Restless Books is a new digital publisher devoted to books from all around the globe. What defines us is right there in our name: the restlessness of modern life, the impulse to go to new places, both physically and with our imagination. Our objective is to create a community of readers passionate about other cultures and other languages; who share an interest in how people tell stories. We are committed to bringing the best of international literature—fiction, journalism, memoirs, poetry, travel writing, photography, and graphic novels.
Musharraf Ali Farooqi, a celebrated novelist from Karachi, Pakistan, is the first of the incomparable writers we take special pride in introducing to a wide, global audience. His latest masterwork, Between Clay and Dust, tells the stories of a great wrestler and an aging courtesan. In the aftermath of Partition, we watch their lives and their dignity unravel as they are wrenched into a new and strange society. As one reviewer puts it, “South Asian literary circles have been abuzz over a highly original fictional look at the subcontinent in the years following Partition that also doubles as a poignant study of life's transience.”
Our debut will also include a bracing new work by award-winning poet Jimmy Santiago Baca, who discovered his poetic voice while serving six years in prison. Baca has written a gorgeous short text in which he meditates on his own face, what people see in it, and how it often misrepresents him. The Face is published together with two extraordinary collections of poetry, The Lucia Poems and The Esai Poems, each about one of his children. Delve into Baca’s luminescent writing and you’ll understand immediately why Jimmy has been called “one of America’s foremost poets.”
We also have The Israeli Republic, an extraordinary account by the Iranian writer Jalal Al-e Ahmed of a trip he made to Israel in the 1960s. His travelogue, lucidly translated by Samuel Thrope, is like a view from another dimension into the conflicts of the Middle East. Al-e Ahmed is a master of subtle philosophical and political landscapes. We can promise that this book is like nothing you have read before about Israel and Iran.
Next, we bring you stateside again, to a cultural landscape changing before our eyes. 125th Street: Time in Harlem, is a photographic book by Isaac Diggs and Edward Hillel on the transformation of America’s great cultural Main Street. Through their lens—and through essays by prominent critics Vicki Goldberg of The New York Times and Greg Tate of the Village Voice—readers will get a close-up look at a neighborhood in transition, and a heritage up for grabs.
Add to this The Art of Protest, about the controversial Oakland print-making workshop Tupac Taller Amaru, whose posters on immigration and other timely topics have galvanized protesters around the country. With a powerful introduction by award-winning journalist Rubén Martínez, The Art of Protest gives a face to activism rarely acknowledged by the media.
The next year will bring all sorts of treasures and discoveries: science fiction from Cuba and Poland, classic travelogues from extraordinary women, border stories from Mexico, and many more that we look forward to unveiling. So be sure to follow us on Twitter and Tumblr, like us on Facebook, and visit our blog for regular news and more great reading.
We are told that the publishing industry is going through seismic changes, that books don't matter anymore. This is a crisis not only affecting literature, but also the way stories and viewpoints are conveyed in our culture. All this might be true—but a time of crisis is also a time of opportunity.
At Restless, we want to bring you narratives and ideas from different corners of the globe, because we believe our lives will be richer because of them. Books may be undergoing a transformation but, in some shape or form, they will always be with us. In books we discover who we are and, through books, we can travel to previously unknown worlds.
Exploring those worlds is your duty as a reader. Ours, as publishers, is to put the right books in front of you.
Ilan Stavans, Publisher