New Directions Pearls

It appears I’m late to the party on this one, judging by publication dates, but New Directions has a new-ish series of books called Pearls. Per the publisher’s site, “The Pearl series presents short works from contemporary masters such as César Aira and Javier Marías, and also includes relaunches of several ND Bibelots, which introduced readers to seminal works by classic ND authors such as Borges and Mishima.”

A look at the current listings suggests that they’re also finding ways to forge connections between the works of great writers, past and present. Two Crocodiles presents novellas by Dostoevsky and the Uraguayan writer Felisberto Hernández in one volume.

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Other offerings include the Japanese writer Yoko Tawada’s brief, unusual work, The Bridegroom Was a Dog and Joseph Roth’s The Leviathan. Any series that includes Roth gets my blessing.

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It’s also gratifying to see a publisher searching for ways to present works which despite their unusual length, deserve to stand alone in a single volume. Couple this with their extensive rollout of Korean literature titles in translation which started last year, and it’s apparent that New Directions is still living up to James Laughlin’s original mission.

— John McIntyre

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