Michael Kandel, while at Harcourt, copyedited English translations of manuscripts by Umberto Eco, Günter Grass, Octavio Paz, Amos Oz, José Saramago, Georges Simenon, and others, plus manuscripts by Mark Helprin, Northrop Frye, Paul Monette, Wendy Wasserstein, and others. He acquired books by James Morrow, Kage Baker, Patricia Anthony, Jonathan Lethem, Ursula K. Le Guin, Jean Mark Gawron, Jan Lars Jensen, and Ian McLeod.

Kandel translated books by Stanisław Lem. Two of them, The Cyberiad (Harcourt Brace, 1974) and The Futurological Congress (Seabury Press, 1974), were nominated for a National Book Award in 1975. He also translated Marek Huberath's novel Nest of Worlds (Restless Books, 2014) and short fiction pieces "Yoo Retoont" and "Balm of a Long Farewell" (both for the magazine Words without Borders). He also collected, edited, and translated the A Polish Book of Monsters (PIASA Books, 2010).

Kandel is the author of four novels—Strange Invasion (Bantam Spectra, 1989), In Between Dragons (Bantam, 1990), Captain Jack Zodiac (Broken Mirrors Press, 1991), and Panda Ray (St. Martin's, 1996)—and a number of short stories. He is currently writing jokes and learning to play the bassoon.