What’s On Our Shelf

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Nobody loves books more than us. We’re a team of readers with broad interests and strong feelings about the books on our shelves. 

From the Shadows

by Juan José Millás (Author), Thomas Bunstead (Translator), Daniel Hahn (Translator) 

Laid off from his job, Damián Lobo obsessively imagines himself as a celebrity being interviewed on TV. After committing an act of petty theft at an antiques market, he finds himself trapped inside a wardrobe and delivered to the seemingly idyllic home of a husband, wife, and their internet-addicted teenage daughter. There, he sneaks from the shadows to serve as an invisible butler, becoming deeply and disastrously involved with his unknowing host family. Every thread of the plot is ingeniously tied together, creating a potent admixture of parable, love story, and thriller. 


The Memory Police: A Novel 

by  Yoko Ogawa (Author), Stephen Snyder (Translator) 

On an unnamed island off an unnamed coast, objects are disappearing: first hats, then ribbons, birds, roses—until things become much more serious. Most of the island’s inhabitants are oblivious to these changes, while those few imbued with the power to recall the lost objects live in fear of the draconian Memory Police, who are committed to ensuring that what has disappeared remains forgotten. When a young woman who is struggling to maintain her career as a novelist discovers that her editor is in danger from the Memory Police, she concocts a plan to hide him beneath her floorboards. 


Mac’s Problem

by Enrique Vila-Matas (Author), Margaret Jull Costa (Translator), Sophie Hughes (Translator) 

Mac is currently unemployed and lives on his wife’s earnings. An avid reader, he decides at the age of sixty to keep a diary. Mac’s wife, a dyslexic, thinks he is simply wasting his time and risking sliding further into depression- but Mac persists, and is determined that this diary won’t turn into a novel. However, one day, he has a chance encounter with a neighbor, a successful author of a collection of enigmatic, willfully obscure stories. Mac decides that he will read, revise, and improve his neighbor’s stories, which are mostly narrated by a ventriloquist who has lost the ability to speak in different voices. As Mac embarks on this task, he finds that the stories have a strange way of imitating life. 


Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead: A Novel

by  Olga Tokarczuk (Author), Antonia Lloyd-Jones (Translator)

In a remote Polish village, Janina devotes the dark winter days to studying astrology, translating the poetry of William Blake, and taking care of the summer homes of wealthy Warsaw residents. Her reputation as a crank and a recluse is amplified by her not-so-secret preference for the company of animals over humans. Then a neighbor, Big Foot, turns up dead. Soon other bodies are discovered, in increasingly strange circumstances. As suspicions mount, Janina inserts herself into the investigation, certain that she knows whodunit. If only anyone would pay her mind . . .


Chaos, A Fable

by Rey Rosa, Rodrigo (Author), Jeffrey Gray (Translator) 

Mexican author Rubirosa is attending a book fair in Tangier when he reconnects with an old acquaintance, a Moroccan artist who asks one favor of his visiting friend: to access the puzzling files on a memory card. It could help fulfill the destiny of his son Abdelkrim. It could also unwittingly draw both men into irreversible events already in motion on distant shores. In America, Abdelkrim, a brilliant aspiring astronaut deemed “too Muslim” for citizenship, has teamed up with an equally gifted young prodigy, a witness to the plight of Syrian refugees. Together, the foreign students share a vision of altering the world’s geopolitical landscape to end human suffering with a nearly inconceivable blueprint. 


Human Matter: A Fiction

By Rey Rosa, Rodrigo (Author), Eduardo Aparicio (Translator) 

More than a decade ago, novelist Rodrigo Rey Rosa made his first visit to the Historical Archive of the Guatemala National Police, where millions of previously hidden records were being cataloged, scanned, and eventually published online. Bringing to light detailed evidence of crimes against humanity, the Archive Recovery Project inspired Rey Rosa to craft a meta-novel that weaves the language of arrest records and surveillance reports with the contemporary journal entries of a novelist (named Rodrigo) who is attempting to synthesize the stories of political activists, indigenous people, and other women and men who became ensnared in a deadly web of state-sponsored terrorism. 


The Murmur of Bees

by Sofía Segovia (Author), Simon Bruni (Translator) 

From the day that old Nana Reja found a baby abandoned under a bridge, the life of a small Mexican town forever changed. Disfigured and covered in a blanket of bees, little Simonopio is for some locals the stuff of superstition, a child kissed by the devil. But he is welcomed by landowners Francisco and Beatriz Morales, who adopt him and care for him as if he were their own. As he grows up, Simonopio becomes a cause for wonder to the Morales family, because when the uncannily gifted child closes his eyes, he can see what no one else can—visions of all that’s yet to come, both beautiful and dangerous. Followed by his protective swarm of bees and living to deliver his adoptive family from threats—both human and those of nature—Simonopio’s purpose in Linares will, in time, be divined.


