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Your Holiday Gift Guide for Reading in Translation

By Words Without Borders

This holiday season give friends and family the gift of the world on the page. Here are our recommendations for all of the readers in your life.


For children and the young at heart, get lost in the vivid, dreamlike world of Brazilian writer and illustrator Roger Mello’s You Can’t Be Too Careful!, translated by Daniel Hahn. (Elsewhere Editions)

Read an interview with Elsewhere Editions

For those looking for narratives about coming-of-age and sports, pick up Aura Xilonen’s The Gringo Champion, a timely story of a Mexican teen’s search for home and his ascent in the world of boxing. Translated by Andrea Rosenberg. (Europa Editions)

Read an excerpt from The Gringo Champion




Short-story enthusiasts will appreciate North Korean dissident writer Bandi’s The Accusation, a collection that sheds light on the daily lives of men and women living under a totalitarian regime. Translated from the Korean by Deborah Smith. (Serpent’s Tail)

Read a review of The Accusation




For those who prefer to read outside the box, gift avant-garde master Can Xue’s Frontier, a multilayered, experimental depiction of a surreal border town. Translated from the Chinese by Karen Gernant and Chen Zeping. (Open Letter Books)

Read an interview with Can Xue




Poets and nature-lovers will enjoy Icelandic writer Magnús Sigurðsson’s Cold Moons, ecopoetry whose scope ranges from the details of the natural world to the expanse of the cosmos. Translated by Meg Matich. (Phoneme Media)

Read poetry by Magnús Sigurðsson




Devotees of mystery and the macabre won’t be able to put down Argentinian writer Mariana Enriquez’s Things We Lost in the Fire, twelve gripping tales of violence, horror, and the ghosts that inhabit collective memory. Translated by Megan McDowell. (Hogarth)

Read an essay by Mariana Enriquez


For history buffs, share Naivo’s Beyond the Rice Fields, a propulsive and powerful novel about slavery and modernization in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Madagascar. Translated by Allison M. Charette. (Restless Books) 

Read fiction by Naivo




The literary pilgrims in your life can travel the world, bookstore by bookstore, with Jorge Carrión’s peripatetic essay Bookshops: A Reader’s History. Translated from the Spanish by Peter Bush. (Biblioasis)

Read an interview with translator Peter Bush




Novella fans with be enthralled by Wioletta Greg’s Swallowing Mercury, a lyrical bildungsroman of a close-knit, agricultural community in 1980s Poland. Translated by Eliza Marciniak. (Transit Books)

Read an excerpt from Swallowing Mercury 




Lovers of memoir and photography will welcome Georges Didi-Huberman’s Bark, resonant reflections on history, trauma, and memory, accompanied by the author’s own black-and-white photographs. Translated from the French by Samuel E. Martin. (MIT Press)




Translation lovers will relish essayist Kate Briggs’s This Little Art, a compelling, philosophical exploration of the art and experience of working with and between languages. (Fitzcarraldo Editions)


Published Dec 8, 2017   Copyright 2017 Words Without Borders

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