Having hit a run of crime novels and thrillers to translate this year, I thought it only sensible to embark on as much research into these genres as possible. Best of an excellent bunch were the two volumes of Pierre Lemaitre’s Camille Verhoeven trilogy I hadn’t yet read – Irène and Camille, both published by MacLehose Press and masterfully translated from the French by Frank Wynne. These breathtaking novels keep you guessing to the end, but are not for the faint-hearted. Away from crime, Ali Smith’s How to be Both (Hamish Hamilton) was simply dazzling – linguistically, stylistically, structurally – and brimming with ideas. Turning to German literature, and not including books I am working on, my favourite read was Jonas Lüscher’s Kraft (C.H. Beck). This is a deeply comic, but also dark tale of a German professor going to California in an attempt to win an academic competition with a million-dollar prize by giving the best presentation on the age-old subject of how there can be evil in the world if God exists. I’m delighted that the novel has been sold to Farrar Straus and Giroux, and thus will be available in English.
Pierre Lemaitre, Irène and Camille, translated by Frank Wynne (Maclehose Press, 2014-15)
Ali Smith, How to be Both (Hamish Hamilton, 2014)
Jonas Lüscher, Kraft (C.H. Beck, 2017)
Jamie Bulloch has translated over twenty-five books from German, including Look Who’s Back by Timur Vermes and Birgit Vanderbecke’s The Mussel Feast. He is also the author of Karl Renner: Austria. Jamie lives in London with his wife and three daughters.