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FOR THE PERSON WHO APPRECIATES FOREIGN FILMS IN BOOK FORM

1. Hurricane Season by Fernanda Melchor

Like Roberto Bolano’s 2666 or Faulkner’s greatest novels, Hurricane Season takes place in a world filled with mythology and violence—real violence, the kind that seeps into the soil, poisoning everything around: it’s a world that becomes more terrifying and more terrifyingly real the deeper you explore it. As the novel unfolds in a dazzling linguistic torrent, with each unreliable narrator lingering on new details, new acts of depravity or brutality, Melchor extracts some tiny shred of humanity from these characters that most would write off as utterly irredeemable, forming a lasting portrait of a damned Mexican village.

2. Cars on Fire by Mónica Ramón Ríos

With stories focused on the lives of marginalized people, Cars on Fire transmutes loss and pain into an ode about the multiplicity of love. Mónica Ramón Ríos’s electric, uncompromising English-language debut, unfolds through a series of female characters—the writer, the patient, the immigrant, the professor, the student—whose identities are messy and ever-shifting.

3. Untold Night and Day by Bae Suah

A seductive, disorienting novel that manipulates the fragile line between dreams and reality, by South Korea’s leading contemporary writer.

4. Tender is the Flesh by Agustina Bazterrica

Working at the local processing plant, Marcos is in the business of slaughtering humans—though no one calls them that anymore.

5. Breasts and Eggs by Mieko Kawakami

Challenging every preconception about storytelling and prose style, mixing wry humor and riveting emotional depth, Kawakami is today one of Japan’s most important and best-selling writers. She exploded onto the cultural scene first as a musician, then as a poet and popular blogger, and is now an award-winning novelist.

6. Eartheater by Dolores Reyes

Electrifying and provocative, visceral and profound, a powerful literary debut novel about a young woman whose compulsion to eat earth gives her visions of murdered and missing people—an imaginative synthesis of mystery and magical realism that explores the dark tragedies of ordinary lives.

7. The Adventures of China Iron by Gabriela Cabezón Cámara

China Iron reimagines Argentina’s macho national origin myth from a female perspective, in a joyful, hallucinatory journey across the pampas of 19th century. This subversive retelling of Argentina’s foundational gaucho epic Martín Fierro is a celebration of the colour and movement of the living world, the open road, love and sex, and the dream of lasting freedom. With humour and sophistication, Gabriela Cabezón Cámara has created a joyful, hallucinatory novel that is also an incisive critique of national myths.

8. Little Eyes by Samanta Schweblin

A visionary novel about our interconnected present, about the collision of horror and humanity, from a master of the spine-tingling tale.

9. The Hole by Hiroko Oyamada

Winner of the Akutagawa Prize, The Hole is by turns reminiscent of Lewis Carroll, David Lynch, and My Neighbor Totoro, but is singularly unsettling.

10. Where the Wild Ladies Are by Matsuda Aoko

In this witty and exuberant collection of feminist retellings of traditional Japanese folktales, humans live side by side with spirits who provide a variety of useful services—from truth-telling to babysitting, from protecting castles to fighting crime.

11. When Death Takes Something from You Give It Back by Naja Marie Aidt

An unflinchingly raw and lyrical exploration of a mother’s grief and how it transforms her relationship to time, reality, and language.

HOLIDAY 2020 GIFT GUIDE: IN TRANSLATION
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