Our Share of Night by Mariana Enriquez, translated from the Spanish by Megan McDowell (Hogarth, February 7)
A young father and son set out on a road trip, devastated by the death of the wife and mother they both loved. United in grief, the pair travel to her ancestral home, where they must confront the terrifying legacy she has bequeathed: a family called the Order that commits unspeakable acts in search of immortality. For Gaspar, the son, this maniacal cult is his destiny. As the Order tries to pull him into their evil, he and his father take flight, attempting to outrun a powerful clan that will do anything to ensure its own survival. But how far will Gaspar’s father go to protect his child? And can anyone escape their fate? Moving back and forth in time, from London in the swinging 1960s to the brutal years of Argentina’s military dictatorship and its turbulent aftermath, Our Share of Night is a novel like no other: a family story, a ghost story, a story of the occult and the supernatural, a book about the complexities of love and longing with queer subplots and themes.
The Strangers by Jon Bilbao, translated from the Spanish by Katie Whittemore (Dalkey Archive, February 21).
A Spanish-gothic version of a Patricia Highsmith novel
Jon and Katharina spend the winter in Jon’s childhood home on the Cantabrian coast, lonely and bored, ambivalent about their precarious freelance jobs and disconnected in their relationship. Yet the couple’s routine will soon be disturbed when one rainy night, they witness strange lights in the sky over the village. The next morning, ufologists begin to arrive in the village, anxious to make extraterrestrial contact. The morning brings other unexpected guests: Jon’s distant cousin, Markel, and his companion, the silent, alluring Virginia. The visit becomes increasingly uncomfortable as—like the ufologists camped out in view of the house—the strangers stay on and show little sign of planning to leave. Days stretch into weeks, even as the cousins can’t remember ever having met, Virginia’s behavior becomes subtly threatening, and Jon begins doubt that Markel is who he says he . . . A deliciously tense and darkly humorous novella that explores the border that separates love from routine and offers a twist on theme of “the other” and how to live with the unknown, The Strangers introduces English readers to singular talent.
Hospital by Han Song, translated from the Chinese by Michael Berry (AmazonCrossing, March 1)
A twisted, wildly imaginative tale of one man’s mysterious illness and his journey through a dystopian hospital system. When Yang Wei travels to C City for work, he expects nothing more than a standard business trip. A break from his day-to-day routine, a good paycheck, a nice hotel―nothing too extravagant, of course. No fuss, but all the amenities. But this is where his problems begin. A complimentary bottle of mineral water from the hotel minibar results in sudden and debilitating stomach pain, followed by unconsciousness. When he wakes three days later, things don’t improve; they get worse. With no explanation, the hotel forcibly sends him to a hospital for examination. There, he receives no diagnosis, no discharge date…just a diligent guide to the labyrinthine medical system he’s now circulating through. Armed with nothing but his own confusion, Yang Wei travels deeper into the inner workings of the hospital and the secrets it’s hiding from the patients. As he seeks escape and answers, one man’s illness takes him on a quest through a corrupt system and his own troubled mind.
Assassin of Reality by Marina and Sergey Dyachenko, translated from the Russian by Julia Meitov Hersey (Harper Voyager, March 14)
The eagerly anticipated sequel to the highly acclaimed Vita Nostra takes readers to the next stage in Sasha Samokhina’s journey in a richly imagined world of dark academia in which grammar is magic—and not all magic is good. In Vita Nostra, Sasha Samokhina, a third-year student at the Institute of Special Technologies, was in the middle of taking the final exam that would transform her into a part of the Great Speech. After defying her teachers’ expectations, Sasha emerges from the exam as Password, a unique and powerful part of speech. Accomplished and ready to embrace her new role, she soon learns her powers threaten the old world, and despite her hard work, Sasha is set to fail. However, Farit Kozhennikov, Sasha’s dark mentor, finds a way to bring her out of the oblivion and back to the Institute for his own selfish purposes. Subsequently, Sasha must correct her mistakes before she is allowed to graduate and is forced to do what few are asked and even less achieve: to succeed and reverberate—becoming a part of the Great Speech and being one of the special few who dictate reality. If she fails, she faces a fate far worse than death: the choice is hers. Years have passed around the Institute—and the numerous realities that have spread from Sasha’s first failure—but it is only her fourth year of learning what role she will play in shaping the world. Her teachers despise and fear her, her classmates distrust her, and a growing love—for a young pilot with no affiliation to the school—is fraught because a relationship means leverage, and Farit won’t hesitate to use it against her. Planes crash all the time. Which means Sasha needs to rewrite the world so that can’t happen…or fail for good.
The Roamers by Francesco Verso, translated from the Italian by ? (Flame Tree Press, May 9).
The pulldogs, a group of people at the twilight of Western civilisation, undergo an anthropological transformation caused by the dissemination of nanites (nanorobots capable of assembling molecules to create matter). This technology changes the way they eat and gives rise to a culture which, while reminiscent of an ancient nomadic society, is creative and new. Liberation from the imperative of food, combined with the ability to 3D print objects and use cloud computing, makes it possible for the pulldogs to make a choice that seems impossible and anachronistic – a new life, but is it really an Arcadia?
Kappa by Ryunosuke Akutagawa, translated from the Japanese by Lisa Hofmann-Kuroda Allison Markin Powell (New Directions, June 6)
The Kappa is a creature from Japanese folklore known for dragging unwary toddlers to their deaths in rivers: a scaly, child-sized creature, looking something like a frog, but with a sharp, pointed beak and an oval-shaped saucer on top of its head, which hardens with age.
