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CAT Book Club: October

Happy October! This month we continue our book club with two brand new translated books:

Mina by Kim Sagwa, translated from Korean by Bruce and Ju-Chan Fulton

False Calm by María Sonia Cristoff, translated from Spanish by Katherine Silver

We’re really excited about this month’s reads for a couple reasons. First of all, we’re continuing last month’s trend of reading ONLY WOMEN in translation all month long! (If you missed it, check out a few of last month’s discussions of works by Qiu Miaojin, Guadalupe Nettel, and Olga Tokarczuk.) The second reason we’re excited is that this month we here at the Center for the Art of Translation have chosen two books by local presses. Mina comes to us from our own San Francisco-based Two Lines Press, and False Calm comes to us from our friends across the Bay in Oakland, Transit Books. So celebrate #womenintranslation, celebrate indie Bay Area presses, and celebrate these two very different novels, expertly translated by some of the best translators in the field.


Kim Sagwa
Translated from Korean by Bruce and Ju-Chan Fulton

Crystal toils day and night to earn top grades at her cram school. She’s also endlessly texting, shopping, drinking, vexing her boyfriends, cranking up her mp3s, and fantasizing about her next slice of cheesecake. Her non-stop frenzy never quite manages the one thing that might calm her down: opening up about the pressures that are driving her to the edge. She certainly hasn’t talked with her best friend, Mina, nor Mina’s brother, whom she’s developing a serious crush on. And Crystal’s starting to lose her grip.

In this shocking English debut, award-winning Korean author Kim Sagwa delivers an astonishingly complex portrait of modern-day adolescence. With pitch-perfect dialogue and a precise eye for detail, Kim creates a piercingly real teen protagonist—at once powerful, vulnerable, and utterly confused. As one bad decision leads to another, this promising life spirals to a devastating climax.

Good news: Kim Sagwa is going on an author tour! Catch her here in the Bay Area or in one of the six other cities she’ll be visiting this month:

October 10 | Community Bookstore | Brooklyn

October 11 | The Seminary Co-op Bookstores | Chicago

October 12 | Milkweed Books | Minneapolis

October 14 | Litquake Festival | San Francisco

October 17 | Skylight Books | Los Angeles

October 18 | Brazos Bookstore | Houston

October 19 | Elliott Bay Book Company | Seattle

False Calm

María Sonia Cristoff
Translated from Spanish by Katherine Silver

Part reportage, part personal essay, part travelogue, False Calm is the breakout work by Argentinian author María Sonia Cristoff. Writing against romantic portrayals of Patagonia, Cristoff returns home to chronicle the ghost towns left behind by the oil boom. In prose that showcases her sharp powers of observation, Cristoff explores Patagonia’s complicated legacy through the lost stories of its people and the desolate places they inhabit.

Meet the author and translator and help us celebrate the novel’s release on October 23 at the American Bookbinders Museum in San Francisco.