Recommended Literary Translations - 2018

With thousands of literary translations being published into English every year, it's hard to know where to begin your exploration of this rich field. Thankfully, the folks over at The Globe and Mail published a list of recommended books based on the Man Booker International short list.

I'm excited about these publications in particular:

Frankenstein in Baghdad by Ahmed Saadawi
 

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In Frankenstein in Baghdad (Penguin, 288 pages, $22), Hadi the junk collector is appalled by how authorities treat the strewn body parts of bombing victims, left on the street “like trash.” As an act of protest, Hadi stitches together a complete corpse – but then the “Whatsitsname” revives and Baghdadis begin dying mysterious deaths. Drawing together a wide cast, Saadawi’s novel, translated from Arabic by Jonathan Wright, is a contemporary gothic about the horrors of war.


 

 The Restless by Gerty Dambury

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The fact both Couto and Ondjaki write in Portuguese raises the issue of language’s relation to colonialism. Two recent novels from the francophone world engage with France’s colonial history. The first of these is Gerty Dambury’s The Restless(Feminist Press, 220 pages, $23.50), set during the May, 1967, workers’ strike in the French overseas department of Guadeloupe. Narrated by a nine-year-old girl alongside a chorus of ghosts, The Restless is about the psychological manifestations of slavery long after abolition. This edition includes a conversation between Dambury and translator Judith G. Miller that further spells out this history.