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Highlighting forgotten, neglected, abandoned, forsaken, unrecognized, unacknowledged, overshadowed, out-of-fashion, under-translated writers. Has no one read your books? You are in good company.

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WNOR 2013 Book Preview

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These writers are famous in some part of the internet or the world. Some may be famous in your own family or in your own mind.

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When we posted our first half book preview in January, we promised to return in July with a second installment. Although we missed that deadline by just a little (cough, cough), we have returned with an epic Fall Book Preview. As previously stated, our tastes dictated the list and we make no claims to comprehensiveness, thoroughness, or even good taste.

Enjoy! — Eds.

August

  • Joshua Comaroff & Ong Ker-Shing, Horror in Architecture (Oro Editions). Title says it all, doesn’t it?
  • Jason Schwartz, John the Posthumous (OR Books). One of the most unusual pieces of fiction published this year. Best start here.
  • Ahmad Faris al-Shidyaq (trans. Humphrey Davies), Leg Over Leg volumes 1&2 (NYU Press). A previously untranslated classic of Arabic literature by a writer compared to Rabelais and Sterne.

September

  • Georges Perec & the Oulipo (trans. Monk, Mathews and Sturrock), Winter Journeys (Atlas). A short story about an imaginary book spawns twenty successive stories. Ladies and gentlemen, the Oulipo!
  • Keith Ridgway, Hawthorn and Child (New Directions). This mind-boggling play on the mystery novel starts with a guy getting shot by a ghost car—the car, not someone in it—and gets weirder by degrees.
  • Léon Genonceaux (trans. Iain White), The Tutu (Atlas). The “strangest novel of the 19th century,” according to Marc Lowenthal.
  • Mary Ruefle, Trances of the Blast (Wave). Ruefle’s first collection of poetry since her wonderful Madness, Rack and Honey.
  • Sherry Simon, ed., In Translation - Honouring Sheila Fischman (McGill-Queen’s University Press). A festschrift for Canada’s prolific literary translator. Contributions by: Alberto Manguel, (the late) Michael Henry Heim, and other literati.
  • Jeff Jackson, Mira Corpora (Two Dollar Radio). A coming-of-age tale for those who came to age with David Lynch.
  • Travis Jeppesen, The Suiciders (Semiotext(e)). Kind of like Mira Corpora, but with more self-mutilation and parrots. Read an excerpt at 3:AM Magazine.
  • Robert Walser (trans. Damion Searls), A Schoolboy’s Diary and Other Stories (NYRB Classics). Fans of Jakob von Gunten should check out this collection by the “clairvoyant of the small.”
  • Pitigrilli (trans. Eric Mosbacher), Cocaine (New Vessel). Worth buying just for the “I’ve got Cocaine in my bag” jokes you can make. Here’s the Complete Review’s take.

October

  • Pierre Mac Orlan (trans. Napolean Jeffries), Handbook for the Perfect Adventurer (Wakefield). A satirical guide to the art of passive adventuring. 
  • NYRB Poets (ed. Mary Ann Caws), Pierre Reverdy (NYRB Classics). An anthology of the great French poet’s work, with translations by Kenneth Rexroth, Frank O’Hara, Lydia Davis, and others.
  • Sergio Chejfec (trans. Heather Cleary), The Dark (Open Letter). A subtle and oblique novel, written in Chejfec’s signature style, that works along the borders of memory and reality.
  • Jeremias Gotthelf (trans. Susan Bernofsky), The Black Spider (NYRB Classics). A terrifying supernatural tale in an excellent new translation. Yes, there’s a giant spider.
  • Orly Castel-Bloom (trans Dalya Bilu), Textile (Feminist Press). Another withering satire by Israel’s most corrosive novelist.
  • Roderigo Rey Rosa (trans. Jeffrey Gray), The African Shore (Yale). A haunting novel about a Columbian of uncertain means stranded in Tangier.
  • Eduardo Lago (trans. Ernesto Mestre-Reed), Call Me Brooklyn (Dalkey Archive). A kaleidoscopic novel about writers and artists in NYC.
  • Robert Lax, Poems (1962-1997) (Wave Books). A monumental collection by the hermit of Patmos.
  • Luigi Serafini, Codex Seraphinianus (Rizzoli). The legendary Codex, written in an imaginary language, gets a new release.
  • Various authors (and translators), The Library of Korean Literature (Dalkey Archive). A collection of ten never previously translated novels from Korea.
  • Marek Hłasko (trans. Ross Ufberg), Beautiful Twentysomethings (Northern Illinois University Press). The first English translation of the 1966 autobiography of a great writer and Poland’s own rebel without a cause.
  • Mircea Cărtărescu (trans. Sean Cotter), Blinding (Archipelago Books). A bestseller in Romania, this hallucinatory book, the first of a trilogy, is one of the year’s most interesting novels.
  • Herbert Read, The Green Child (New Directions). A fantastical tale with a philosophical undercurrent that riffs on Plato. This new edition of Read’s only novel features an intro by Eliot Weinberger, adding him to the book’s other distinguished admirers: T. S. Eliot, Graham Greene, Kenneth Rexroth.
  • Jean-Christophe Valtat, Luminous Chaos (Melville House). The second novel in Valtat’s steampunk Mysteries of New Venice trilogy, with plenty of dirigibles.
  • Alphonse Allais (trans. Doug Skinner), Captain Cap: His Adventures, His Ideas, His Drinks (Black Scat Books). An unabridged and illustrated collection of “the peerless French humorist”, who was later revered by the Surrealists for “his elegant style and disturbing imagination.”
  • Martin Vaughn-James, The Cage (Coach House Books). The return of a classic proto-graphic novel.

