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First Read

fishermen sitting on a pier with boats behind them
Dmitry Makeev, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Sky of the Lost Moon
By Ty Chi Huot
A young Laotian man released from prison in Phnom Penh finds refuge with a Cambodian fisherman’s family and falls in love with their daughter.
Translated from Khmer by Rinith Taing
two rows of people playing pachinko
Tischbeinahe, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
The Pachinko Parlor
By Elisa Shua Dusapin
In this excerpt of Elisa Shua Dusapin’s new novel, a young woman tries to plan a trip to Korea with her grandparents, neither of whom has returned to their native country since fleeing the Korean War.
Translated from French by Aneesa Abbas Higgins
Map of German East Africa
Unknown author, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
German Medicine
By Abdulrazak Gurnah
Her mother was dead, she knew that, but she did not know why her aunt and her uncle were the ones who took her in.
A cobblestone street in Rwanda at sunset with a few pedestrians and motorcycle riders
Photo by Michael Muli on Unsplash
No Familiar Faces
By Beata Umubyeyi Mairesse
I had the look of a Westerner fresh off the boat, with my wrinkled trousers, tourist backpack, and it didn’t tally with my fluency in Kinyarwanda.
Translated from French by Alison Anderson
Late evening view on a bridge leading to Dutch countryside houses
Photo by Daria Nepriakhina on Unsplash
Welcome to the Real Holland
By Rodaan Al Galidi
When they chucked me out in the middle of the goddamn winter, you gave me your coat and seven euros.
Translated from Dutch by Jonathan Reeder
Palm trees along the shoreline in Huahine, Tahiti
Matthew Dillon from Hollywood, CA, USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Two Birthdays
By Titaua Peu
For weeks, Ma didn’t feel a shred of warmth for the baby.
Translated from French by Jeffrey Zuckerman
Tarot cards from the Rider Waite Tarot deck
Photo by Viva Luna Studios on Unsplash
The Presentiment
By Emiliano Monge
I like to imagine that, in this defining moment, as my grandfather struggled with the dead man’s sinews, he was able to calm his rage for a moment and laugh.
Translated from Spanish by Frank Wynne
Tropical forest in Guadeloupe
Photo by Tim Oun on Unsplash.
Where Dogs Bark with Their Tails
By Estelle-Sarah Bulle
As they drew nearer, knives in hand, Hilaire recognized the feverish eyes behind their scarves.
Translated from French by Julia Grawemeyer
A sprig of berries in shadow
Photo by Dmitry Bukhantsov
A Little Hole
By Alhierd Bacharevič
They stuffed these intoxicating little spheres into their mouths and kissed the juice off of the palms of their hands.
Translated from Belarusian by Jim Dingley & Petra Reid
A Landscape of Claws
By Mónica Ojeda
That’s how it felt to sleep handcuffed to a table.
Translated from Spanish by Sarah Booker
The Tofu-Maker
By Shen Fuyu
Around the time we were in second grade, Buckethead and I beat a snake to death.
Translated from Chinese by Jeremy Tiang
A Seriously Shitty Quirk of Fate
By Paulo Scott
I felt uncomfortable being who I was, raised on the idea of being from a Black family.
Translated from Portuguese by Daniel Hahn
By Miguelángel Meza
Miguelángel Meza's poetry chapbook, Dream Pattering Soles, was published this month by Ugly Duckling Presse in Elisa Taber's translation. A leading Guaraní poet, Meza was…
Translated by Elisa Taber
Little Check Marks on Our Names
By Saša Stanišiç
Winner of the German Book Prize, Saša Stanišić's Where You Come From will be out from Tin House next week. Translated by Damion Searls, this autofictional work explores…
Translated by Damion Searls
An Evening of Sugar-Eating
By Lee Young-ju
Next week, Black Ocean will release Lee Young-ju's poetry collection Cold Candies, translated from Korean by Jae Kim. The collection includes “Roommate, Woman,” one of the winners…
Translated by Jae Kim
Portrait of a Libyan Scream
By Najwa Bin Shatwan
Later this month, UEA Publishing Project will release Mo(a)t: Stories from Arabic, an anthology of short fiction by Arabophone writers from the African diaspora, edited by Garen Torikian and…
Translated by Sawad Hussain
The Spectator Sentenced to Death
By Matéi Visniec
Edited and translated by Jozefina Komporaly, Plays from Romania: Dramaturgies of Subversion is out today from Methuen Drama, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing. This unique transnational anthology…
Translated by Jozefina Komporaly
What Does Victory Look Like If Not This?
