Post­ed by Nao­mi Firestone-Teeter

While not all of this mon­th’s offer­ings are trans­la­tions, there are quite a few in this round’s mix, which makes JBCers par­tic­u­lar­ly hap­py. We’re hap­py both because fine inter­na­tion­al titles are mak­ing their way into the Amer­i­can lit­er­ary mar­ket, and also because they help reflect the broad­er Jew­ish expe­ri­ence and keep lines of com­mu­ni­ca­tion open between Jews worldwide.

Speak­ing of trans­la­tions, if you’re not famil­iar with Three Per­cents Best Trans­lat­ed Book Awards, you should be. This year’s short­list includes Moa­cyr Scliar’s Kafka’s Leop­ards (trans­la­tor: Thomas O. Bee­bee) and the 2010 win­ning title was Gail Hareven’s The Con­fes­sions of Noa Weber (trans­la­tor: Dalya Bilu). Two oth­er great resources for trans­lat­ed titles are Dalkey Archive Press’s Hebrew Lit­er­a­ture series, which we fea­ture on our web­site here, and Melville House­’s trans­la­tions, which includes titles by Imre Kertész, Sholem Ale­ichem, and Joshua Sobol. Bonus: Check out Melville House­’s Sholem Ale­ichem bob­ble­heads. Final­ly, check out trans­la­tor Jes­si­ca Cohen’s arti­cle on trans­la­tion for the Sum­mer 2007 issue of Jew­ish Book World here.

Along with the trans­la­tions, sev­er­al of the below selec­tions explore the bound­aries between fic­tion and non­fic­tion (see: God’s Horse and The Athe­ist’s School, The Mes­sen­ger, and The Wine of Soli­tude). When do these forms need to work togeth­er to tell the whole sto­ry and when does one form suf­fice? It may also be of inter­est to look into new­ly reviewed HHhH (Lau­rent Binet; Sam Tay­lor, trans.), which is both a trans­la­tion and also explores the afore­men­tioned bound­aries. And, of course, who could resist the forth­com­ing UPNE title focused on cof­fee (anoth­er thing that makes JBCers hap­py)? Need­less to say, we’ve been spoiled by rich­es this month, and, as always, look for­ward to the next round of lit­er­ary treats.

God’s Horse and The Athe­ists’ School, Wil­helm Dichter; Made­line G. Levine, trans. (March 2012, North­west­ern Uni­ver­si­ty Press)
Dichter’s auto­bi­o­graph­i­cal nov­els bring to life the ten­sions between ide­o­logues and prag­ma­tists, Pol­ish patri­ots and their Sovi­et masters.

The Patag­on­ian Hare: A Mem­oir, Claude Lanz­mann; Frank Wynne, trans. (March 2012, Far­rar, Straus and Giroux) 
Check out The New York­ers recent pro­file of Lanz­mann here
Jews Wel­come Cof­fee: Tra­di­tion and Inno­va­tion in Ear­ly Mod­ern Ger­many, Robert Liber­les (April 2012, Bran­deis Uni­ver­si­ty Press)
Not sur­pris­ing­ly, Jews read­i­ly accept­ed cof­fee when it made its way to Europe in the 1650s.

The Mes­sen­ger, Yan­nick Haenel; Mark Bak­er, trans. (May 2012, Coun­ter­point Press)
The nov­el­ized biog­ra­phy of Jan Kars­ki, a young Pol­ish diplo­mat charged with bring­ing the truth of Hitler’s exter­mi­na­tion plan to the Allies.

The Inno­cents, Francesca Segal (June 2012, Voice)
Segal’s debut nov­el explores the world of a tight-knit Jew­ish sub­urb of London.

The Wine of Soli­tude, Irène Némirovsky; San­dra Smith, trans. (Sep­tem­ber 2012, Vintage)
Since we have a bit of a wait for this one, check out JBC’s Irène Némirovsky review page here.

Orig­i­nal­ly from Lan­cast­er, Penn­syl­va­nia, Nao­mi is the exec­u­tive direc­tor of Jew­ish Book Coun­cil. She grad­u­at­ed from Emory Uni­ver­si­ty with degrees in Eng­lish and Art His­to­ry and, in addi­tion, stud­ied at Uni­ver­si­ty Col­lege Lon­don. Pri­or to her role as exec­u­tive direc­tor, Nao­mi served as the found­ing edi­tor of the JBC web­site and blog and man­ag­ing edi­tor of Jew­ish Book World. In addi­tion, she has over­seen JBC’s dig­i­tal ini­tia­tives, and also devel­oped the JBC’s Vis­it­ing Scribe series and Unpack­ing the Book: Jew­ish Writ­ers in Conversation.