November

  • Anne Carson, Nay Rather (Sylph). A cahier featuring an essay and poem by Carson, along with illustrations by Lanfranco Quadrio.
  • David Ohle, The Old Reactor (Dzanc). Catch up with Moldenke in this sequel to Motorman!
  • Renee Gladman, Ana Patova Crosses a Bridge (Dorothy). The final installment of Gladman’s Ravickian trilogy. 
  • Jean Ferry (trans. Edward Gauvin), The Conductor and Other Tales (Wakefield). The first full translation of Ferry’s pataphysical tales, which in the original French were favorites of the Surrealists.
  • César Aira (trans. Chris Andrews), Shantytown (New Directions). If you were waiting for the ever-mutating Aira to write a noir, your day has come.
  • Peter Handke (trans. Martin Chalmers), Storm Still (Seagull). A series of monologues exploring the often tragic lives of Slovenes in Austria.
  • Rachel Shihor (trans. Ornan Rotem), Stalin is Dead (Sylph). Parable-like stories inviting comparisons to Kafka. Read an excerpt at Asymptote.
  • Rafael Bernal (trans. Katherine Silver), Mongolian Conspiracy (New Directions). Francisco Goldman says it best when he calls Mongolian Conspiracy ”The best fucking novel ever written about Mexico City.”
  • Josef Winkler (trans. Adrian West), When the Time Comes (Contra Mundum). Winkler’s chronicle of a rural village in Austria, rife with tragedy, is a dark entertainment.
  • Reggie Oliver, Flowers of the Sea (Tartarus Press). More strange stories from a writer deemed a master of the form since his first two collections: The Dreams of Cardinal Vittorini and The Complete Symphonies of Adolf Hitler.
  • Philippe Jaccottet (trans. Tess Lewis), Seedtime: Notebooks (Sylph). Jaccottet’s notebooks collect precise evocations of the natural world and limpid reflections on the arts.
  • Yves Bonnefoy (trans. Beverly Bie Brahic), The Present Hour (Seagull). The latest collection from the great French poet.
  • Ivan Vladislavić, Double Negative (And Other Stories). In which our two protagonists choose three houses to visit from a hill in Johannesburg. 
  • Alona Kimhi (trans. Dalya Bilu), Lily La Tigresse (Dalkey Archive). Another wicked satire from Dalkey’s Hebrew Literature Series.
  • László Krasznahorkai (trans. Georges Szirtes), The Bill (Sylph). An eleven-page sentence on Palma Vecchio, a 16th century Venetian painter. 
  • Amina Cain, Creature (Dorothy). A beautifully written collection of short experimental stories.
  • Curzio Malaparte (trans. David Moore), The Skin (NYRB Classics). Malaparte’s The Skin returns in the first unexpurgated English edition.

December

  • Hilda Hilst (trans. John Keene), Letters from a Seducer (Nightboat). If The Obscene Madame D is any indication, this novel from Hilst will be a wild, metaphysical ride.
  • Wiesław Myśliwski (trans. Bill Johnston), A Treatise on Shelling Beans (Archipelago Books). An earthy and comic novel from the author and translator of the Best Translated Book Award winner, Stone Upon Stone.
  • Raul Zurita and Forrest Gander, Pinholes in the Night (Copper Canyon). An anthology of Latin American poetry.
  • Igor Vishnevetsky (trans. Andrew Bromfield), Leningrad (Dalkey Archive). A contemporary novel of the Siege of Leningard, mixing elements of the absurd and avant-garde. 
  • Antonio Muñoz Molina (trans. Edith Grossman), In the Night of Time (HMH). A sweeping historical novel set in the days leading to the Spanish Civil War.
  • Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky (trans. Joanne Turnbull), Autobiography of a Corpse (NYRB Classics). NYRB’s second offering of Krzhizhanovsky’s dark, bizzare, philosophical short stories.

January

  • Arkady and Boris Strugatsky (trans. Antonina W. Bouis), Definitely Maybe (Melville House). The Strugatskys brought us Roadside Picnic, which became Tarkovsky’s cult film Stalker. That in itself is enough reason to read this comic romp. Yes, romp.
  • Ben Marcus, Leaving the Sea (Knopf). A collection of stories from the author of Notable American Women.
  • Mikhail Shishkin (trans. Andrew Bromfield), The Light and the Dark (Quercus). The second of Shiskin’s novels to be translated into English, told in the form of letters between lovers.

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