By Petra Hůlová
Petra Hůlová's dystopian novel The Movement, translated from Czech by Alex Zucker, is available now from World Editions. The novel follows the narrator, a prison guard at…
Translated by Alex Zucker
A Long Way from Douala
By Max Lobe
Max Lobe's novel A Long Way from Douala, translated by Ros Schwartz, is out next month from Other Press. The novel follows the narrator, Jean, and his friend Simon, as they search for…
Translated by Ros Schwartz
Two Poems
By Fiston Mwanza Mujila
The River in the Belly, the second collection by award-winning poet Fiston Mwanza Mujila to appear in English, will be published by Deep Vellum next week in J. Bret Maney's translation.…
Translated by J. Bret Maney
A Treasure Chest of Goodbyes
By Nataliya Deleva
Nataliya Deleva's debut novel, Four Minutes, translated from Bulgarian by Izidora Angel, is out tomorrow from Open Letter. The book focuses on characters whose voices are often marginalized in…
Translated by Izidora Angel
The Interrogation
By Hwang Sok-Yong
In the 1990s, writer and Korean reunification activist Hwang Sok-yong spent five years in prison for visiting North Korea in violation of South Korea’s National Security Act. In his memoir The…
Translated by Anton Hur & Sora Kim-Russell
The Book That Launched Japan’s #MeToo Movement
By Shiori Ito
Originally published in 2017, Black Box, journalist Shiori Ito's memoir about her experience of sexual assault and her struggle to bring her attacker to justice, prompted a reckoning over gender-based…
Translated by Allison Markin Powell
Where the Infinite Unfolds
By Dulce Maria Cardoso
Dulce Maria Cardoso's Violeta among the Stars, translated from Portuguese by Ángel Gurría-Quintana, is out this week from MacLehose Press. Cardoso's lyrical, stream-of-consciousness…
Translated by Ángel Gurría-Quintana
The Membranes
By Chi Ta-wei
Ari Larissa Heinrich's translation of Chi Ta-wei's The Membranes, a classic of queer speculative fiction originally published in Taiwan in 1995, is out this week from Columbia University…
Translated by Ari Larissa Heinrich
By Bhuwaneshwar
This week, Seagull Books publishes Wolves, a collection of short stories by Bhuwaneshwar (1910–57), who is often described as the father of the modern Hindi short story. Translated…
Translated by Saudamini Deo
Family Rules
By Anke Stelling
Anke Stelling's award-winning novel Higher Ground, translated from German by Lucy Jones, is out tomorrow from Scribe. An examination of class, friendship, and parenthood in contemporary…
Translated by Lucy Jones
My First and Only Love
By Sahar Khalifeh
The most recent novel by Palestinian writer Sahar Khalifeh, My First and Only Love, is out this week from Hoopoe. The book follows the protagonist, Nidal, as she returns to her family home in Nablus…
Translated by Aida Bamia
Connection Fever
By Polly Barton
Fifty Sounds, Polly Barton’s memoir of moving to Japan, immersing herself in the language, and becoming a literary translator, is out tomorrow from Fitzcarraldo Editions. In the excerpt…
Dog Rose in the Wind, the Rain, the Earth
By Farkhondeh Aghaei
Today, Two Lines Press releases Elemental: Earth Stories, the third title in its Calico series. The collection features writing by eight international authors whose work explores humanity's…
Translated by Michelle Quay
The Mercedes
By Bekim Sejranović
Bekim Sejranović's From Nowhere to Nowhere, a novel about a young man displaced by the Yugoslav Wars of the 1990s, is out tomorrow from Sandorf Passage in Will Firth's translation.…
Translated by Will Firth
The Guest
By György Dragomán
György Dragomán's The Bone Fire, a Gothic novel about an orphan who's adopted by her mysterious grandmother, is out this week with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. In the excerpt…
