Gianrico CarofiglioA Fine Line
Translated from Italian by Howard Curtis
Published on: May 10, 2016

The fifth in the best-selling Guido Guerrieri series.

When Judge Larocca is accused of corruption, Guerrieri goes against his better instincts and takes the case. Helped by Annapaola Doria, a motorbike-riding bisexual private detective who keeps a baseball bat on hand for sticky situations, he investigates the alleged links to the mafia. Of course Guerrieri cannot stop himself from falling for Annapaola’s exotic charms.

The novel is a suspenseful legal thriller but it is also much more. It is the story of a judge who, to quote Dostoevsky, “lies to himself and listens to his own lies, so gets to the point where he can no longer distinguish the truth, either in himself or around himself.”
– Bitter Lemon Press

Gianrico Carofiglio is now a full time novelist. He was previously a member of the Senate in Italy and before that, an anti-Mafia prosecutor in Bari, a port on the coast of Puglia. He has been involved with trials concerning corruption, organized crime and the traffic in human beings. He is a best-selling author of crime novels, literary fiction.This is the fifth Guerrieri novel is in this best-selling series.

Howard Curtis lives in Norwich and is a prize winning translator from Italian and French. He has translated two other Guerrieri novels for Bitter Lemon Press as well as fiction by Flaubert, Luis Sepúlveda, Giorgio Faletti, Puerto Grossi and Georges Simenon.


The Hotel of the Three RosesThe Hotel of the Three Roses by Augusto De Angelis
Translated from Italian by Jill Foulston
Published on: May 3, 2016

The shady Hotel of the Three Roses is home to an assortment of drunks and degenerates. Inspector De Vincenzi receives an anonymous letter, warning him of an imminent outrage at the guest house, and shortly after a macabre discovery is made-a body is found hanging in the hotel’s stairwell. As De Vincenzi investigates, more deaths follow, until he finally uncovers a gothic and grotesque story linking the Three Roses’ unhappy residents to each other.

This intensely dramatic mystery from the father of the Italian crime novel, Augusto de Angelis, features his most famous creation-Inspector De Vincenzi.
– Pushkin Vertigo

Augusto De Angelis was an Italian writer and journalist, active in particular during the Fascist rule in Italy.

Jill Foulston is a former commissioning editor for the Virago Modern Classics. She lives in London and Italy.



Killer Deal by Sofie SarenbrantKiller Deal
Translated from Swedish by Paul Norlén
Published on: May 10, 2016

The morning after an open-house showing in a posh Stockholm suburb, a father is found dead by his six-year-old daughter Astrid. There are no signs of a break-in, and the murder weapon is one of the family’s own kitchen knives. The only hint that someone from the outside might be involved is that Astrid claims a strange man stroked her cheek during the night.

Police Inspector Emma Sköld takes up the case. She suspects that the man’s wife could be the culprit, but when more murders occur tied to open-house showings, her theory is turned on its head. What’s the truth behind the events in the ostensibly idyllic and prosperous residential area? And what is the connection between the victims?
– Stockholm Text

Sofie Sarenbrant has established herself as one of Sweden’s most popular crime fiction authors. She has written six books in the Emma Sköld series. The books have been translated into many languages and sold more than 500.000 copies. Sarenbrant lives with her husband and two daughters in the Stockholm suburb Bromma.

Paul Norlén is a freelance translator and editor. He was awarded the American-Scandinavian Foundation Translation Prize in 2004, and is President of STiNA (Swedish Translators in North America).



luminous spacesLuminous Spaces by Olav Hauge
Translated from Norwegian by Olav Grinde
Published on: May 10, 2016

Luminous Spaces spans seventy years of Olav H. Hauge’s poetry with over three hundred poems, a third of which have never appeared in English. It also includes a generous selection from his four thousand pages of journals, previously unpublished in translation, and an intimate forward by his widow, Bodil Cappelen.
– White Pine Press

Olav Hauge (1908-1994) is one of the major figures of Norwegian poetry. He lived his entire life on a small farm in the fjordland of western Norway. He was the author of seven books of poetry, numerous translations, and several volumes of correspondence.

Olav Grinde is a writer and translator whose works include Night Open: Selected Poems of Rolf Jacobsen. He lives with his wife Shelah, and they divide their time between Boston and Bergen, Norway. He runs small firm that offers professional copywriting and translation, as well as travel writing.


The Queue by Basma Abdel AzizThe Queue
Translated from Arabic by Elisabeth Jaquette
Published in May 2016

In an unnamed Middle Eastern city, a centralized authority known as the Gate has risen to power in the aftermath of the “Disgraceful Events,” a failed popular uprising. Citizens are required to obtain permission from the Gate for even the most basic of their daily affairs, yet the building never opens, and the queue in front of it grows longer and longer.

