World Literature Today’s 75 Notable Translations of 2017

December 12, 2017

WLT's 75 notable translations 2017

Looking back on 2017, it’s easy to declare the year a success for literary translation, which continued to thrive and move in exciting new directions. Of note, Emily Wilson translated The Odyssey into English. The first woman to do so, she gave the “epic a radically contemporary voice.” Following up last year’s The Seamstress and the Wind, And Other Stories brought out three new English translations of César Aira’s work—no doubt pleasing Patti Smith and many other eager readers. And three new books about translation enriched the conversation: Kate Briggs’s This Little Art, Mireille Gansel’s Translation as Transhumance, and Into English: Poems, Translations, Commentaries, edited by Martha Collins and Kevin Prufer.

Resisting again the temptation to expand our list, we offer an admittedly incomplete collection of the year’s English translations and invite you to add your favorites in the comments. You can also share those you’re most eagerly anticipating in 2018 by using the hashtag #2018Reads on Twitter and Facebook. Are you looking forward to Aslı Erdoğan’s The Stone Building and Other Places? Or Julián Herbert’s Tomb Song? Dubravka Ugrešić’s Fox? Let us know.

Thank you for being in conversation with us this past year. We look forward to continuing to serve as your passport to great global reading in 2018.

Maya Abu-Alhayyat, The Blue Pool of Questions, trans. Hanan Awad; ill. Hassan Manasrah (Penny Candy Books)

Sabahattin Ali, Madonna in a Fur Coat, trans. Maureen Freely & Alexander Dawe (Other Press)

Richard Ali A Mutu, Mr. Fix-It, trans. Bienvenu & Sara Sene (Phoneme Media)

Osama Alomar, The Teeth of the Comb and Other Stories, trans. Osama Alomar & C. J. Collins (New Directions)

Sinan Antoon, The Baghdad Eucharist, trans. Maia Tabet (American University in Cairo Press)

Yoshio Aramaki, The Sacred Era, trans. Baryon Tensor Posadas (University of Minnesota Press)

Balla, In the Name of the Father and Other Stories, trans. Julia & Peter Sherwood (Jantar)

Bandi, The Accusation, trans. Deborah Smith (Grove Atlantic)

Andrés Barba, Such Small Hands, trans. Lisa Dillman (Transit)

Juan Benet, The Construction of the Tower of Babel, trans. Adrian Nathan West (Wakefield Press)

The Book of Tbilisi, ed. Gvantsa Jobava & Becca Parkinson (Comma Press)

Guillermo Cabrera Infante, Map Drawn by a Spy, trans. Mark Fried (Archipelago Books)

Can Xue, Frontier, trans. Karen Gernant & Chen Zeping (Open Letter)

Martin Felipe Castagnet, Bodies of Summer, trans. Frances Riddle (Dalkey Archive)

Chan Ho-Kei, The Borrowed, trans. Jeremy Tiang (Black Cat)

Chiapas Maya Awakening: Contemporary Poems and Short Stories, ed. Sean S. Sell & Nicolás Huet Bautista; trans. Sean S. Sell (University of Oklahoma Press)

Nicole Claveloux, The Green Hand and Other Stories, trans. Donald Nicholson-Smith (NYRB)

Guy Delisle, Hostage, trans. Helge Dascher (Drawn & Quarterly)

Jana Fawaz Elhassan, The Ninety-Ninth Floor, trans. Michelle Hartman (Interlink Books)

Mathias Énard, Compass, trans. Charlotte Mandell (Fitzcarraldo Editions)

Jenny Erpenbeck, Go, Went, Gone, trans. Susan Bernofsky (New Directions)

Elena Ferrante, Frantumaglia, trans. Ann Goldstein (Europa Editions)

Julia Fiedorczuk, Oxygen, trans. Bill Johnston (Zephyr Press)

Rodrigo Fresán, The Invented Part, trans. Will Vanderhyden (Open Letter)

Rainald Goetz, Insane, trans. Adrian Nathan West (Fitzcarraldo Editions)

Wioletta Greg, Swallowing Mercury, trans. Eliza Marciniak (Transit)

Iosi Havilio, Petite Fleur, trans. Lorna Scott Fox (And Other Stories)

Homer, The Odyssey, trans. Emily Wilson (W. W. Norton)

Petra Hůlová, Three Plastic Rooms, trans. Alex Zucker (Jantar)

Elfriede Jelinek, Charges, trans. Gitta Honegger (Seagull Books)

