Monday 31 December 2012

2013 German Book Splurge

This last year, the Goethe Institut managed to spend the 10% of its translation-funding budget reserved for English-language publications in its entirety, for the first time. The Swiss and Austrians have been no less industrious, I'm sure. We'll be seeing some of the fruits of that development in 2013, a few of which I have dredged together for you here. This list makes no claim to completion, especially as some publishers don't make it that easy to see what books they have coming up. It includes books published in the the UK and the US.

But there's certainly one clear trend (sorry, Susan): crime and thrillers. I already mentioned Nele Neuhaus's Snow White Must Die, translated by Stephen T. Murray and out in January from Minotaur. That's joined by cult crime author Wolf Haas' The Bone Man in March from Melville House, trans. Annie Janusch, and Max Landorff's rather fun The Fixer sometime soon from Haus (and I'm not sure who the translator is). And a big fat sci-fi thriller looms in June from Frank Schätzing at Quercus, Limit, translated by Shaun Whiteside, Jamie Lee Searle and Samuel P. Willcocks.

The next trend is not terribly new but still going strong: classics. Pushkin Press have a new Stefan Zweig, Journey into the Past, trans. Anthea Bell, out in January, paired with Letters from an Unknown Woman and Other Stories. And then Haus gives us a new old biblical Thomas Mann, The Tables of the Law, in April, trans. Marion Faber and Stephen Lehmann. My favourites will be Anna Seghers' Transit in a new translation by Margot Bettauer Dembo from NYRB Classics in May and Franz Fühmann's amazing collection The Jew Car, translated by Isabel Cole and published by Seagull Books, also May. Plus, Granta Books are kicking off the year with a Joseph Roth frenzy, releasing Michael Hofmann's translation of The Emperor's Tomb along with a "striking new edition" of The Radetzky March and a collection of letters. And almost a classic, or at least not new, is Birgit Vanderbeke's The Mussel Feast, trans. Jamie Bulloch, out in February from Peirene Press, one of those books everyone's always telling you you have to read.

Which leaves all the rest, mainly light-ish contemporary fiction. My highlight would probably be Eugen Ruge's excellent In Times of Fading Light, due in Anthea Bell's translation from Faber & Faber in June. Haus has another interwoven-fates-type affair in April, Sabine Gruber's Roman Elegy, trans. Peter Lewis. NYRB starts the year with the very well acclaimed On the Edge by Markus Werner, trans. Robert E. Goodwin. April sees the UK release of Peter Stamm's We're Flying, trans. Michael Hofmann, from Granta Books again, although it's been out in the US for a while now. And Atlantic have gone German-crazy: Katharina Hagena's lively debut The Taste of Appleseeds, trans. Jamie Bulloch, in January, with Martin Suter's mega-hit The Chef (trans. Jamie Bulloch) hot on its heels in February, Susann Pásztor's A Fabulous Liar (trans. Shaun Whiteside) in April and a fun paperback from Frauke Scheunemann, Puppy Love (trans. Shelley Frisch) out then too. Quercus has more contemporary fiction: the light follow-up to Love Virtually, Daniel Glattauer's Every Seventh Wave, translated by husband-and-wife team Jamie "busy man" Bulloch and Katharina Bielenberg comes out in January. And the translators have put their heads together again for Daniela Krien's debut novel Someday We'll Tell Each Other Everything, out in June and probably the book I'm most curious about on this list. And then don't forget - but how could you? - Charlotte Roche's backlash mummy porn Wrecked, translated by Tim Mohr (presumably not while on tour with KISS) from Grove Atlantic in May.

A short list of my translations forthcoming in 2013: Inka Parei's masterpiece set in 1977 Germany, What Darkness Was, apparently in May from Seagull Books but if you're in India you should be able to get it in January. Sibylle Lewitscharoff's raucously beautiful anti-Bulgaria tirade Apostoloff, also Seagull Books, in June apparently. And Simon Urban's Plan D from Harvill Secker in July.


Unknown said...

Jamie Bulloch busy? Sounds like you're not doing too badly yourself either ;)

Chris Wolak said...

Thanks for the great information. More books for my TBR pile! I've been hearing some buzz about Snow White Must Die.

Lauren said...

Interesting list. (And timely, since I've had a friend ask about Zweig translations.)

Will ask my friends and relatives to see how many of these ever turn up in bookshops in Australia. (And people wonder why online bookshops flourish...)

It will be very nice to be able to recommend Hagena, Suter and Ruge. As the token German speaker among family and friends, people are always asking me what I'm reading/what they should read (see above), and it's not all that often that something recent I've read actually makes it into translation. Sometimes the process seems to be pretty random from the outside.

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