Last year I gave books read in translation their own review – the aim was to encourage myself to read more in 2018 – I managed just 14 (10%) in 2017.
This year, (up to Christmas Day cut-off) I’ve read 25 novels originally published in other languages which is just under 18%, so I’ve done a lot better. I also read more widely – last year was more Euro zone-centric. In 2018, as usual, France dominates, but I managed to include three Japanese novels, my first Latvian read, and novel in Arabic by a Sudanese author. As always, the title links will take you my reviews.
French – France/Belgium
- Bird in a Cage by Frédéric Dard, tr David Bellos. Superb noir from 1961
- Savages: The Wedding by Sabri Louatah, tr Gavin Bowd – first in a quartet – will be interesting to see how it continues.
- Lullaby by Leila Slimani, tr Sam Taylor – the bestseller by Macron’s literary ambassador
- Death in the Truffle Wood by Pierre Magnan, tr Patricia Clancy – rural French goings on!
- Vernon Subutex 2 by Virginie Despentes, tr Frank Wynne. Can’t wait for the final volume of this trilogy.
- A Man’s Head by Georges Simenon, tr David Coward. Surprise I only read one Maigret this year.
- Smoking Kills by Antoine Laurain, tr Louise Rogers Lalaurie. My least favourite Laurain, but still good.
- Billie by Anna Gavalda, tr Jennifer Rappaport
- La Femme de Gilles by Madeleine Bourdouxhe, tr Faith Evans. Adultery and its consequences, written in 1937.
- In Paris With You by Clementine Beauvais, tr Sam Taylor. A YA novel in poetry – loved it.
- A Winter’s Promise by Christelle Dabos, tr Hildegarde Serle. Vol 1 in a quartet. Wonderful world-building and politicking.
- The Red Notebook by Antoine Laurain, tr Emily Boyce and Jane Aitken. Yes him again – I’ve read them all now. This is up with the best.
- Strike Your Heart by Amelie Nothumb, tr Alison Anderson. Another quirky novel from the Belgian author.
- Auntie Poldi and the Fruits of the Lord by Mario Giordano, trJohn Brownjohn. A second outing for the irrepressible anti-Miss Marple.
- One Clear Ice-cold January Morning at the Beginning of the Twenty-First Century by Roland Schimmelpfennig, tr Jamie Bulloch. Wins the prize for longest title! The book is great though.
- Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse, tr Hilda Rosner. Pub in 1922, feels like the 1960s.
- Territory of Light by Yuko Tsushima, tr Geraldine Harcourt. A beguiling novella from the late 1970s about a young mother making a new life after separation from her husband.
- If Cats Disappeared from the World by Genki Kawamura, tr Eric Selland – simply brilliant and the best cat on the cover.
- Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata, tr Ginny Tapley Takemori. Dark, funny, quirky. Loved it.
- The Gradual Disappearance of Jane Ashland by Nicolai Houm, tr Anna Paterson (Norwegian)
- The Goodbye Kiss by Massimo Carlotto, tr Lawrence Venuti. Features a really nasty and amoral protagonist!
- Under the Knife by Arnold van de Laar, tr Andy Brown. A history of surgery through 28 operations.
Spain – Catalan and Spanish
- Wabi-Sabi by Francesc Mirailles, tr Julie Wark (Catalan) – A lovely story with a Japanese feel.
- 18 by Paul Bankovskis, tr Ieva Lešinska – my first Latvian novel.
Arabic – Sudan
- Telepathy by Amir Tag Elsir, tr William Hutchins