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8 Queer Books in Translation to Read This Pride Month

By Words Without Borders


This year, Pride Month comes at a momentous and grief-stricken time. As queer communities around the world take to the streets in the fight for racial justice, many are also working to raise awareness of the full spectrum of queer experience, including its intersections with race, class, culture, and more. 

We asked eight indie presses to help us spotlight queer books in translation from all over the world. The resulting list features work from Equatorial Guinea to Peru to Denmark on working-class life, memory, motherhood, and more. We’ve included links to Bookshop.org, an online bookstore with a mission to financially support local, independent bookstores. If you can, we hope you'll purchase a book or two to help support authors, translators, and the independent publishing sector in this time of financial uncertainty.


1. Restless Books

Recommendation: Nine Moons by Gabriela Wiener, translated from Spanish by Jessica Powell

From the daring Peruvian essayist and provocateur behind Sexographies comes a fierce and funny exploration of pregnancy that questions the dogmas, upends the stereotypes, and embraces all the terror and beauty—and queer possibilities—of motherhood.

 

2. New Directions

Recommendation: Who Killed My Father by Édouard Louis, translated from French by Lorin Stein

"A brief, poetic telling of the myriad ways societal contempt, homophobia, and poverty can kill a man. Louis serves as both raconteur and son, expressing deep and considered empathy for a man whose absence looms large." —NPR

 

3. The Feminist Press

Recommendation: La Bastarda by Trifonia Melibea Obono, translated from Spanish by Lawrence Schimel

"Obono's voice is assured and vital, and her tale of queer rebellion in Fang society is an exceptional take on the coming-of-age novel." —Publishers Weekly

 

4. Open Letter Books 

Recommendation: Chronicle of the Murdered House by Lúcio Cardoso, translated from Portuguese by Margaret Jull Costa and Robin Patterson

Salacious, literary, and introspective, Cardoso’s masterpiece marked a turning away from the social realism fashionable in 1930s Brazilian literature and had a huge impact on the writing of Cardoso’s lifelong friend and greatest admirer: Clarice Lispector.

 

5. Graywolf Press

Recommendation: The Discomfort of Evening by Marieke Lucas Rijneveld, translated from Dutch by Michele Hutchison

A finalist for the Booker International Prize, whose judges had this to say: “Rijneveld’s language renders the world anew, revealing the shocks and violence of early youth through the prism of a Dutch dairy farm."

 

6. Two Lines Press

Recommendation: The Skin Is the Elastic Covering that Encases the Entire Body by Bjørn Rasmussen, translated from Danish by Martin Aitken

“A feverish combination of stream of conscious, autobiography, collage, and narrative, The Skin marks the arrival of a truly original literary voice. Reminiscent of Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts, it is as omnivorous as the bodies within it, as unrestrained as the appetites, terrors, and trysts that celebrated author Bjørn Rasmussen evokes in poetic detail.” —Entropy, Best Fiction of 2019

 

7. Transit Books

Recommendation: The Tree and the Vine by Dola De Jong, translated from Dutch by Kristen Gehrman

"Bea’s inability to face, let alone name, her true sexual desires drives this spare, elegant, and ultimately haunting novel . . . Gehrman’s beautiful new translation returns the book to the spotlight where it belongs . . . a jewel hidden in plain sight."—Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review

 

8. Deep Vellum Publishing

Recommendation: Not One Day by Anne Garréta, translated from French by Emma Ramadan 

An intimate, sensuous exploration of memory and desire, delving into loves and lusts past, by award-winning Oulipo member Anne Garréta.

 

Check out the entire list on our Bookshop page.


Looking for more recent books in translation? Check out the following reading lists:

The Watchlist: May 2020

11 Indie Presses Recommend Books in Translation for World Book Day 2020

International Booksellers Recommend 11 Translated Books to Read Right Now


Disclosure: Words Without Borders is an affiliate of Bookshop.org and will earn a commission if you use the links above to make a purchase.


Published Jun 8, 2020   Copyright 2020 Words Without Borders

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