This year, Europa Editions commemorated its 10th anniversary, and the Italian publisher has a lot to celebrate. Not only have Elena Ferrante’s Nepolitan novels catapulted its reclusive author to literary superstardom, but they’ve also helped to cement its publisher Europa's reputation for excellent taste.
Toby Cox, the owner of Three Lives & Company bookstore in Manhattan’s West Village, told T Magazine that customers often come in and ask “What’s new from Europa?” in the same way they might request the newest book from Jonathan Franzen. Although the Ferrante novels are Europa’s biggest titles these days, this reputation has undeniably been earned over the past decade with a remarkable run for such a small house, including Muriel Barbery’s bestseller, The Elegance of the Hedgehog, and three books shortlisted for the Booker Prize.
It certainly doesn’t hurt Europa’s popularity that books themselves are so well designed. The striking style was created by husband-and-wife team Sandro Ferri and Sandra Ozzola Ferri to draw in the apathetic readers of Italy and then repurposed to encourage Americans to read more fiction in translation. Their success surprised even them.
In fact, the beautifully bound books have become something of an Instagram sensation, with readers artfully arranging their novels for the perfect snap. So to celebrate the publisher's 10 years of publishing remarkable fiction from all over the world, here are six Europa Editions books that are just as beautiful inside as they are outside.
The Distant Marvels By Chantel Acevedo
Acevedo's exquisite novel imagines Schehazarade as a factory worker in Castro's Cuba: trapped by one of the worst hurricanes on record, Maria Sirena begins to regale her companions with tales of her family history. Her stories expose the personal cost of Cuba's tumultuous history.
Limmasol By Yishai Sarid
Europa's most under-appreciated feats is the World Noir series, which puts out crime fiction from all over the globe, including Sarid's gripping tale of betrayal. In Limmasol, a high-ranking Mossad officer goes undercover to investigate an Israeli writer and a Palestinian poet only to find spending time with them makes him question his goals.
I Regret Everything: A Love Story By Seth Greenland
A 33-year-old lawyer with a secret identity as a poet and a 19-year-old aspiring writer only recently released from a mental hospital: these are the alternating narrators of I Regret Everything who form an odd rapport over their shared love of poetry. Greenland is a gifted but humane satirist who skewers the absurdities of literary culture while acknowledging the profound challenges of falling in love.
The Most Beautiful Book in The World: 8 Novellas By Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt
Emmanuel-Schmitt is immensely popular in his native France but these eight stories are his first to be translated into English. The cheerful fables relate adventures both large and small, undertaken by all kinds of characters, from a secretary to a princess.
Mayumi And The Sea Of Happiness By Jennifer Tseng
Related without context, the plot of Mayumi and the Sea of Happiness sounds like something of a horro show: a 41-year-old librarian begins an affair with a 17-year-old boy who comes in to check out a book and then ends up befriending his mother as well. Yet Tseng's lyrical prose turns a story that could be lurid into a meditation on the power of pleasure to transform our lives.
Billie By Anna Gavalda
Image: Meredith Turits/Bustle