77

by Guillermo Saccomanno (Author), Andrea Labinger (Translator)  

Buenos Aires, 1977. In the darkest days of the Videla dictatorship, Gómez, a gay high-school literature teacher, tries to keep a low profile as one-by-one, his friends and students begin to disappear. When Esteban, one of Gómez’s favorite students, is taken away in a classroom raid, Gómez realizes that no one is safe anymore, and that asking too many questions can have lethal consequences. His life gradually becomes a paranoid, insomniac nightmare that not even his nightly forays into bars and bathhouses in search of anonymous sex can relieve. Things get even more complicated when he takes in two dissidents, putting his life at risk—especially since he’s been having an affair with a homophobic, sadistic cop with ties to the military government.


All My Goodbyes

by Mariana Dimópulos (Author), Alice Whitmore (Translator) 

A young Argentinian woman feels her identity is in pieces. Diffident, self-critical, wary of commitment, she is condemned, or condemns herself, to repeated acts of departure, from places, parents, and lovers. Then, arriving in the southernmost region of Patagonia, she convinces herself she has found happiness, until she’s caught up in the horrific murders that haunt her story.

“All My Goodbyes is a virtuoso performance. A love story told in razor sharp fragments, the novel lies at the intersection of memory, violence and trauma.”


The Wall

by Max Annas (Author), Rachel Hildebrandt Reynolds (Translator)

Moses wants one thing: to get home, where his girlfriend and a cold beer are waiting for him. But his car breaks down on an empty street, not a single human being in sight. Moses slips into The Pines, a gated community, in hopes to find help from a university classmate who lives there. Over there, in the “white” world, everything seems calm, orderly, safe. But once inside, he feels like more of an outsider than ever. And he makes a terrible mistake. 


Tokyo Ueno Station

by  Yu Miri (Author), Morgan Giles (Translator) 

Kazu is dead. Born in Fukushima in 1933, the same year as the Emperor, his life is tied by a series of coincidences to the Imperial family and has been shaped at every turn by modern Japanese history. But his life story is also marked by bad luck, and now, in death, he is unable to rest easily, haunting the park near Ueno Station. It is here that Kazu s life in Tokyo began and ended, having arrived there to work as a labourer in the run up to the 1964 Tokyo Olympics before ending his days living in the vast homeless villages in the park, traumatised by the destruction of the 2011 tsunami and enraged by the announcement of the 2020 Olympics.


The Pine Islands

by Marion Poschmann (Author), Jen Calleja (Translator)  

When Gilbert wakes one day from a dream that his wife has cheated on him, he flees – immediately and inexplicably – for Tokyo, where he meets a fellow lost soul: Yosa, a young Japanese student clutching a copy of The Complete Manual of Suicide. Together, Gilbert and Yosa set off on a pilgrimage to see the pine islands of Matsushima, one looking for the perfect end to his life, the other for a fresh start.

Playful and profound, The Pine Islands is a beautiful tale of friendship, transformation and acceptance in modern Japan.


Dying in a Mother Tongue

by Roja Chamankar (Author), Blake Atwood (Translator)

This collection of poetry by the celebrated southern Iranian poet and filmmaker Roja Chamankar (b. 1981) introduces English-speaking readers to one of the most accomplished and well-loved poets of her generation. Chamankar’s work blends surrealism and the southern coastal landscape of the poet’s upbringing with everyday experiences in rapidly urbanizing Tehran. Seascapes, love and eroticism, the disconnection of modern life, and myths and fairytales figure prominently in these vivid, lyrical poems.


Awu’s Story: A Novel

by  Justine Mintsa (Author), Cheryl Toman (Translator)

At the dawn of the twenty-first century, villages in the Fang region of northern Gabon must grapple with the clash of tradition and the evolution of customs throughout modern Africa. With this tension in the background, the passionate, deft, and creative seamstress Awu marries Obame, after he and his beloved wife, Bella, have been unable to conceive. Because all three are reluctant participants in this arrangement, theirs is an emotionally fraught existence. Through heartbreaking and disastrous events, Awu grapples with long-standing Fang customs that counter her desire to take full control of her life and home.


Stealing Cinderella: How I Became an International Fugitive for Love

by Mark D Diehl 

I showed up in South Korea with $20 and a dubious offer to teach English. Jennifer was the wickedly smart, fiercely independent second daughter of one of Korea’s most influential families. We fell in love in a country where even sitting together brought angry stares, taunts, and threats. Our employer forbade us from seeing each other, but we continued in secret. Eventually, her family became suspicious and had her followed. Their efforts to separate us in the days after that were relentless and violent. We were forced to abandon everything and flee to Hong Kong, where our situation only became more dire. 


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Article originally Published in the October/November 2019 Issue “Read Global”

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