Traditionally, in preparation I look back at my reading of books by Women in Translation since the end of last summer, and I was surprised that even without the seven books I read during my Nordic FINDS month back in January, I’ve read another eleven. Language-wise, four plus the five Nordic tongues.
Here’s what I read. Scroll to the bottom to see my plans for this August…
• A Single Rose by Muriel Barbery – (10/10) Shiny Review – Superb – a Parisian woman visits Japan after her father, whom she never knew, died and finds herself and love – one of my 2021 books of the year.
• The Writer’s Cats by Muriel Barbery, illus Maria Guitart – (8/10) Review – A fun illustrated look at the author’s writing life as seen through her felines.
• A Storm of Echoes: The Mirror Visitor vol 4 by Christelle Dabos – (6.5/10) Review – Disappointing end to an otherwise superb crossover fantasy sequence.
• Madgermanes by Birgit Weyhe – (9/10) Shiny Review – Graphic novel of the African immigrant experience in Germany and how they were all lied to.
• The Murder Farm by Andrea Maria Schenkel – (9/10) Review – Chilling murder mystery based on a real 1920s cold case on a remote farm.
• The Peacock by Isabelle Bogdan – (10/10) Review – Superb comic novel of corporate teambuilding set in a decrepit Scottish mansion.
• River Clyde by Simone Buchholz – (9.5/10) Review – The latest in Buchholz’s brilliant Chastity Riley series takes her to Scotland.
• Lonely Castle in the Mirror by Mizuki Tsujimura – (7.5/10) Review – A huge crossover hit in Japan, about a group of school refusers who find a way into the title.
• Fish Swimming in Dappled Sunlight by Riku Onda – (9.5/10) Review – A break-up novel – each thinks the other committed a murder. So suspenseful.
• The Forgery by Ave Barrera – A struggling artist is employed to make a forgery, but gets caught up a weird situation.
• The Employees by Olga Ravn – Dk (9/10) Review – Unconventional narrative set on board a space ship in the form of witness testimonies. Unnerving.
• The Murder of Halland by Pia Juul – Dk (8/10) Review – An unconventional crime novel, as a new widow has to come to terms with her dead husband’s other life.
• Minna Needs Rehearsal Space by Dorthe Nors – Dk (9/10) Review – A compact novella told as a prose poem.
• Girls Against God by Jenny Hval – N (6/10) Review – Hard to love this novel – a sort of feminist black metal manifesto. Nasty!
• Some Kind of Company by Nan Östman – Sw (9/10) Review A lonely 72-yr-old woman reaches out and finds friendship.
• The Summer Book by Tove Jansson – Fin (10/10) Review Childhood summers on the island with gran – idyllic and wonderful.
• Butterflies in November by Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir – Is (9/10) Review A quirky Icelandic road trip. Great fun.
• We Know You Remember by Tove Alsterdal – Sw (8/10) Review Crime set in a hot, sultry summer in the country. First in a series.
Now here’s a picture of a small pile I picked out to choose from next month.
- People From My Neighbourhood by Hiromi Kawakami – micro-fiction – a linked set of short stories (Japan, 2020)
- Marzahn, Mon Amour by Katja Oskamp – a woman retrains as a chiropodist in Berlin and tells her clients’ stories from the neighbourhood (Germany, 2022)
- The Garden Square by Marguerite Duras – a nanny/maid meets a stranger in the gardens while her charge plays. (France, 1955, transl.1959)
- Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto – ‘mothers, transsexuality, bereavement, kitchens, love and tragedy (Japan, 1987, transl .1994)
- Lost World by Patricia Melo – An ex-contract killer sets out on a journey of revenge! (Portugal, 2009)
- Love in Five Acts by Daniela Krein -Five women who have fulfilled their roles as wives, mothers, friends, lovers, daughters. (Germany, 2021)
Which would you read first?