Since its launch in October, Restless has been met with enormous enthusiasm. Perhaps our biggest success has come with The Israeli Republic, an account of a trip to Israel by Iranian writer Jamal Al-e Ahmed; it was featured on PRI, and Foreign Policy has excerpted portions of it. Our commitment to literature in translation from across the globe is clearly hitting a nerve.
Readers are hungry for a more diverse, complete menu than the diet of mostly American and English-language books coming from corporate publishing houses. Extraordinary work is constantly published everywhere, yet the United States appears to know little about it. Being interested only in exporting its culture and not importing that of others, America has become an island.
Of course, Restless isn’t alone in countering this solipsistic perspective, and we’ve sought to collaborate with other boutique literary endeavors around the world. We recently entered a partnership with Sexto Piso, an extraordinarily adventurous publishing house in Mexico City. Next season Restless will release in English translation a gorgeous graphic novel by Paco Ignacio Taibo II and illustrator Eko called Pancho Villa Takes Zacatecas. Other Sexto Piso titles—one about the U.S.-Mexican border—will follow.
As we continue to create bridges with others, we hope our readers will do the same by delving into the international literature we bring them. One way they can do this is to follow the exciting series we’re kicking off this year.
Launching a new bilingual series of important poets unknown in the United States, we released Song of Shadows by Chinese poet Xiao Hai on January 15th. Collections in Hebrew, Russian, and indigenous Latin American languages are to come soon.
Our line of science fiction books has begun with Nest of Worlds by Marek S. Huberath. Next will come classics of Cuban SF, such as Legend of the Future by Agustín de Rojas, translated by Nick Caistor, and A Planet for Rent by Yoss, translated by David Frye.
Another series, this one of women travel writers, is out next month with a travelogue by Edith Wharton, introduced by Lavinia Spalding. It will be followed by books from Kira Salak and Frances Trollope.
Chilean/French cult figure Alejandro Jodorowsky’s Donde mejor canta un pájaro will be released in September.
Our commitment to multilingual books is manifested in a celebration of Don Quixote of La Mancha. The only book that has sold more copies than this classic is the Bible. To commemorate the occasion of its 400th anniversary in 2015, Restless will publish portions of Cervantes’s masterpiece in six languages as well as a tour through the best English versions to date. Don Quixote happens to have sold best in English, a language into which it has been translated a total of twenty-two times.
Being the publisher of Restless keeps me on my toes. My task is straightforward but challenging: to make available to American readers epoch-changing literature in other languages. The life of the mind requires constant discovery. Why not feed it with hearty intellectual food?