These three novels—translated from Danish, Portuguese, and Czech—encompass nearly 100 years of gay literature in translation. Collecting books that are as challenging and beautiful as identity itself, it’s no coincidence that diversifying your bookcase also extends the horizon of literary possibility.
Translated from Danish by Martin Aitken
What if the only kind of love you understood was one that shattered taboos? What if your very first romance drowned you in a whirlpool of transgression? A coming-of-age novel that is minutely in tune with the hungers of its narrator’s body, The Skin Is the Elastic Covering that Encases the Entire Body defies category. It follows a teenage boy named Bjørn who cuts into his flesh to find relief from his depressed mother and the sexual desires that frighten him. Bjørn begins a sadomasochistic affair with an older man that promises healing, but instead it only harms him further. In a spiraling, desperate search for understanding, Bjørn struggles through grief—and pushes his flesh to its limits.
A feverish combination of stream of conscious, autobiography, collage, and narrative, Skin marks the arrival of a truly original literary voice. Reminiscent of Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts, it is as omnivorous as the bodies within it, as unrestrained as the appetites, terrors, and trysts that celebrated author Bjørn Rasmussen evokes in poetic detail. Deeply emotional, erotic, elegiac, and pansexual, it caresses the wounds we visit upon our body and soul in an attempt to serve the urges of our largest organ—the skin that covers and defines us.
Translated from Portuguese by Edgar Garbelotto
A novel about the unsettling space between identities, and a disturbing portrait of dementia from the inside out, Lord constructs an altogether original story out of the ways we search for new versions of ourselves. With jaw-dropping scenes and sensual, at times grotesque images, renowned Brazilian author João Gilberto Noll grants us stunning new visions of our own personalities and the profound transformations that overtake us throughout life.
Translated from Czech by Benjamin Paloff
Called “The Man of Pain” by the sci-fi author Karel Čapek (who popularized the word “robot”), Richard Weiner is one of European literature’s best-kept secrets. The Game for Real marks the long overdue arrival of his dreamlike, anxiety-ridden fiction into English.