This year, Pride Month comes at a momentous and grief-stricken time. As queer communities around the world take to the streets in the fight for racial justice, many are also working to raise awareness of the full spectrum of queer experience, including its intersections with race, class, culture, and more.
We asked eight indie presses to help us spotlight queer books in translation from all over the world. The resulting list features work from Equatorial Guinea to Peru to Denmark on working-class life, memory, motherhood, and more. We’ve included links to Bookshop.org, an online bookstore with a mission to financially support local, independent bookstores. If you can, we hope you'll purchase a book or two to help support authors, translators, and the independent publishing sector in this time of financial uncertainty.
From the daring Peruvian essayist and provocateur behind Sexographies comes a fierce and funny exploration of pregnancy that questions the dogmas, upends the stereotypes, and embraces all the terror and beauty—and queer possibilities—of motherhood.
Recommendation: Who Killed My Father by Édouard Louis, translated from French by Lorin Stein
“A brief, poetic telling of the myriad ways societal contempt, homophobia, and poverty can kill a man. Louis serves as both raconteur and son, expressing deep and considered empathy for a man whose absence looms large.” —NPR
“Obono's voice is assured and vital, and her tale of queer rebellion in Fang society is an exceptional take on the coming-of-age novel.” —Publishers Weekly
Salacious, literary, and introspective, Cardoso’s masterpiece marked a turning away from the social realism fashionable in 1930s Brazilian literature and had a huge impact on the writing of Cardoso’s lifelong friend and greatest admirer: Clarice Lispector.
A finalist for the Booker International Prize, whose judges had this to say: “Rijneveld’s language renders the world anew, revealing the shocks and violence of early youth through the prism of a Dutch dairy farm.”
Recommendation: The Skin Is the Elastic Covering that Encases the Entire Body by Bjørn Rasmussen, translated from Danish by Martin Aitken
“A feverish combination of stream of conscious, autobiography, collage, and narrative, The Skin marks the arrival of a truly original literary voice. Reminiscent of Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts, it is as omnivorous as the bodies within it, as unrestrained as the appetites, terrors, and trysts that celebrated author Bjørn Rasmussen evokes in poetic detail.” —Entropy, Best Fiction of 2019
Recommendation: The Tree and the Vine by Dola De Jong, translated from Dutch by Kristen Gehrman
“Bea’s inability to face, let alone name, her true sexual desires drives this spare, elegant, and ultimately haunting novel . . . Gehrman’s beautiful new translation returns the book to the spotlight where it belongs . . . a jewel hidden in plain sight.”—Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review
An intimate, sensuous exploration of memory and desire, delving into loves and lusts past, by award-winning Oulipo member Anne Garréta.
Looking for more recent books in translation? Check out the following reading lists:
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