Will Evans: Photo by Rasy Ran

Will Evans: Photo by Rasy Ran

Hollywood Heights neighbor Will Evans talks a mile a minute, especially when he talks about publishing books by foreign authors. Evans is a history major turned foreign book advocate. “I found out there’s all of this great stuff being written in every language of the world — award-winning books, best-sellers — and very little of it gets translated and published in English,” Evans explains. Which is why in 2013 he founded Deep Vellum Publishing, a nonprofit publishing house in Deep Ellum. Within the next year, he plans to open a bookstore in Deep Ellum similar to Wild Detectives in Oak Cliff, only twice as big with 20 times more books. If you were to peruse his shelves, you’d find these top five titles Evans recommends for those beginning to explore foreign literature. Here, he explains why they matter:

Clarice Lispector, “The Hour of the Star,” translated by Benjamin Moser (New Directions):
“Clarice Lispector is the high priestess of literature. She’s like a Brazilian Virginia Woolf, the type of author you read for the first time and you say, ‘How did she do that?’ This little book is a perfect introduction to Clarice’s work.”

Italo Calvino, “Invisible Cities,” translated by William Weaver (Harcourt):
“Calvino constructs alternate universes like nobody before or since. This one is about Marco Polo telling the tales of the places he’s been. You come to realize that you can sit in a room your whole life, and if you’ve read the right books you’ll have the right imagination to construct an infinite amount of alternate realities that take our notion of what is real and spin it in a completely new way.”

Valeria Luiselli, “Faces in the Crowd,” translated by Christina MacSweeney (Coffee House):
“For something contemporary, meet your new favorite author, an author who belongs to the world more than she does to any one country. She’s from Mexico originally and writes in Spanish, so she’s labeled a ‘Mexican’ author, but she grew up in South Africa and now lives in New York City. This beautiful little book feels semi-autobiographical. It’s her debut work in English, and her career is rocketing off.”

Jorge Luis Borges, “Collected Fictions,” translated by Andrew Hurley (Penguin): “Start with his ‘Ficciones’ and then move into ‘The Aleph.’ There is no one better. Literature in its purest essence.”

Mikhail Bulgakov, “The Master and Margarita,” translated by Diana Burgin and Katherine O’Connor (Vintage): “This book is the closest thing to a perfect novel you could ever imagine. Three interwoven stories jump from Moscow to Jerusalem to an otherworldly realm, jumping from deadly serious to uproariously funny.”

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