I thought it would be worthwhile having a thread for discussion of out-of-print novels, news regarding reissues of out-of-print novels, and new translations of foreign language novels. Hopefully some of you will be able to contribute (hello monica) and also make some recommendations.
I'll start with the currently out-of-print The Devil To Pay In The Backlands by João Guimarães Rosa. For those who are unaware of it, it is a novel about Brazilian Jagunços, or bandits, told by one Riobaldo to an anonymous listener (who is, perhaps, the Devil). It is, for want of a more enlightening term, a modernist novel and is as experimental and complex as any of the major novels that that term brings to mind. However, the English translation is poor and there have been, apparently, numerous attempts to re-translate it. Renowned translator of South American literature Gregory Rabassa started one, but gave up declaring it an impossible task, and added that it could only be translated by James Joyce (a rather ridiculous notion that serves to excuse his own failure, if you ask me). As far as i know there are currently no plans to reissue it and there are no ongoing translations. A real shame, for despite the flawed nature of the current English translation, it is still a very special novel.
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