Translated by Ottilie Mulzet
An Adventure Worthy of an Author
By Li Juan
In her travel memoir Winter Pasture, out next week with Astra House, writer Li Juan chronicles the winter she spent with a family of Kazakh herders in a remote region of northern China.…
Translated by Jack Hargreaves & Yan Yan
Slash and Burn
By Claudia Hernández
Salvadoran author Claudia Hernández's first novel, Slash and Burn, is out this week with And Other Stories. Translated by Julia Sanches, the book follows several women through…
Translated by Julia Sanches
Peach Blossom Paradise
By Ge Fei
Peach Blossom Paradise, the first book in Ge Fei's Jiangnan Trilogy, will be published next week by NYRB Classics in Canaan Morse's translation. The novel tells the story of Xiumi, a…
Translated by Canaan Morse
An Archipelago in a Landlocked Country
By Elisa Taber
Elisa Taber's An Archipelago in a Landlocked Country is out today with 11:11 Press. A lyric ethnography of two Paraguayan populations—a Mennonite colony and a Nivaklé settlement—the…
A Pre-Columbian Bestiary: Tepeyólotl
By Ilan Stavans
In A Pre-Columbian Bestiary: Fantastic Creatures of Indigenous Latin America, Ilan Stavans collaborates with illustrator Eko to tell the stories of religious and mythical creatures from…
New Ways of Saying “We”
By Jenny Hval
Girls Against God, the latest novel from Norwegian writer and musician Jenny Hval, came out earlier this month with Verso Books. Translated by Marjam Idriss, the novel blends experimental horror,…
Translated by Marjam Idriss
What Happens When We Sleep?
By Haytham El Wardany
Egyptian writer Haytham El Wardany's The Book of Sleep, translated from Arabic by Robin Moger, is out today with Seagull Books. Throughout the book, and in the four fragments below, El Wardany…
Translated by Robin Moger
By Selva Almada
After the successful English-language publication of her debut novel The Wind That Lays Waste, Argentinian author Selva Almada returns with Dead Girls, a journalistic novel centered…
Translated by Annie McDermott
Discovering Murakami
By David Karashima
In his Who We’re Reading When We’re Reading Murakami, David Karashima synthesizes research, correspondence, and interviews with dozens of individuals—including Murakami himself—to…
Birds in Formation
By Nguyen Ngoc Tu
Other Moons: Vietnamese Short Stories of the American War and Its Aftermath, translated and edited by Quan Manh Ha and Joseph Babcock, is out this week from Columbia University Press. In the story…
Translated by Quan Manh Ha & Joseph Babcock
“An Immigrant Like an Automobile”
By Malgorzata Szejnert
From preeminent Polish journalist Malgorzata Szejnert, Ellis Island: A People's History, translated by Sean Gasper Bye and out next week with Scribe Publications, pieces together a portrait of…
Translated by Sean Gasper Bye
First Read—From “No Presents Please”
By Jayant Kaikini
The first translated book to win the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature, Jayant Kaikini's No Presents Please, translated from Kannada by Tejaswini Niranjana and out next week with Catapult,…
Translated by Tejaswini Niranjana
First Read: From “Breathing Through the Wound”
By Víctor del Árbol
In Víctor del Árbol's novel Breathing Through the Wound, translated by Lisa Dillman and out this week with Other Press, an artist accepts an unusual commission…
Translated by Lisa M. Dillman
First Read—from “Songs We Learn from Trees”
By Misrak Terefe
Songs We Learn from Trees, an anthology of Amharic poetry edited and translated by Chris Beckett and Alemu Tebeje, is forthcoming this week from Carcanet Press. Today's First Read spotlights…
Translated by Chris Beckett & Yemisrach Tassew
First Read—From “Cockfight” by María Fernanda Ampuero
