~post by Molly
Throughout International Crime Month, we will be profiling our four favorite publishers of international crime fiction: Akashic Books, Europa Editions, Grove Atlantic, and Melville House. It is thanks to these publishers that BookPeople can bring so many translated and foreign works to an Austin audience. I’ve decided to kick off June by profiling my favorite imprint since PM Press’ Switchblade Series – Europa Editions World Noir imprint.
Europa Editions, primarily known for its translations of the latest in European literary fiction, has long been committed to bringing high quality international crime novels to English language publication. Although crime fiction has always been a part of their oeuvre, Europa launched a special imprint called World Noir early in 2013. This launch has meant an increase in circulating titles and some reissues of defining works. As a long-time fan of literature engagé, the postwar movement aimed at creating politically engaged fiction, I appreciate Europa’s emphasis on publishing socially responsible noir.
You may have noticed these stylish editions in our mystery section before, and their eye-catching appeal is no accident. Europa has worked with the designer Emanuele Ragnisco to create a distinct look for their titles, and they lavish the same care in their attention to quality translation. Each World Noir imprint reads smoothly, but with the lyrical cadences of its original language.
Sandro Ferri and Sandra Ozzola Ferri started Europa Editions in 2005 after finding success bringing authors from all over into the Italian publishing house Edizioni E/O. Europa’s Italian origins shine not only through their impeccable graphic design. Much of the World Noir imprint showcases a style called Mediterranean Noir, which distinguishes itself from traditional American Noir by embracing moments of sensuality and philosophical meditations in between the violence and criminality.
The Mediterranean Noir genre has roots in the early 80s and, some would argue, even before, but reached its maturity with the mid-90s publication of Jean-Claude Izzo’s Marseilles Trilogy, as much literature as it is crime fiction. With the launch of World Noir, Izzo is back in print and here in our store. This trilogy serves as an excellent introduction to the World Noir imprint. I would also recommend getting Caryl Férey’s ultraviolent police thriller Zulu before the movie hits the US.
Most of the World Noir releases are set in sweltering places full of simmering tensions and no clear path to resolution. Texas readers should feel right at home.