Novels in Translation Book Discussions 2024

Join the Ohio Center for the Book and Clevo Books (1026 Euclid Ave) a bookstore that specializes in translated literature, for a monthly discussion on new and classic works of international literature.

Thursday, June 20th, 2024, 6-7 PM: The Most Secret Memory of Men by Mohamed Mbougar Sarr, trans. from the French by Lara Vergnaud (2023)

A gripping literary mystery in the vein of Bolaño’s Savage Detectives, this coming-of-age novel unravels the fascinating life of a maligned Black author, based on Yambo Ouologuem.

In 2018, Diégane Latyr Faye, a young Senegalese writer in Paris, discovers a legendary book from the 1930s, The Labyrinth of Inhumanity. No one knows what became of its author, once hailed as the ‘Black Rimbaud,’ after the book caused a scandal. Enthralled by this mystery, Diégane decides to search for T.C. Elimane, going down a path that will force him to confront the great tragedies of history, from colonialism to the Holocaust.”

Thursday, July 18th, 2024, 6-7 PM: The Movement by Petra Hůlová, trans. from the Czech by Alex Zucker (2021)

The Movement’s founding ideology emphasizes that women should be valued for their inner qualities, and not for their physical attributes. Men have been forbidden to be attracted to women on the basis of their bodies. While some continue unreformed, many submit—or are sent by wives and daughters—to the Institute for internment and reeducation. Our narrator, an unapologetic guard at one of these reeducation facilities, describes how the Movement started, her own personal journey, and what happens when a program fails. Outspoken, ambiguous, and terrifying, this socio-critical satire of our sexual norms sets the reader firmly outside of their comfort zone.”

Thursday, August 15th, 2024, 6-7 PM: Seasonal Associate by Heike Geissler, trans. from the German by Katy Derbyshire (2018)

How the brutalities of working life are transformed into exhaustion, shame, and self-doubt: a writer’s account of her experience working in an Amazon fulfillment center. No longer able to live on the proceeds of her freelance writing and translating income, German novelist Heike Geissler takes a seasonal job at Amazon Order Fulfillment in Leipzig. But the job, intended as a stopgap measure, quickly becomes a descent into humiliation, and Geissler soon begins to internalize the dynamics and nature of the post-capitalist labor market and precarious work. Driven to work at Amazon by financial necessity rather than journalistic ambition, Heike Geissler has nonetheless written the first and only literary account of corporate flex-time employment that offers ‘freedom’ to workers who have become an expendable resource.”