Books in Translation

The SF Chronicle has a quick overview of some of the few books in translation slated for release in the next few weeks, all by Grove/Atlantic. Offerings include One Hundred Strokes of the Brush Before Bed by Melissa P. (translated from the Italian) and Dancing Arabs by Sayed Kashua (translated from the Hebrew). Kashua’s book is reviewed in this weekend’s edition of the Daily Star. Here’s an excerpt.

What has so captured the imagination of critics everywhere is Kashua’s nimble treatment of dual identity. His main character is a man who comes of age as he slips between Arab culture and Israeli society. He is a hybrid creature, hyphenated to the core. Inevitably, the juxtaposition twists his psyche: “I looked more Israeli than the average Israeli,” Kashua writes in his character’s voice. “I’m always pleased when Jews tell me this. ‘You don’t look like an Arab at all,’ they say. Some people claim it’s a racist thing to say, but I’ve always taken it as a compliment, a sign of success. That’s what I’ve always wanted to be, after all: a Jew. I’ve worked hard at it, and I’ve finally pulled it off.”

I’m going to have to look for this next time I’m at Powell’s.