Crimson Peak

Ten Books by Women in Translation

August is known as Women in Translation month, so I thought it would be the perfect time to share some recommendations. Thanks to my Read the World Project I’ve read more translated works these past few years than I ever would have if I hadn’t decided to try and read a book from every country in the world.

Here’s ten books from women in translation that I enjoyed and I’ve noted the country where the author is from.

Safe as Houses by Simone van der Vlugt, translated by Michele Hutchison (Netherlands)
I listened to this audio and it was really good. It’s a proper suspenseful crime/thriller where a woman and her young child are held hostage in their own home by an escaped criminal.

Crimson by Nivaq Korneliussen, translated by Anna Halager (Greenland)
No one in this book is straight. It’s a really short coming of age story about a group of people who are all in their late teens/early twenties who are all connected in some way, they might be friends, siblings, roommates and it’s them just living their lives and figuring out who they are.

The Naked Woman by Armonía Somers, translated by Kit Maude (Uruguary)
This is the sort of book I’d love to discuss with other people. It’s a really interesting feminist story about a “crazy” woman who is really just liberated.

The Eighth Life by Nino Haratischvili, translated by Charlotte Collins and Ruth Martin (Georgia)
This chonky book is over 900 pages and follows a family for generations. It’s a real deep dive into the history of Georgia and the Soviet Union, and a lot of these characters have truly horrible things happen to them.

Love in No Man’s Land by Duo Ji Zhuo Ga, translated by Hallie Treadway (Tibet)
Spanning forty years, Love in No Man’s Land shows how life changes for families who live on the grassland of Tibet and it has romance, drama, mystery and mysticism,

In the Distance with You by Carla Guelfenbein, translated by John Cullen (Chile)
This book was beautifully written (which I think is a sign of a great translation) and it’s kind of a love letter to authors, their stories and the impact they can have on people.

Thirty Days by Annelies Verbeke, translated by Liz Waters (Belgium)
Spanning thirty days of a painter and decorators life, it is about how his life entwines with the people he works for and how things change when he meets and helps a group of Afghans and Syrians at a makeshift refugee camp.

Fear and His Servant by Mirjana Novaković, translated by Terence McEneny (Serbia)
I didn’t love this book, but I found the combination of eighteenth-century Serbia, vampires and what could be the Devil really interesting. There’s also a wry sense humour throughout the book which I really liked.

Burning Cities by Kai Aareleid, translated by Adam Cullen (Estonia)
Set in Estonia between 1941-1990s, the thing I really remember about Burning Cities is how the city it’s set in is a character itself and how the city is struggling or thriving helps show how life could be like for people during and after the conflict they experienced.

The Door by Magda Szabó, translated by Len Rix (Hungary)
The Door is about the relationship between an author and her housekeeper and it’s a relationship that’s sometimes fraught and at other times is caring.

Have you read any of these books? What are some of your favourite books from women in translation? There’s a Women in Translation Readathon happening 24 – 31 August hosted by Matthew Sciarappa, Kendra Winchester and Insert Literary Pun Here on YouTube, if you want to dedicate some time to women in translation.

REVIEW: Crimson Peak (2015)

crimson-peak-poster-elenasquareeyesAspiring author Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska) is enchanted by the mysterious Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston). Leaving everything she knows behind including her childhood friend Dr. Alan McMichael (Charlie Hunnam) Edith moves to the old mansion where Thomas lives with his sister Lucille (Jessica Chastain). The house holds many secrets and ghosts, and slowly Edith begins to realise there’s something very wrong about the place.

Crimson Peak is beautiful. It’s the epitome of gothic romance, a genre which suits director Guillermo del Toro perfectly. The set design and the costumes add so much to the atmosphere of the film and as the film goes along the house begins to feel like it’s alive.

The story of Crimson Peak is pretty simple really but it’s the performances and chemistry between the characters that sucks you in. Also it isn’t really a horror film even though it has ghosts and some gruesome moments – like Edith said herself at one point, it’s not a ghost story but a story that has ghosts in it. The ghosts themselves are still very creepy and unsettling and they help put the audience and Edith on edge as you both try and figure out what they are trying to show her.

Besides from the gorgeous set design, the memorable thing about Crimson Peak is the performances. Wasikowska is the damsel in distress but she’s still smart and resourceful and her ability to see ghosts, while slightly terrifying, is what helps her in the end. Hiddleston is great as the charming but sensitive mystery man, but it is Chastain as Lucille who is distant but cunning that really steals the show. She gives an unsettling performance and she commands the attention of both the viewer and Thomas and Edith whenever she’s in the room.

Some may find Crimson Peak boring as it is not really the horror film it has been marketed as, it has very few jump-scares, in fact it is more eerie and atmospheric than frightening. If you can look past the marketing campaign you will find a film that is gorgeous yet deadly, full of amazing performances and an unsettling amount of tension.

Crimson Peak is beautifully dark and creepy and while it may not have many surprises, it’s still captivating. 4/5.