Books

Foreign Authors You May Not Know

One might think that winning a Nobel Prize would be a ticket to literary success in the United States. Not quite. Even after winning the esteemed award for his book Fateless — and adapting the novel into an acclaimed movie — Hungarian author Imre Kertesz couldn't keep his book contract with a major American publisher. It seems sales didn't meet expectations. For his latest novella, he had to turn to the small publisher Melville House, David Kipen of the National Endowment for the Arts told Madeleine Brand on the show this morning.
(Editorial note: Kipen made a mistake. Read more here.)

Only about three percent of all books published in the United States are works that have been translated, Kipen says.

Is the problem that Americans don't like to read books by foreign authors or that they simply don't know about them? Publishers and authors would likely offer different explanations.

In an attempt to reverse the trend — whatever its root cause — Kipen offered a list of his favorite foreign authors of the moment. Please feel free to add to the list in the comment section below.

The List

Britain

  • *Jonathan Coe, The Rotters' Club and The House of Sleep

Russia
  • *Victor Pelevin, The Sacred Book of Werewolf and Buddha's Little Finger.

  • *Boris Akunin, The Winter Queen

  • *Ludmila Ulitskaya, The Funeral Party

Albania
  • *Ismail Kadare, The Three-Arched Bridge and Spring Flowers, Spring Frost(Read Excerpt)

Hungary
Portugal
  • *Antonio Lobo Antunes, What Can I Do When Everything's on Fire?

Norway
  • *Per Petterson, Out Stealing Horses

Egypt
  • *Muhammad Yusuf Quayd, War in the Land of Egypt

  • *Alaa Al Aswany, The Yacoubian Building

Japan
  • *Haruki Murakami, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

Mexico
  • *Carlos Fuentes, The Death of Artemio Cruz

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