Citizens from all walks of life wait in the sun: a revolutionary journalist, a sheikh, the brother of a security officer killed in the clashes with protestors, and a man with injuries The Gate would prefer to keep quiet.

Written with dark, subtle intelligence, The Queue describes the sinister nature of authoritarianism, and illuminates the way that absolute authority manipulates information, mobilizes others in service to it, and fails to uphold the rights of even those faithful to it.
– Melville House

Basma Abdel Aziz is an Egyptian writer, psychiatrist, and visual artist. Early on, she earned the nickname ‘the rebel’ for her indefatigable struggle against injustice, torture, and corruption. A weekly columnist for Egypt’s al-Shorouk newspaper, she represents a fresh and necessary female voice in Arabic journalism and fiction. She is the winner of the Sawiris Cultural Award, the General Organisation for Cultural Palaces award, and the Ahmed Bahaa-Eddin Award. She lives in Cairo.

Elisabeth Jaquette is a translator from the Arabic. Her work has been published in the Guardian,Words Without Borders, and Asymptote, among other places. She lived in Cairo from 2007-2013.


Sergio Y.Sergio Y. by Alexandre Vidal Porto
Translated from Portuguese by Alex Ladd
Published on: May 3, 2016

A startling and inspirational work of transgender fiction by a leading figure in Brazil’s “New Urban” fiction movement.

Armando is one of the most renowned therapists in São Paulo. One of his patients, a 17-year-old boy by the name of Sergio, abruptly interrupts his course of therapy after a trip to New York. Sergio’s cursory explanation to Armando is that he has finally found his own path to happiness and must pursue it.

For years, without any further news of Sergio, Armando wonders what happened to his patient. He subsequently learns that Sergio is living a happy life in New York and that he is now a woman, Sandra. Not long after this startling discovery, however, Armando is shocked to read about Sandra’s unexpected death. In an attempt to discover the truth about Sergio and Sandra’s life, Armando starts investigating on his own.

Sergio Y. is a unique and moving story about gender, identity, and the search for happiness.
– Europa Editions

Alexandre Vidal Porto was born in São Paulo. A career diplomat, a Harvard-trained lawyer, and a human rights activist, he writes a regular column for Folha de S. Paulo. His fiction has appeared in some of the most respected literary publications in Brazil and also abroad. Sergio Y. was the winner of the Parana Literary Prize for best novel.

Since 1993, Alex Ladd has worked as a freelance conference interpreter for the United Nations, the U.S Department of State and the U.S. Federal Courts as well as major Fortune 500 companies. He is also a published literary translator, and his translations include the works of playwright Nelson Rodrigues and novelist Alberto Mussa (Winner of Machado de Assis Award, Best Novel, 2011).


Villa Triste by Patrick ModianoVilla Triste
Translated from French by John Cullen
Published on: May 31, 2016

This novel by Nobel Prize–winning author Patrick Modiano is one of the most seductive and accessible in his oeuvre: the story of a man’s memories of fleeing responsibility, finding love, and searching for meaning in an uncertain world.

The narrator of Villa Triste, an anxious, roving, stateless young man of eighteen, arrives in a small French lakeside town near Switzerland in the early 1960s. He is fleeing the atmosphere of menace he feels around him and the fear that grips him. Fear of war? Of imminent catastrophe? Of others? Whatever it may be, the proximity of Switzerland, to which he plans to run at the first sign of danger, gives him temporary reassurance.

The young man hides among the other summer visitors until he meets a beautiful young actress named Yvonne Jacquet, and a strange doctor, René Meinthe. These two invite him into their world of soirees and late-night debauchery. But when real life beckons once again, he finds no sympathy from his new companions.

Modiano has written a haunting novel that captures lost youth, the search for identity, and ultimately, the fleetingness of time.
– Other Press

Patrick Modiano is a French novelist and recipient of the 2014 Nobel Prize in Literature. He previously won the 2012 Austrian State Prize for European Literature, the 2010 Prix mondial Cino Del Duca from the Institut de France for lifetime achievement, the 1978 Prix Goncourt for Rue des boutiques obscures, and the 1972 Grand Prix du roman de l’Académie française for Les Boulevards de ceinture. His works have been translated into more than forty languages.

John Cullen is the translator of many books from French, Spanish, German, and Italian, including Yasmina Khadra’s Middle East Trilogy (The Swallows of Kabul, The Attack, and The Sirens of Baghdad), Kamel Daoud’s The Meursault Investigation, Yasmina Reza’s Happy Are the Happy, and Chantal Thomas’s The Exchange of Princesses. He lives in upstate New York.


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 May 2016: What’s New in Translation!

  1. Melissa Beck says:

    What a great list! Thanks so much for posting this!

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