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First Read

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
First Read: From “Incomprehensible Lesson”
By Fawzi Karim
The poems below are excerpted from Fawzi Karim’s Incomprehensible Lesson. Translated by Anthony Howell (working from the author’s own versions) and forthcoming with Carcanet Press, the collection…
Translated by Anthony Howell
First Read—From “Away! Away!”
By Jana Beňová
The following excerpt is from Jana Beňová’s Away! Away!, translated by Janet Livingstone and out tomorrow from Two Dollar Radio. With Beňová’s signature…
Translated by Janet Livingstone
A hospital corridor lined with beds
Photo by Ante Samarzija on Unsplash
First Read—From “Stone Dreams”
By Akram Aylisli
“But there’s no one who doesn’t know Sadai Sadygly. You see, no one else in the world has played Hamlet, Othello, Aidyn, and Kefli Iskender like he has.”
Translated from Russian by Katherine E. Young
First Read—From “Anniversaries: From a Year in the Life of Gesine Cresspahl”
By Uwe Johnson
The following is excerpted from Uwe Johnson’s Anniversaries: From a Year in the Life of Gesine Cresspahl, translated from the German by Damion Searls and forthcoming with New York Review Books.…
Translated by Damion Searls
First Read—From “What We Owe”
By Golnaz Hashemzadeh Bonde
In Golnaz Hashemzadeh Bonde’s What We Owe, translated from the Swedish by Elizabeth Jane Clark Wessel and forthcoming with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, a fifty-year-old Iranian refugee living…
Translated by Elizabeth Jane Clark Wessel
First Read—From “Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead”
By Olga Tokarczuk
The following excerpt is from Olga Tokarczuk’s Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead, translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones and out now with Fitzcarraldo Editions. In her mid-sixties, Janina…
Translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones
From “Pretty Things”
By Virginie Despentes
In Virginie Despentes’s Pretty Things, translated from the French by Emma Ramadan and forthcoming from the Feminist Press, twins Claudine and Pauline hatch a plan to create the “perfect woman,”…
Translated by Emma Ramadan
First Read—From “Poso Wells”
By Gabriela Alemán
In Gabriela Alemán’s Poso Wells, translated from the Spanish by Dick Cluster and forthcoming with City Lights Publishers, a journalist explores the disappearance of a leading presidential…
Translated by Dick Cluster
First Read—From “The Hospital”
By Ahmed Bouanani
Ahmed Bouanani’s The Hospital, translated from the French by Lara Vergnaud, is forthcoming from New Directions. Based on the author’s own experiences as a tuberculosis patient, the novel depicts…
Translated by Lara Vergnaud
First Read—From “The Baghdad Clock”
By Shahad Al Rawi
In Shahad Al Rawi’s The Baghdad Clock, translated by Luke Leafgren and forthcoming from Oneworld Publications, two girls hiding in an air-raid shelter in Baghdad during the Gulf War tell stories…
Translated by Luke Leafgren
First Read—From “Lion Cross Point”
By Masatsugu Ono
Masatsugu Ono’s Lion Cross Point, translated by Angus Turvill, is forthcoming from Two Lines Press. The novel follows ten-year-old Takeru, who arrives at his family’s home village amid a scorching…
Translated by Angus Turvill
First Read—From “Querido Pablito / Julissimo Querido: Selected Correspondence, 1950–1971”
By Paul Blackburn and Julio Cortázar
Edited and Translated by Ammiel Alcalay, Jacqueline Cornetta, Alison Macomber, and Alexander SoriaThe following is excerpted from Querido Pablito / Julissimo Querido: Selected Correspondence, 1950–1971,…
First Read—From “The Endless Summer”
By Madame Nielsen
Madame Nielsen’s The Endless Summer is a passionate love story about a Danish woman and a much younger Portuguese artist. Translated from the Danish by Gaye Kynoch and forthcoming from Open Letter…
Translated by Gaye Kynoch
First Read—From “Transit Comet Eclipse”
By Muharem Bazdulj
The following is excerpted from the opening of Muharem Bazdulj’s Transit Comet Eclipse, three subtly linked novellas that take the reader across several centuries of Yugoslav history. Translated…
Translated by Nataša Milas
First Read—From “Chintungo: The Story of Someone Else”
