Painting Time, by Maylis de Kerangal

Staff Pick

Maylis de Kerangal is truly a singular writer, and Painting Time is a perfect example of her unique sensibilities. Translated from the French, the novel follows a young student at the famous Institut de Peinture in Brussels. De Kerangal describes painting as an intensely physical act: painters' bodies are hardened and strained by their work, and the artists fight constantly against their physical limits to create perfect recreations of the world. Here decorative paintings function not as ephemeral ideas, but as material objects, embodied by their artists’ obsessive attention to detail. Painting Time is hypnotic and obsessive, but also suffused with warmth and a near spirituality, charmingly narrated in de Kerangal’s intimate, strangely whimsical, authorial voice. One of my favorites of the year.  

Painting Time: A Novel By Maylis de Kerangal, Jessica Moore (Translated by) Cover Image
By Maylis de Kerangal, Jessica Moore (Translated by)
ISBN: 9780374211929
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - April 20th, 2021

Long LIve the Post Horn! by Vigdis Hjorth

Staff Pick

I am so happy to have stumbled upon Vigdis Hjorth: the author of 20 novels, only three of which have so far been translated into English. Long Live the Post Horn! is the most recently available and it is so delightful and strange that I read it in one sitting. The narrative follows a young PR representative struggling with identity and an increasing sense that everything in her life is meaningless. When a colleague disappears and she inherits his project of representing the Norwegian Post and Communications Union in opposing an EU directive, she becomes so invested in the struggle that she begins to reinvest in her own life. Hjorth’s writing is hypnotic and unsentimental, yet incredibly affecting, as she questions social responsibility and the nature of storytelling. In a year where threats to the postal service have been all too real, this book is refreshingly hopeful about what it looks like when those with the power to control stories choose people over commerce.  

Long Live the Post Horn! By Vigdis Hjorth, Charlotte Barslund (Translated by) Cover Image
By Vigdis Hjorth, Charlotte Barslund (Translated by)
ISBN: 9781788733137
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Verso Fiction - September 15th, 2020

The Dangers of Smoking in Bed, by Mariana Enriquez

Staff Pick

Enriquez’s 2017 Things We Lost in the Fire is one of my favorite short-fiction collections of all time; now, after a four-year wait, I'm happy to report that The Dangers of Smoking in Bed is every bit as magnetic and horrifying. Drawing on the places and cultural mythologies of her native Argentina, these pieces speak to specifically Latin American-inspired terror, but they resonate universally. Suffused with the kind of dread that lodges in your spine and drags you down as you read, these pages are haunted by curses, zombie ancestors, and the ghosts of murdered children. But the true menace here lies in the nightmares of everyday life lived in poverty, amidst military dictatorships and state sanctioned violence. If you’re looking to be jolted out of your own reality, these stories are for you. 

The Dangers of Smoking in Bed: Stories By Mariana Enriquez, Megan McDowell (Translated by) Cover Image
By Mariana Enriquez, Megan McDowell (Translated by)
ISBN: 9780593134078
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Hogarth - January 12th, 2021