In Translation: November Fiction and Poetry

November is pretty miserable, generally-speaking, so why not grab some of this great newly-translated poetry and fiction? We have poetry from Paraguay, a spy novel and a work of historical suspense from France, and a Turkish novel about violence and freedom. Enjoy!

Paraguayan Sea by Wilson Bueno, translated by Erín Moure

Originally written in Portunhol (a Spanish-Portuguese mix from the borders Paraguay shares with Brazil and Argentina) and Guarani, this volume of poetry is itself about borders, crossings, and finding love. Bueno was one of the most influential writers and editors in Brazil.


Special Envoy: A Spy Novel by Jean Echenoz, translated by Sam Taylor

Described as “part La Femme Nikita, part Pink Panther, and part Le Carré,” Special Envoy tells the very bizarre story of a French woman who is kidnapped and trained to destabilize the North Korean government. Satirical and sly, this latest book by Echenoz is worth a read.




Little Grey Lies by Hédi Kaddour, translated by Teresa Lavender Fagan

A multidimensional work of historical suspense, Little Gray Lies drops us into London between the world wars, in which memories and lies blend into each other and relationships morph with each new revelation.


The Time of Mute Swans by Ece Temelkuran, translated by Kenneth Dakan

In an Ankara plagued by turmoil and violence during a military coup in the 1980s, two children from opposite ends of the economic spectrum try to find something meaningful to lift them above the chaos. Their plan to save some rare mute swans that migrated from Russia from the hands of the generals (who seek to use them as a symbol and break their wings so they can’t fly away) reveals their commitment to freedom in its myriad forms.

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Rachel Cordasco: Rachel S. Cordasco has a literary studies Ph.D (which means she’s read a freakin' TON of books over the years) and has taught American literature and composition. She has also worked as an editorial assistant at the Wisconsin Historical Society Press. For most of her reading life, Rachel has shunned anything written after 1920, but she's finally emerged from her dusty little attic corner and is determined to read at least one new book every other month. Her further determination to write reviews about those books on her blog "Bookishly Witty" is what will hopefully keep her on track. Oh, and Rachel also LOVES embroidery. Just sayin'. Blog: Bookishly Witty Twitter: @Rcordas