By Soledad Marambio
The following poems are excerpted from Soledad Marambio’s Chintungo: The Story of Someone Else, translated by K.T. Billey and recently published in a bilingual edition by Ugly…
Translated by K.T. Billey
First Read—From “Translation as Transhumance”
By Mireille Gansel
The following is excerpted from Translation as Transhumance, Mireille Gansel’s humanist meditation on translation, translated into English by Ros Schwartz and forthcoming from the Feminist…
Translated by Ros Schwartz
First Read—From “Old Demons, New Deities”
By Pema Tsewang Shastri
The following story appears in Old Demons, New Deities, a collection of twenty-one short stories from Tibet, edited by Tenzin Dickie and forthcoming from OR Books.The Flight of the Wind…
Translated by Tenzin Dickie & Pema Tsewang Shastri
First Read—From “Swallowing Mercury”
By Wioletta Greg
In Wioletta Greg’s Swallowing Mercury, translated by Eliza Marciniak and out now from Transit Books, Wiola looks back on her youth in a close-knit, agricultural community in 1980s Poland. Swallowing…
Translated by Eliza Marciniak
First Read—From “Croatian War Nocturnal”
By Spomenka Štimec
Spomenka Štimec’s Croatian War Nocturnal, translated from the Esperanto by Sebastian Schulman and published by Phoneme Media, is a fictionalized memoir of the wars in former Yugoslavia…
Translated by Sebastian Schulman
First Read—From “I Hear Your Voice”
By Young-ha Kim
In Young-ha Kim’s I Hear Your Voice, translated by Krys Lee and published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, the narrator, Donggyu, and his friend Jae grow up on the streets of Seoul and seek friendship,…
Translated by Krys Lee
First Read—From “Adua”
By Igiaba Scego
Igiaba Scego’s Adua, translated by Jamie Richards, is out now from New Vessel Press. Adua emigrates from Somalia to Italy to escape an oppressive regime, and dreams of becoming a film star. After…
Translated by Jamie Richards
First Read—From “Rhapsody in Quebec” by Akos Verboczy
By Akos Verboczy
Casey Roberts’s translation of Akos Verboczy’s Rhapsody in Quebec, On the Path of an Immigrant Child was recently published by Baraka Books. “The Dreams of My Mother” is one of…
Translated by Casey Roberts
First Read—From “Literature Class”
By Julio Cortázar
Julio Cortázar’s Literature Class, from the lectures the Argentine writer delivered at UC Berkeley in 1980, will be published by New Directions on March 28, edited by Carles Álvarez…
Translated by Katherine Silver
First Read—From “Camanchaca” by Diego Zúñiga
By Diego Zúñiga
Diego Zúñiga’s Camanchaca, translated by Megan McDowell and out March 7 from Coffee House Press, follows a young man on a long, near-silent drive with his father across Chile’s…
Translated by Megan McDowell
First Read—From “The Gringo Champion” by Aura Xilonen
By Aura Xilonen and Andrea Rosenberg
And to think I swore I’d stay out of trouble on this side of the world.
First Read—From “The Tongue of Adam” by Abdelfattah Kilito
By Abdelfattah Kilito
How, from Babel onward, can we explain the plurality of language? In The Tongue of Adam, translated from the French by Robyn Creswell and forthcoming from New Directions, Moroccan writer Abdelfattah Kilito…
Translated by Robyn Creswell
First Read: From “Landing”
By Laia Fàbregas & Samantha Schnee
Image: From the cover of Landing (Hispabooks).Landing, by Laia Fàbregas and translated by Samantha Schnee, is forthcoming from Hispabooks (September, 13, 2016).He died while we were landing.During…
First Read: From “Instructions Within” by Ashraf Fayadh
By Mona Kareem & The Operating System
Image: Cropping of the cover of Instructions Within by Ashraf Fayadh (The Operating System, 2016).The following poems, translated from the Arabic by Mona Kareem, are excerpted from Ashraf…
First Read: From “Istanbul Istanbul”
By Burhan Sönmez & Ümit Hussein
Image: From the cover of Istanbul Istanbul (OR Books)Istanbul Istanbul, by Burhan Sönmez and translated by Ümit Hussein, is forthcoming from OR Books. Burhan Sönmez…
First Read: “Performing Writers”
By Alek Popov & Angela Rodel
For Rob ListIn the story I am about to tell, three Bulgarian writers have been invited to a literary reading in a small English city with notable architecture and an unpronounceable name that begins with…