Great Translated Books of 2017
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Trying to keep on top of fiction in translation is becoming an impossible job—and this makes me very happy. In the UK, translated literary fiction is selling better than literary fiction written in English, according to a 2016 article in the Guardian. And in the US, readers are equally enthusiastic about translated fiction. Italian publisher Sandro Ferri of Europa Editions, which publishes Elena Ferrante, has some helpful comments about how publishers can do more with "the process of selection, acquisition, communication, and the sale" of translated books.
In a world that feels increasingly fractured, it would seem natural that people would be drawn to translated literature. Reading books from around the globe makes me feel closer to my fellow humans. Isn't it oddly comforting to discover that a character in a book that takes place in Armenia, for example, feels the exact same thing as a narrator in Ghana?
So, more books in translation (good), but little time to read so many (bad), but still such a pleasure! Below is a selection of great translated books from 2017; far from an exhaustive list, but still, some favorites that will take you from Latin America, through Europe, to the first book from Madagascar translated into English, ending up in Japan, in the intimacy of a thrift shop.
As mentioned in the introduction, there are many more wonderful translated books that were published in 2017. And there are more to come in 2018! One that I'm looking forward to in particular is Guadalupe Nettel's After the Winter.