recommendations

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.

Some Recommendations for the ReadTheWorldAthon

The #ReadTheWorldAthon I’m co-hosting with A Novel Haul and Ninja Book Box starts in two weeks so I thought I’d share some recommendations that fit the various squares on the readathons bingo card. For more information on the readathon and more in-depth explanations of each square, take a look at my announcement post. Below are 22 books that fit 22 of the 25 squares, where a book can fit multiple squares, I’ve made a note of which one it. That way you’ve got more choice when planning your readathon.

Asia: Gurkha: Better to Die than Live a Coward by Colour Sergeant Kailash Limbu – Nepal. An autobiography of a Gurkha. Can be used for: non-fic.

Polynesia: Free Love by Sia Figel – Samoa. The story of a teenage girl embarking on a forbidden relationship. Can be used for: Celebrate Women of Colour.

Europe: The Keeper of Lost Causes by Jussi Alder-Oslen – Denmark. A new unsolved crimes unit’s first case is the case of a politician who has been missing, presumed dead, for five years. Can be used for: In Translation and genre fic.

Australasia: Gould’s Book of Fish: A Story in Twelve Fish by Richard Flanagan – Australia. A convict on Van Diemen’s Land in the 1830’s becomes a reluctant painter of fish. Can be used for: historical.

Caribbean: Papi by Rita Indiana – Dominican Republic. A story about a young girls relationship with her absent father. Can be used for: Celebrate Women of Colour.

Middle East: Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi – Iran. Autobiographical graphic novel about Satrapi’s life growing up in Iran in the 1970’s and her time in France. Can be used for: non-fic and Celebrate Women of Colour.

Americas: Death Going Down by María Angélica Bosco – Argentina. A murder in an elevator puts the whole apartment block under suspicion. Can also be used for: In Translation and Genre.

Africa: Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi – Ghana. A family saga spanning multiple generations following the descendants of two sisters, one who married a rich European and the other who was sold into slavery. Can be used for: Celebrate Women in Colour and historical.

Staycation: Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackmann – England. A dystopian story set in alternate 21st-century Britain where the Crosses (Blacks) and the Noughts (Whites) are segregated with her Crosses in power. Can be used for: Celebrate Women of Colour and genre.

Short Stories: The Accusation: Forbidden Stories from Inside North Korea by Bandi – North Korea. A collection of short stories about life in North Korea. Can be used for: Asia, In Translation and Political Controversy.

Globetrotter: All Day at the Movies by Fiona Kidman – New Zealand. When a war widow moves to work on the tobacco fields, her act of independence triggers a ripple effect whose repercussions resonate long after her death, forever shaping her children’s lives. Can be used for: Australasia and historical.

Historical: Sirius by Jonathan Crown – Germany. The story of a dog who was a part of a Jewish family, became a movie star and met Hitler. Can be used for: In Translation and Europe.

Genre: Lagoon by Nnedi Okorafor – Nigeria. Science-fiction about aliens arriving in Lagos. Can also be used for: Celebrate Women in Colour and Africa.

Non-fic: Street Without a Name by Kapka Kassabova – Bulgaria. Autobiographical account of Kassabova’s childhood in Bulgaria during the last few years of the Cold War, and then revisiting her home country decades after leaving it. Can also be used for: Europe

Firsts: Metro 2033 by Dmitry Glukhovsky – Russia. Set in the Moscow metro system, the last survivors of a global nuclear holocaust begin to think they’re not alone in the tunnels. This is Glukhovsky’s first novel. Can be used for: Europe and genre.

Childhood Vacation: The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón – Spain. I had my first birthday in Spain (not that I remember it but there’s photographic evidence) and it’s a country I visit every year since my dad moved there over 15 years ago. It really is my home from home. Can be used for: In Translation and Europe.

Political Controversy: The Devils’ Dance by Hamid Ismailov – Uzbekistan. Ismailov’s work has been banned in Uzbekistan and he was forced to flee the country in 1992 after the authorities believed he was trying to overthrow the government. Can be used for: Asia, historical and In Translation.

Small Population: Frangipani by Célestine Hitura Vaite – French Polynesia. The story of a woman’s relationship either her daughter. Can be used for: Celebrate Women in Colour and Polynesia.

Dream Visit: México 20 by multiple authors – Mexico. A collection of short stories and non-fiction about life in Mexico. Can be used for: short stories, Americas and In Translation.

Short Hop: Asking For It by Louise O’Neil – Ireland. A teenage girl struggles to piece together what happened to her after she wakes up on her front porch, in pain and the photos of the night are all online. I live in the UK so Ireland’s just a trip across the sea for me. Can be used for: Europe.

In Translation: The Blue Fox by Sjón – Iceland. The story of a hunter and a a rare blue fox. Can be used for: Europe.

Celebrate Women of Colour: Reading the Ceiling by Dayo Forster – The Gambia. On her eighteenth birthday Ayodele plans to lose her virginity but she has three men to choose from. The story follows three paths, following how her life might turn out depending on which man she chooses. Can be used for: Africa and genre.

I’m afraid I don’t have any recommendations for Diaspora, Indigenous or Traditional Style. These three are areas I’m unfamiliar with and I want to use the readathon to rectify that.

If you have any recommendations for books that fit Diaspora, Indigenous or Traditional Style, or any of the bingo squares really, I’d love to hear them.