By María Fernanda Ampuero
María Fernanda Ampuero's debut story collection, Cockfight, translated by Frances Riddle and out next week from the Feminist Press, exposes the violence and cruelty underlying domestic…
Translated by Frances Riddle
First Read—From “Roxy”
By Esther Gerritsen
In Esther Gerritsen's Roxy, translated by Michele Hutchison and out this week with World Editions, a young woman named Roxy struggles to move on after her husband is killed in a car crash along…
Translated by Michele Hutchison
First Read—From “Second Sister”
By Chan Ho-Kei
In Chan Ho-Kei's Second Sister, translated by Jeremy Tiang and out next week with Grove Atlantic, a young woman named Nga-Yee tries to uncover the motives behind her sister's suicide. In the excerpt…
Translated by Jeremy Tiang
First Read—From “The Sweet Indifference of the World”
By Peter Stamm
In Peter Stamm’s The Sweet Indifference of the World, translated by Michael Hofmann and out next week with Other Press, a writer blurs the line between past and present, fiction and reality, in…
Translated by Michael Hofmann
First Read—From “Come to Me”
By Bogdan Rusev
Bogdan Rusev’s Come to Me, translated by Ekaterina Petrova and out next week with Dalkey Archive Press, is a story of coming-of-age in 1990s Bulgaria in the wake of the Soviet Bloc’s collapse…
Translated by Ekaterina Petrova
First Read—From “Return to the Enchanted Island”
By Johary Ravaloson
In Johary Ravaloson’s Return to the Enchanted Island, translated by Allison M. Charette and out tomorrow with Amazon Crossing, Ietsy Razak comes of age amidst the enchanted origin myths of Madagascar.…
Translated by Allison M. Charette
First Read—from “Celestial Bodies”
By Jokha Alharthi
Jokha Alharthi’s Man Booker International Prize–winning Celestial Bodies, translated from Arabic by Marilyn Booth and out this month with Catapult, follows the stories of three sisters—Mayya,…
Translated by Marilyn Booth
First Read—from “The Collector of Leftover Souls”
By Eliane Brum
Eliane Brum’s The Collector of Leftover Souls: Field Notes on Brazil’s Everyday Insurrections, translated by Diane Grosklaus Whitty and forthcoming with Graywolf Press, features…
Translated by Diane Grosklaus Whitty
First Read—From “History. A Mess.”
By Sigrún Pálsdóttir
In Sigrún Pálsdóttir’s History. A Mess., translated by Lytton Smith and forthcoming from Open Letter Books, a PhD student uncovers information about the first documented professional…
Translated by Lytton Smith
First Read—From “Among the Lost”
By Emiliano Monge
The following is excerpted from Emiliano Monge’s Among the Lost (translated by Frank Wynne), winner of the 2016 English PEN Award and out tomorrow from Scribe US. Set in an unnamed land that could…
Translated by Frank Wynne
First Read—“Knowingly Willingly,” from “A New Divan”
By Gonca Özmen
Gonca Özmen’s poem “Knowingly Willingly” is excerpted from A New Divan: A Lyrical Dialogue between East & West. Jo Shapcott’s English version is…
Translated by Jo Shapcott
First Read—From “Curl”
By T.O. Bobe
T.O. Bobe’s Curl, translated by Sean Cotter and forthcoming with Wakefield Press, features Mr. Gică, the world’s greatest barber, and the colorful cast of characters who frequent his…
Translated by Sean Cotter
First Read—From “Camouflage”
By Lupe Gómez
In Camouflage, excerpted below, Galician poet Lupe Gómez explores her mother and her mother tongue, and her land and its changes. The collection is out today with Circumference Books, with English…
Translated by Erín Moure
First Read—From “The White Book”
By Han Kang
The following excerpt is from Han Kang’s The White Book, translated by Deborah Smith and out this week from Hogarth. Shortlisted for the 2018 Man Booker International Prize, The White Book…
Translated by Deborah Smith