Hiromi Kawakami, The Nakano Thrift Shop, trans. Allison Markin Powell (Europa Editions)

Mustafa Khalifa, The Shell, trans. Paul Starkey (Interlink Books)

Josefine Klougart, Of Darkness, trans. Martin Aitken (Deep Vellum)

Ryszard Krynicki, Our Life Grows, trans. Alissa Valles (NYRB Poets)

Yanick Lahens, Moonbath, trans. Emily Gogolak (Deep Vellum)

Sergei Lebedev, The Year of the Comet, trans. Antonina W. Bouis (New Vessel Press)

Gila Lustiger, We Are Not Afraid, trans. Jane Purrier (Notting Hill Editions)

Alain Mabanckou, Black Moses, trans. Helen Stevenson (The New Press)

Charif Majdalani, Moving the Palace, trans. Edward Gauvin (New Vessel Press)

Andrée A. Michaud, Boundary, trans. Donald Winkler (Biblioasis)

Minae Mizumura, Inheritance from Mother, trans. Juliet Winters Carpenter (Other Press)

Naivo, Beyond the Rice Fields, trans. Allison M. Charette (Restless Books)

Marie NDiaye, My Heart Hemmed In, trans. Jordan Stump (Two Lines)

Pablo Neruda, Venture of the Infinite Man, trans. Jessica Powell (City Lights Books)

Eshkol Nevo, Three Floors Up, trans. Sondra Silverston (Other Press)

Jóanes Nielsen, The Brahmadells, trans. Kerri A. Pierce (Open Letter)

João Gilberto Noll, Atlantic Hotel, trans. Adam Morris (Two Lines)

Pola Oloixarac, Savage Theories, trans. Roy Kesey (Soho Press)

Ursula Andkjær Olsen, Third-Millennium Heart, trans. Katrine Øgaard Jensen (Action Books / Broken Dimanche Press)

Orhan Pamuk, The Red-Haired Woman, trans. Ekin Oklap (Knopf)

Romina Paula, August, trans. Jennifer Croft (Feminist Press)

Pearl: A New Verse Translation, trans. Simon Armitage (Liveright)

Ester Naomi Perquin, The Hunger in Plain View: Selected Poems, trans. David Colmer (White Pine Press)

Malin Persson Giolito, Quicksand, trans. Rachel Willson-Broyles (Other Press)

Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet: The Complete Edition, trans. Margaret Jull Costa (New Directions)

Sergio Pitol, The Magician of Vienna, trans. George Henson (Deep Vellum Press)

Hye-young Pyun, The Hole, trans. Sora Kim-Russell (Arcade)

Farideh Razi, Vis & I, trans. Niloufar Talebi (l’Aleph)

Cristina Rivera Garza, The Iliac Crest, trans. Sarah Booker (Feminist Press)

Vedrana Rudan, Love at Last Sight, trans. Ellen Elias-Bursać (Dalkey Archive Press)

Marek Šindelka, Aberrant, trans. Nathan Fields (Twisted Spoon Press)

Domenico Starnone, Ties, trans. Jhumpa Lahiri (Europa Editions)

Spomenka Štimec, Croatian War Nocturnal, trans. Sebastian Schulman (Phoneme Media)

Magda Szabó, Katalin Street, trans. Len Rix (NYRB)

Antonio Tabucchi, For Isabel: A Mandala, trans. Elizabeth Harris (Archipelago Books)

Abdellah Taïa, Another Morocco, trans. Rachael Small (Semiotext(e))

Carl Frode Tiller, Encircling, trans. Barbara J. Haveland (Graywolf Press)

Faustin Titi & Eyoum Nganguè, An Eternity in Tangiers, trans. André Naffis-Sahely (Phoneme Media)

Marina Tsvetaeva, Earthly Signs: Moscow Diaries, 1917–1922, trans. Jamey Gambrell (NYRB)

Marie Vieux-Chauvet, Dance on the Volcano, trans. Kaiama L. Glover (Archipelago Books)

Antoine Volodine, Radiant Terminus, trans. Jeffrey Zuckerman (Open Letter)

Prabda Yoon, The Sad Part Was, trans. Mui Poopoksakul (Tilted Axis Press)

Han Yujoo, The Impossible Fairy Tale, trans. Janet Hong (Graywolf Press) 

Zoran Živković, The Papyrus Trilogy, trans. Alice Copple-Tošić & Vuk Tošić (Cadmus Press)

Diego Zúñiga, Camanchaca, trans. Megan McDowell (Coffee House Press)

Michelle Johnson is WLT's managing and culture editor.