Last week, I attempted to introduce the books I’d be reading in the near future, only to realise that one post wouldn’t even get me beyond my Japanese and Korean selections. That’s why, after seven days to recover, I’ve knocked up a second post with a few books from the rest of the world that I might (‘might’ being the operative word here) be trying at some point soon. I wonder if any of these would be of interest to anyone out there…
First up, there are a few more review copies I didn’t manage to get to last time around. I actually flicked through Domenico Starnone’s Ties (translated by Jhumpa Lahiri: published by Europa Editions) just before the MBIP chaos started, but I wasn’t really in a position to give it much thought at the time, so I’ll be rereading it soon for review, particularly given its relationship to Elena Ferrante’s The Days of Abandonment (and the rumours of the links between the two writers…). Another book I received just before the Booker longlist announcement is Muhsin Al-Ramli’s The President’s Gardens (tr. Luke Leafgren: MacLehose Press), and while I don’t tend to read a lot of fiction from the Arabic, I’m hoping to find time for this Iraqi novel about the reasons for a good man’s death.
Europa and MacLehose have provided a lot of my reading over the past few years, but they aren’t the only publishers whose work I’ve enjoyed before to have sent me books recently. Small Stations Press is a publisher specialising in Spanish and Galician works, and a while back I received two more of their offerings: Manuel Rivas’ short novel The Potato Eaters (tr. Jonathan Dunne) and a bilingual edition of Anna María Matute’s collection of mini-stories, The Foolish Children (tr. María del Carmen Luengo Santaló & Aileen Dever). A little further ahead, I’ll also be looking at the latest addition to the QC Fiction stable, Pierre-Luc Landry’s Listening for Jupiter (tr. Arielle Aaronson & Madeleine Stratford). This is a book I read a couple of months ago, and enjoyed immensely, but I’ll be taking another look at Landry’s intriguing two-viewpoint work for a review to be posted when the book is released in June.
Of course, there are always a lot of my own books hanging around demanding to be read, and that’s especially true for my French- and German-language shelves. Recent German-language purchases include Eugen Ruge’s novel Cabo de Gata, bought after a recent reread of his excellent In Zeiten des abnehmenden Lichts (AKA In Times of Fading Light), and another addition to my Sebald library, Die Beschreibung des Unglücks. This one, of which the title translates to something like The Description of Unhappiness, is a collection of writings on Austrian literature (obviously cheery stuff), but I don’t think it’s been brought into English yet.
In terms of French-language reading, there are a couple of books I’ve had my eye on for a while. First up is L’Africain du Groenland (An African in Greenland), Togolese writer Tété-Michel Kpomassie’s story of his fascination with Greenland and his desire to move there and become a hunter (I suspect this one will show a very different side to Greenland than that portrayed on my last visit…). The second choice is slightly more traditional fare: La Prisonnière (The Prisoner) is the fifth part of Marcel Proust’s À la recherche du temps perdu (In Search of Lost Time), and my copy should be arriving very soon 🙂
That’s not all, though. As you may know, I’ve read the majority of Peirene Press’ releases (some in the Peirene version, some in the original), but there were a few gaps in my collection. However, I now have copies of Linda Stift’s Stierhunger (The Empress and the Cake), Kamal Ben Hameda’s La compagnie des Tripolitaines (Under This Tripoli Sky) and Ricarda Huch’s Der letzte Sommer (The Last Summer), so I should be up to date at some point – but probably not before the next one, Larry Tremblay’s The Orange Grove (tr. Sheila Fischman) comes out. And that’s ignoring the first two books in the Peirene Now! series of topical writing, Olumide Popoola and Annie Holmes’s breach and Anthony Cartwright’s The Cut (out in June)…
At which point, I just have to throw my hands up and admit defeat. There’s no way I’ll ever actually be able to read all the books I have waiting on my shelves. And the worst part is that I’m fairly sure that more are on their way. I suppose I should start making some space in my bookcases…