Having slept with a prostitute in Egypt, Gustave Flaubert begins his first novel, "Madame Bovary," which influences the minor French novelist Edouard Dujardin, whose novel is read by James Joyce, whose own novel "Ulysses "will move the Italian novelist Italo Sveno, and later Gertrude Stein, in radical ways. This carousel of influence shows how we devour novels in translation, while often believing that style does not translate. But the history of the novel is the history of style. "The Delighted States "attempts to solve this conundrum while mapping an imaginary country, a country of readers: "The Delighted States." As a companion, this book comes with a new translation into English of Vladimir Nabokov's "Mademoiselle O.""
ADAM THIRLWELL's first novel, "Politics," was translated into thirty languages. In 2003, he appeared on "Granta"'s list of the Best British Novelists under forty.