Prize-winning author Andrés Neuman's new novel, FRACTURE (translated by Nick Caistor & Lorenza Garcia) (FSG), is an ambitious work set against Japan's 2011 nuclear accident in a cross-cultural story about how every society remembers and forgets its catastrophes. An earthquake unnerves Tokyo on March 11, 2011, triggering the Fukushima nuclear disaster — and a tectonic stirring of the collective past. Mr. Yoshie Watanabe, an aging executive at an electronics company and a survivor of the atomic bomb, feels as though he is a fugitive of his own memory. As the seams of his country threaten to come undone yet again, he braces himself to make the biggest decision of his life. Meanwhile, four women narrate their own memories of Watanabe to an Argentinian reporter investigating his life. With unwavering empathy and bittersweet humor, Fracture is a powerful novel about the resilience of humankind, and the beauty that can emerge from broken things.
Shortlisted for the 2020 International Booker Prize, Fernanda Melchor’s HURRICANE SEASON (translated by Sophie Hughes) (New Directions) takes place in a world filled with mythology and violence — real violence, the kind that seeps into the soil, poisoning everything around: it's a world that becomes more terrifying and more terrifyingly real the deeper you explore it. The Witch is dead. And the discovery of her corpse — by a group of children playing near the irrigation canals — propels the whole village into an investigation of how and why this murder occurred. Rumors and suspicions spread. As the novel unfolds in a dazzling linguistic torrent, with each unreliable narrator lingering on new details, new acts of depravity or brutality, Melchor extracts some tiny shred of humanity from these characters that most would write off as utterly irredeemable, forming a lasting portrait of a damned Mexican village.
Neuman and Melchor will be joined in conversation by Jeremy Garber, two-time jurist for the Best Translated Book Award.