Monday, July 26, 2010

Translation Fascination

The publishing industry is nothing if not unoriginal. From the “Chick Lit Craze” to the “Why [Insert Nationality] Women Don’t Get Fat” to a virtual vampire invasion, editors and publishers can’t help themselves when it comes to latching onto a hot idea and milking it for all it’s worth. In typical cases the craze virtually plays out the genre and kills it off via over-saturation.

The next wave, though, just might last—and benefit readers (a rare outcome of the copy-cat nature of publishing). Based on the stunning success currently being realized by the late Swedish author Stieg Larsson (he of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo fame), publishers are scouring the globe for the next irresistible import ingénue. “A lot of publishers are looking at this because they don't want to miss the next Stieg Larsson,” an editorial director confessed to The Wall Street Journal.
Intriguingly, Japanese authors are at the top of the list.

It makes sense, as Western readers have already embraced translated works from Haruki Murakami, Banana Yoshimoto, and other J-authors. Japan hosts a vibrant literary culture and I can’t wait to see what turns up on shelves next!

And of course, if you want a taste of Japanese crime fiction without waiting, I would humbly suggest my book, Tokyo Lives!

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