Out This Month: May

“Renting to Killers” by Elena Pavlova, translated from the Bulgarian by the author and Kalin M. Nenov (Asimov’s, May/June)

Woodworm by Layla Martinez, translated from the Spanish (Spain) by Sophie Hughes and Annie McDermott (Two Lines Press, May 14)

The house breathes. The house contains bodies and secrets. The house is visited by ghosts, by angels that line the roof like insects, and by saints that burn the bedsheets with their haloes. It was built by a smalltime hustler as a means of controlling his wife, and even after so many years, their daughter and her granddaughter can’t leave. They may be witches or they may just be angry, but when the mysterious disappearance of a young boy draws unwanted attention, the two isolated women, already subjects of public scorn, combine forces with the spirits that haunt them in pursuit of something that resembles justice. 

The New Seoul Park Jelly Massacre by Cho Yeeun, translated from the Korean by Yewon Jung (Honford Star, May 16)

At New Seoul Park, Korea’s greatest theme park, an enigmatic man tempts visitors with a mysterious jelly candy that promises an unbreakable bond. As the sun beats down on a muggy summer afternoon, a child separated from her disinterested parents, a single mother striving to create a memorable day on a shoestring budget, and a couple on the brink of splitting up, all end up tasting this ominous candy. Little do they know that a sinister force lurks beneath the innocent facade. The sweet and innocent soon turns grotesque as the jelly becomes the catalyst for a sticky, sweet massacre. Masterfully translated by Yewon Jung, The New Seoul Park Jelly Massacre weaves a chilling tale of deceptive sweetness and the body horror of slowly melting into your loved ones.

The Stronghold by Dino Buzzati, translated from the Italian by Lawrence Venuti (NYRB Classics, May 23) [new translation]

Buzzati is one of the great Italian writers of the twentieth century, renowned for his fantastical imagination and for a touch that is as lyrical as it is light. The Stronghold, previously translated as The Tartar Steppe, is his most celebrated work, a book that has been read as a veiled attack on Mussolini’s fascist militarism, a prophetic allegory of the Cold War, and an existentialist fable.

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