At last, Ema, the Captive has been translated into English. Translated by the masterful Chris Andrew, this early Aira novel follows Ema through colonial Argentina as she joins or is captured by different peoples she encounters. Ema is a resilient and intensely curious character who wants to understand and achieve full presence in time. The novel playfully oscillates between the narrative and the philosophical, as the details blur into one beautiful, splendid portrait. Aira's remarkable talent is immensely apparent in this early work and it is not to be missed.
Randa Jarrar's collection of short stories is filled with characters who cackle with wit in the face of life's absurdities and disappointments. Her protagonists are Arab women across the globe who confront a variety of fantastical realities, dismal futures, or complicated family dramas. Jarrar writes each character with such lyrical intensity that their individual voices and sharp perspectives stay with you long after you’ve finished reading. It is rare that a book can have so much humor and heart in equal measure. This sparkling collection is truly wonderful and engaging, a joy to read.