Translated Fiction on My Bookshelves

Have you ever read any translated fiction? I personally never have and when I got my first book in a recent subscription box, I decided to start looking for other translated fiction in a bid to help me diversify my reading. I thought I’d share the recent books I’ve bought to help me do just that!

The Discomfort of Evening

The Discomfort of the Evening is being named as ‘a radical reading experience that will leave you changed forever’. As winner of the 2020 International Booker Prize, this book, written by Netherlands prize-winning poet, follows Jas who lives with her devout farming family in rural Netherlands.

One winter’s day, her older brother joins an ice skating trip; and resentful at being left alone, she makes a perverse plea to God; he never returns.

As grief overwhelms the farm, Jas succumbs to a vortex of increasingly disturbing fantasies, watching her family disintegrate into a darkness that threatens to derail them all. 

Get your copy here!

The Dead Girls

The Dead Girls is a black comedy, that is both moving and cruelly funny, and Ibargüengoitia’s work is a potent and entertaining blend of sex and mayhem.

In 1960s Central Mexico, two sisters, Delfina and María de Jesús González, known as ‘Las Poquianchis’, run a small-town brothel. Kidnapped, drugged and beaten, their young workers are desperate for escape.

The Dead Girls is the discovery of these young women, buried in the back yard. In the laconic tones of a police report, Jorge Ibargüengoitia investigates these horrific murders and their motives.

Get your copy here!

The Adventures of China Iron

This book was the book I mentioned in my introduction. I received this beautiful copy in my August Books That Matter box. This was the first translated fiction book to sit on my bookshelves so I owe Books That Matter a huge thank you!

The book charts the adventures of Mrs China Iron, Martín Fierro’s abandoned wife, in her travels across the pampas in a covered wagon with her new-found friend, soon to become lover, a Scottish woman named Liz.

While Liz provides China with a sentimental education and schools her in the nefarious ways of the British Empire, their eyes are opened to the wonders of Argentina’s richly diverse flora and fauna, cultures and languages, as well as to its national struggles. 

Get your copy here!

Convenience Store Woman

I had seen this book floating around my social media channels and never knew that it was translated fiction until I watched one of Beth @ BooksNest videos where she discussed this book.

It follows the story of thirty-six-year-old Tokyo resident Keiko Furukura. Keiko has never fit in, neither in her family, nor in school, but when at the age of eighteen she begins working at the Hiiromachi branch of “Smile Mart,” she finds peace and purpose in her life.

Managers come and go, but Keiko stays at the store for eighteen years. It’s almost hard to tell where the store ends and she begins. Keiko is very happy, but the people close to her, from her family to her coworkers, increasingly pressure her to find a husband, and to start a proper career, prompting her to take desperate action…

Get your copy here!

Before The Coffee Gets Cold

Similar to Convenience Store Woman, Before The Coffee Gets Cold is one I didn’t know was translated fiction and another one I found through Beth’s videos.

In Before the Coffee Gets Cold, we meet four visitors, each of whom is hoping to make use of the café’s time-travelling offer, in order to: confront the man who left them, receive a letter from their husband whose memory has been taken by early onset Alzheimer’s, to see their sister one last time, and to meet the daughter they never got the chance to know.

But the journey into the past does not come without risks: customers must sit in a particular seat, they cannot leave the café, and finally, they must return to the present before the coffee gets cold…

Get your copy here!

Kitchen

I can’t believe I’ve only just found out about his book but since buying my copy in a local bookstore in Manchester, I’ve seen it EVERYWHERE I go!

Kitchen is an enchantingly original and deeply affecting book about mothers, love, tragedy, and the power of the kitchen and home in the lives of a pair of free-spirited young women in contemporary Japan. 

Mikage, the heroine of Kitchen, is an orphan raised by her grandmother, who has passed away. Grieving, she is taken in by her friend Yoichi and his mother (who was once his father), Eriko. As the three of them form an improvised family that soon weathers its own tragic losses, Yoshimoto spins a lovely, evocative tale and companion story.

Get your copy here!

AND THERE WE HAVE IT!

I hope there are some books featured here that have tickled your translated fiction taste buds and be sure to let me know if you have read any of these or plan to!

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