In particular, there are a few high-profile European authors appearing in translation stateside, as well as some reissues of neglected masters and new books by two Man Booker Prize-winners. Culled from non-English speaking countries, here are the best of November’s international releases.
The consummate prose stylist in French, Gracq was once thought untranslatable. But Richard Howard’s new English edition of The Balcony in the Forest gives us a lithe, dreamlike meditation on love and war set during the German incursion into the French-Belgian border, where Lieutenant Grange has been whiling away the days in a chalet in the Ardennes, unaware of the catastrophe at his door.
The World Goes On is the latest book by Man Booker Prize-winning Hungarian author László Krasznahorkai. A labyrinthine series of journeys through Shanghai, Varanasi, and past the boundaries of consciousness itself, Krasznahorkai sometimes spins tales and sometimes speaks to us directly — yet his theme is always how one finds the world at precisely when one has determined to leave it behind.
Daniel Clowes selects and introduces this collection of comics by the hallucinatory French writer and artist Nicole Claveloux. Written in the late 1970s and rendered in near-psychedelic detail, the stories collected in The Green Hand are populated with sentient vegetables, cynical birds, and vengeful grandmothers.
South Korean writer Han Kang arrived in the English-speaking world in a big way with her acclaimed novel The Vegetarian. Now her experimental and largely unclassifiable The White Book is being released by Granta Books, and with its haunting exploration of white things — including breast milk, shrouds, and blank pages — it promises to be a singular experience.
Controversial French author Christine Angot holds back nothing in the daring Incest, which begins by recounting the fallout of a relationship between the narrator and another woman. Soon she is mercilessly pulling back the psychological layers behind her romantic histories, until she at last reaches the story of her first sexual relationship, with her own father.
A noir-ish Mexican novel by Héctor Aguilar Camín, author of Death In Veracruz, Day In, Day Out begins with a funeral. There, the narrator encounters an old intellectual rival and unearths a history of criminal lies and warped sexual encounters before confronting his own fragile sanity.
The English-language debut by the Argentinian writer Julian Lopez, A Beautiful Young Woman is set during that country’s military dictatorship, during which a young boy’s dissident mother disappears. As a grown man, he attempts to reconstruct her memory while emulating the spirit of her resistance to state violence.