Read the World: Translated Fiction

For many of us, if we want to read fiction written in a language other than English we need the help of a translator. This past week Frank Wynne, the chair of the 2022 International Booker Prize, called for publishers around the world to not only recognize the work of translators with full book cover credit, but to pay translators more fairly and to grant copyright to the translator for their creative work. I confess that I have not been reading much international fiction lately, but Wynne’s call to action prompted me to delve into some translated works recently published in the United States.

Blood Feast by Malikah Moustadraf, translated by Alice Guthrie
Moustadraf had already established herself as a vital voice in Morocco before her death in 2006 at the age of 37. This translation gathers together her short stories, unflinching vignettes of characters living precarious lives on the margins of society due to poverty, abuse, illness, or gender. (Morocco)

The Cat Who Saved Books by Sō­­suke Natsukawa, translated by Louise Heal Kawai
High school student Rintaro Natsuki is closing up his grandfather’s secondhand bookstore when he’s approached by a talking cat, Tiger, who convinces Rintaro to join him on an adventure to rescue mistreated books. (Japan)

Lucky Breaks by Yevgenia Belorusets, translated by Eugene Ostashevsky
The stories in this debut collection, set in the coal-mining regions of Eastern Ukraine, are snapshots of the lives of women in the aftermath of the 2014 conflict. Formerly a photojournalist, Belorusets’s images appear alongside her text. (Ukraine)

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Intriguing Middle Eastern Fiction

In a return to our intermittent series on interesting international fiction, enjoy this snapshot of titles by Middle Eastern novelists published in the US in the last year.

Beginning in Turkey, check out Elif Shafak’s latest novel The Three Daughters of Eve, a story set over a single evening in contemporary Istanbul, as Peri attends a dinner party at a seaside mansion while terrorist attacks occur across the city. Surrounded by well-healed guests, Peri reflects on the two friends she made as a student at Oxford, and the betrayal that ripped them apart but which she still might be able to fix. Continue reading “Intriguing Middle Eastern Fiction”

Intriguing East Asian Fiction

Did you hear the announcement earlier this year, that the National Book Foundation will be adding a new award for the first time in 36 years, honoring works in translation? With that news, it’s a good time to continue highlighting some interesting international fiction published in 2017-18, this time from East Asia – Japan, Korea and China.

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Intriguing European Fiction Nov 2017

As part of our intermittent, ongoing series rounding up interesting international fiction, let’s take a tour of European fiction published this fall in the US. 

The Dying Game by Asa Avdic (Sweden)
In this psychological thriller set on a remote Swedish island, Anna is supposed to fake her death and then spy on the reactions of her fellow travelmates. The situation really gets deadly when they discover a real killer on the island with them.

The Safe House by Christophe Boltanski (France)
For generations, the tight-knit Boltanski family has lived together hunkered down in their shabby nobleman’s mansion. The novel explores a different room and family member each chapter. Continue reading “Intriguing European Fiction Nov 2017”

Intriguing Latin American Fiction

Only about three percent of all books published in the United States are works in translation, and many of those books don’t necessarily garner a lot of mainstream press. As part of our ongoing series highlighting intriguing international fiction, here is a glimpse of some recent, interesting novels from Latin American authors.

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