Akutagawa’s Kappa is narrated by Patient No. 23, a madman in a lunatic asylum: he recounts how, while out hiking in Kamikochi, he spots a Kappa. He decides to chase it and, like Alice pursuing the White Rabbit, he tumbles down a hole, out of the human world and into the realm of the Kappas. There he is well looked after, in fact almost made a pet of: as a human, he is a novelty. He makes friends and spends his time learning about their world, exploring the seemingly ridiculous ways of the Kappa, but noting many—not always flattering—parallels to Japanese mores regarding morality, legal justice, economics, and sex. Alas, when the patient eventually returns to the human world, he becomes disgusted by humanity and, like Gulliver missing the Houyhnhnms, he begins to pine for his old friends the Kappas, rather as if he has been forced to take leave of Toad of Toad Hall…
Counterweight by Djuna, translated from the Korean by Anton Hur (Pantheon, July 11)
For fans of the worlds of Philip K. Dick, Squid Game, and Severance: An absorbing tale of corporate intrigue, political unrest, unsolved mysteries, and the havoc wreaked by one company’s monomaniacal endeavor to build the world’s first space elevator—from one of South Korea’s most revered science fiction writers, whose identity remains unknown.
The Village at the Edge of Noon by Darya Bobyleva, translated from the Russian by Ilona Chavasse (Angry Robot, July 25)
Everything you were afraid to find out about the heat of noon and grandma’s old tales comes together in this English language debut of an award-winning and bestselling young Russian writer. The residents of a village outside Moscow wake up to discover that the road out to the motorway has disappeared without a trace and the usual paths into the woods somehow lead back into the village. And the woods? Overnight their weedy and rubbish-strewn copse has become a dark and overgrown forest inhabited by something mysterious and unfriendly. Anyone who makes it into the trees either vanishes into thin air or returns, not quite themselves… And, of course, the Internet, radio and TV have stopped working and the weather never changes. And time seems to loop seamlessly from one crop of apples and cabbages into the next.There are strange noises, and strange visitations. The villagers are plagued by odd thoughts and desires, and quiet but pervasive voices call from the river. Objects mutate; phones and radios emit strange mutterings; people disappear. What begins as a one-sided manifestation of the weird, becomes weirder still as the villagers split into factions and odd alliances with the new “neighbours” are formed. Meanwhile the forest looms closer every day. Is Katya, a solitary young woman, the only one beginning to glimpse what is going on?
The Forest Brims Over by Maru Ayase, translated from the Japanese by Haydn Trowell (Counterpoint, July 25)
A woman turns herself into a forest after long being co-opted to serve as the subject of her husband’s novels—this surrealist fable challenges traditional gender attitudes and exploitation in the literary world
Nowatari Rui has long been the subject of her husband’s novels, depicted as a pure woman who takes great pleasure in sex. With her privacy and identity continually stripped away, she has come to be seen by society first and foremost as the inspiration for her husband’s art. When a decade’s worth of frustrations reaches its boiling point, Rui consumes a bowl of seeds, and buds and roots begin to sprout all over her body. Instead of taking her to a hospital, her husband keeps her in an aquaterrarium, set to compose a new novel based on this unsettling experience. But Rui grows at a rapid pace and soon breaks away from her husband by turning into a forest—and in time, she takes over the entire city.
Left Parenthesis by Muriel Villanueva, translated from the Catalan by Megan Berkobien and María Cristina Hall (Open Letter, August 16)
The narrator of this novel, a writer, arrives by train at Casetes Beach with her month-old daughter on her back. She prepares to spend a few weeks in one of the cottages by the sand. Her husband has recently passed away and she needs to open the parenthesis of her life: to forget something, and to discover something else. But the appearance of an overly assertive starfish precedes a series of disturbing events, and as the narrator begins to lose a hold on reality, we are immersed in the uncertain territory of allegory. With a lively and direct style and overwhelming poetic force, Muriel Villanueva guides us through the daily motions of life, and at the same time a fantastic journey of a woman in search of her own maturity.
Weasels in the Attic by Hiroko Oyamada, translated from the Japanese by David Boyd (New Directions, October 4)
In three interconnected scenes, Hiroko Oyamada revisits the same set of characters at different junctures in their lives. In the back room of a pet store full of rare and exotic fish, old friends discuss dried shrimp and a strange new relationship. A couple who recently moved into a rustic home in the mountains discovers an unsettling solution to their weasel infestation. And a dinner party during a blizzard leads to a night in a room filled with aquariums and unpleasant dreams. Like Oyamada’s previous novels, Weasels in the Attic sets its sights on the overlooked aspects of contemporary Japanese society, and does so with a surreal sensibility that is entirely her own.
A Study in Ugliness & outras histórias by H. Pueyo, translated from the Spanish by the author (Lethe Press, October ?)
Ghosts and weird mourners, horrible teenagers and disgraceful instructors. Haunted prisoners and seafolk taken from the shore. H. Pueyo’s evocative writing takes notice that the dead, like memories are often closer than we think, and the guilty are often ignorant of the damage done and astonished when they themselves suffer. This debut collection offers Pueyo’s stories in both English and Portuguese to celebrate the author’s heritage.
The White City Tale by Jeong-Hwa Choi, translated from the Korean by Janet Hong (Restless Books, November 14)
Award-winning South Korean author Choi Jeong-Hwa’s English-language debut, The White City Tale is a powerful exploration of existence, social hierarchies, and resilience as one man fights against a system of inequalities in a quarantined city as a pandemic of bodily and mental erasure rages.