Best in Translation 2018

December 14, 2018

Each passing year it becomes increasingly evident that it is of the utmost importance to read literature in translation. In 2018, we've launched the Reading Across Borders Book Club, hosted by former staffer Helen Chau Bradley—which focuses on literature in English translation, with a particular interest in writers who are not (yet) well-known in the English-speaking world—and have stocked more translated works than ever before. This year saw published the first ever translation of The Odyssey to English by a woman, as well as several seismic English-language debuts from international masters. We are looking forward to fostering the growth of such a rich polyphony in the new year, but as we come to the end of 2018, it is time to reflect upon a handful of standouts from the past twelve months. 

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Shit Is Real

Aisha Franz

A broken-hearted woman drifts into depression as she occupies her traveling neighbor's apartment After an unexpected breakup, a young woman named Selma experiences...

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Yellow Negroes and Other Imaginary Creatures

Yvan Alagbé

A timely collection of work about race and immigration in Paris by one of France's most revered cult comic book artists.Yvan Alagbé is one...

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History of Violence

Edouard Louis

History of Violence is international bestselling French author Edouard Louis’s autobiographical novel about surviving a shocking sexual assault and coping with the post-traumatic stress...

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The Odyssey


Composed at the rosy-fingered dawn of world literature almost three millennia ago, The Odyssey is a poem about violence and the aftermath of war;...

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Dernières lettres de Montmartre

Qiu Miaojin

Les Dernières lettres de Montmartre déploient, à travers une série de missives écrites par une narratrice sans nom, les tours et détours d’une relation...

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The White Book

Han Kang

From the winner of the Man Booker International Prize for The Vegetarian comes a stunning meditation on the colour white; about light, about death...

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The Beekeeper

Dunya Mikhail

Since 2014, Daesh (ISIS) has been brutalizing the Yazidi people of northern Iraq: sowing destruction, killing those who won't convert to Islam, and enslaving...

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Paradise Rot

Jenny Hval

A lyrical debut novel from a musician and artist renowned for her sharp sexual and political imageryJo is in a strange new country for...

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Parallel Lives

Olivier Schrauwen

This collects six wildly inventive short comics stories that might collectively be dubbed “speculative memoir.” Schrauwen’s deadpan depictions of his and his offspring's upcoming...

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The Chandelier

Clarice Lispector

Fresh from the enormous success of her debut novel Near to the Wild Heart, Hurricane Clarice let loose something stormier with The Chandelier ....

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Olga Tokarczuk

WINNER OF THE MAN BOOKER INTERNATIONAL PRIZEAS FEATURED IN THE NEW YORK TIMESA visionary work of fiction by "A writer on the level of...

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Fruit Of Knowledge

Liv Strömquist

From Adam and Eve to pussy hats, people have punished, praised, pathologized, and politicized vulvas, vaginas, clitorises, and menstruation. In this graphic nonfiction book,...

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The Shutters

Ahmed Bouanani

The Shutters collects the two most important poetry collections—"The Shutters" and "Photograms"—by the legendary Moroccan writer Ahmed Bouanani. By intertwining myth and tradition with...

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Les Bleed

Dimitri Nasrallah

Thriller politique par l’auteur de Niko, chute libre dans les coulisses de la dictature de la famille Bleed, arrivée à la fin de son règne.À Mahbad,...

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I Didn't Talk

Beatriz Bracher

A professor prepares to retire - Gustavo is set to move from Sao Paulo to the countryside, but it isn't the urban violence he's...

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Cartographie de l'amour décolonial

Leanne Betasamosake Simpson

Dans Cartographie de l’amour décolonial, l’écrivaine et militante autochtone Leanne Betasamosake Simpson explore l’existence actuelle des peuples et collectivités autochtones, en particulier celle de...

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The Arab of the Future 3

Riad Sattouf

In the third installment of the acclaimed series, the Sattouf family begins to implode under the pressure of Hafez al-Assad's regime andthe suffocation of...

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The Emissary

Yoko Tawada

Japan, after suffering from a massive irreparable disaster, cuts itself off from the world. Children are so weak they can barely stand or walk:...

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Autobiography of Death

Kim Hyesoon

The title section of Kim Hyesoon’s powerful new book,Autobiography of Death, consists of forty-nine poems, each poem representing a single day during which the...

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Geography of Rebels Trilogy

Maria Gabriela Llansol

“If anyone might be profitably compared to Clarice Lispector, it might well be Maria Gabriela Llansol. This is because of the fundamentally mystical impulse...

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The Strange

Jerome Ruillier

The story of one undocumented immigrant's journey, told by the people who employ him, feed him, and report on him The Strange follows an...

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Moi, ce que j'aime, c'est les monstres

Emil Ferris

Chicago, fin des années 1960. Karen Reyes, dix ans, admire les fantômes, les vampires et autres morts-vivants. Elle s’imagine même être un loup-garou : plus...

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Little Reunions

Eileen Chang

A best-selling, autobiographical depiction of class privilege, bad romance, and political intrigue during World War II in China.Now available in English for the first...

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And, as a special treat, two wonderful books on translation.

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Revenge of the Translator

Brice Matthieussent

The work of a masterful novelist and translator collide in this visionary and hilarious debut from acclaimed French writer Brice Matthieussent.Revenge of the Translator...

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This Little Art

Kate Briggs

An essay with the reach and momentum of a novel, Kate Briggs’sThis Little Art is a genre-bending song for the practice of literary translation,...

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