On a trip to Spain this year I read and loved Things We Lost in the Fire by Mariana Enríquez (translated by Megan McDowell), creepy, haunting stories of guilt, violence and the supernatural, set in and around Buenos Aires. A woman believes that she may be obscurely responsible for the death of a street child she tried to help; another woman thinks that something strange may be going on in the house next door. That book gave me at least one sleepless night. In a similar vein I was bowled over by the grisly Such Small Hands by Andrés Barba, beautifully translated by Lisa Dillman, about horrific goings-on in a Brazilian orphanage. Alarmingly, it’s based on a true story. To change tack completely, I’m currently enjoying the novel Kraft by the Swiss writer Jonas Lüscher, a sly and witty satire on philosophical bad faith in the age of neoliberalism, with more than a hint of Voltaire’s Candide. A lot more fun than a blunt précis might make it sound.
Mariana Enríquez, Things We Lost in the Fire, translated by Megan McDowell (Portobello Books, 2017)
Andrés Barba, Such Small Hands, translated by Lisa Dillman (Portobello Books, 2017)
Jonas Lüscher, Kraft (C.H. Beck, 2017, forthcoming in English translation)
Shaun Whiteside’s latest translations from German include To Die in Spring by Ralf Rothmann (Picador) and Blitzed by Norman Ohler (Penguin).