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The Best International Book Releases of September 2017

Picture of JW McCormack
JW McCormack
Updated: 16 September 2017

Vacation season may have ended, but it’s not too late to continue your travels by reading adventurously and internationally. September is the perfect time to catch up on that book pile that’s been building up all summer, with late August and September releases rounding out work from around the world. The following list covers new releases, original translations, and reissues worldwide including titles from Italy, France, Ireland, and Hungary, featuring Nobel Prize winners, rising stars, fiction, and memoir. With such an embarrassment of riches, there’s every reason to look forward to enjoying a new season of reading pleasure.

Solar Bones by Mike McCormack

Mike McCormack has won just about every conceivable prize in his native Ireland and continues to build his international profile with Solar Bones. The story of a life lived in full, the novel is narrated by a spirit who rises on All Souls Day to narrate his rural childhood and the disasters of adulthood during global economic shortfall.

Courtesy Soho Press

Courtesy Soho Press

Melville by Jean Giono

Originally written as a preface to Jean Giono’s own French translation of Moby Dick, Melville is a fascinating book; a freewheeling combination of memoir, novel, essay, and fantasy that imagines Herman Melville’s life in the years before he composed his masterpiece.

 

Courtesy NYRB Classics

Courtesy NYRB Classics

The Book of Disquiet by Fernando Pessoa

A world masterpiece, this new translation of the complete Book of Disquiet presents Portugal’s national writer, Fernando Pessoa, in the guise of a multitude of pseudonymous identities, each with their own style, background, and peculiarities. Never released during Pessoa’s lifetime, this collection of meditations, aphorisms, anecdotes, and poems continues to inspire and delight.

 

Courtesy New Directions

Courtesy New Directions

Madness Is Better Than Defeat by Ned Beauman

The wildly talented British writer Ned Beauman returns with the nutty Madness Is Better Than Defeat, in which an Orson Welles-type Hollywood director journeys with his crew to a Honduran jungle to shoot a film version of Heart of Darkness. Instead, the cast goes native and runs afoul of a CIA operation and Mayan curses in this sprawling historical adventure story.

 

Courtesy Sceptre

Courtesy Sceptre

For Isabel by Antonio Tabucchi

The impressionistic and nested set of stories that comprise For Isabel: A Mandala concern the disappearance of Isabel, a political radicalist who vanishes in authoritarian Portugal. But Italian writer Antonio Tabucchi models the search for Isabel on Dante’s descent into hell, with a pattern of circles that deepen into a series of Rashomon-type dialogues with those who knew her.

Courtesy Archipelago

Courtesy Archipelago

The Golden House by Salman Rushdie

Leave it to the British Salman Rushdie to write the great American novel. The Golden House begins on the day of Barack Obama’s inauguration with the arrival of the exotic and wealthy Nero Golden in Greenwich Village with his three sons, troubled Petya, fanciful Apu, and haunted D, and quickly attracts scandal, speculation, and a mystery that channels the recent history of the United States into an enchanting family chronicle.

 

Courtesy Random House

Courtesy Random House

The Red Haired Woman by Orhan Pamuk

Nobel Prize-winning Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk sets The Red-Haired Woman on the outskirts of Istanbul, where a well-digger and his apprentice find their lives thrown into chaos after encountering the mysterious red-haired actress of the title. Spanning cultures and years, this multi-layered novel entirely deserves Pamuk’s reputation for musical prose and brilliantly structured modern legends.

 

Courtesy Knopf

Courtesy Knopf

The Seventh Function of Language by Laurent Binet

French writer Laurent Binet is one of the pioneers of the ‘nonfiction novel’ which seamlessly melds fact and fiction. The premise behind The Seventh Function of Language is irresistible: we all know that French philosopher Roland Barthes was killed in a road accident after eating lunch with François Mitterand – but what if he was murdered? The ensuing is a romp through 20th-century theory that doubles as a slick murder mystery.

 

Courtesy FSG

Courtesy FSG

Vengeance Is Mine, All Others Pay Cash by Eka Kurniawan

Indonesian-born Eka Kurniawan is one of the most exciting writers active today. Vengeance Is Mine, All Other Pay Cash is a madcap noir featuring an impotent gangster who undertakes a violent and epic quest to regain use of his ‘little bird’. encountering bewitching martial artists, truck drivers, and vicious criminals along the way.

 

Courtesy New Directions

Courtesy New Directions

Riot Days by Maria Alyokhina

Riot Days is the memoir of Pussy Riot’s Maria Alyokhina, in which she recounts her imprisonment in Putin’s Russia following her participation in the famous ‘Punk Prayer’. A first-hand study of authoritarianism and resistance, the book is a hopeful testament to humanity in opposition to the state.

 

Courtesy Metropolitan Books

Courtesy Metropolitan Books