top of page
  • Writer's pictureThe Publishing Post

New Translations For Summer

By Jane Bentham and Rob Tomlinson


With summer fast approaching, why not pick up one of these exciting new releases in translated fiction? 


Butter by Asako Yuzuki, translated from Japanese by Polly Barton


The perfect book for foodies and true crime fans alike, Butter, which was published in English at the end of February, has taken the Japanese charts by storm. Inspired by a true story, this witty and gripping novel follows Rika, a journalist in the process of interviewing Kajii, a serial killer who has murdered three men after seducing them with her gourmet cooking. As Rika delves into Kajii’s case and her psychology, the lines between the two women become increasingly blurred. The story blends delicious descriptions of food with a visceral and cutting commentary that skilfully tackles the fatphobia and misogyny that exist in society.


Before The Queen Falls Asleep by Huzama Habayeb, translated from Arabic by Kay Heikkinen


Emotional and evocative, Before The Queen Falls Asleep follows Jihad, the eldest daughter of a Palestinian family forced into exile. Habayeb creates a rich portrait of her characters on their journeys as they move to Kuwait and then Jordan after the outbreak of the Gulf War. Now a successful writer living in Dubai, Jihad recounts her family’s story to her own daughter, dwelling not only on their experiences of displacement and loss, but also the resilience of her female relatives when faced with the brutalities of the patriarchy and war. This heartfelt and moving novel unveils the recent history of the Palestinian diaspora and demonstrates the great importance of maintaining cultural memory and embracing familial love, even in the darkest of times. 


Bad Habit by Alana S. Portero, translated from Spanish by Mara Faye Lethem


Published in English in April, Bad Habit follows an unnamed young Trans woman growing up in the eighties in a working-class neighbourhood in Madrid. Told with the voice of a woman trapped in a man’s body, we follow the narrator as she tries to find community and belonging in the lively and vibrant nightlife of downtown Madrid, where she finds life to be exciting and frightening at the same time. This coming-of-age story ties together themes of gender, class and identity to become a poignant story of belonging. 


Living Things by Munir Hachemi, translated from Spanish by Julia Sanches


Living Things is Munir Hachemi’s debut novel, set to be published in English in June. It follows four recent graduates who travel to the South of France to work on the grape harvest but find themselves living at an uninviting campsite and working at an industrial chicken farm. As they try to come to terms with the reality of their employment and their desolate and demanding environment, they begin to sense that something more sinister is at work. This eco-dystopian novel intertwines themes of capitalism and industrialism with commentary on the fundamentals of storytelling urging readers to contemplate increasingly relevant political issues and their relationship to art. 


The Son of Man by Jean-Baptiste Del Amo, translated from French by Frank Wynne


An absent father returns after a period of many years, intent on reforming his family unit. He takes them to Les Roches, a decaying house in the mountains, where he grew up under the oppressive presence of his own father. As the family attempts to embark upon their new lives amid the sublime beauty of nature, the father’s behaviour becomes increasingly obsessive and controlling as he sinks into jealousy, regret and finally madness, eventually forcing the son to challenge the father in order to retain the dignity and humanity of the family. Through crystalline and cinematic prose, The Son of Man considers the distressing legacy of inherited patterns of violence and the ongoing intergenerational trauma inflicted by patriarchal power structures while offering a glimpse of an alternative future beyond them.


Un Amor by Sara Mesa, translated from Spanish by Katie Whittemore

In an attempt to escape from past mistakes that weigh on her conscience, novice literary translator Nat moves from the city to the rural community of La Escapa to begin working on her debut novel translation. She immerses herself in country living, adopting a dog and socialising with her neighbours = but unresolved tensions and friction with La Escapa’s residents’ tremor continuously beneath the surface. One day, Nat receives an unexpected offer that forces her to confront her unconscious prejudices and desires. Un Amor is a fantastic, sun-soaked novel that was named the ‘Best Book of 2020’ by various Spanish publications including El País and La Vanguardia and is the ideal companion for a day at the park or the beach.




bottom of page