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Belletrista - A site promoting translated women authored literature from around the world

New & Notable
In these exciting pages we reveal a sample of New and Notable publications by women that have been carefully selected after we have pored over hundreds of entries in publishers catalogs from all over the world. Our aim is to bring you the most alluring reads from around the globe, so that you may further enjoy your armchair travels from the comfort of your home. This time, we've added significantly more covers and we've increased the length of the synopses given. All of us at Belletrista take pleasure in presenting these books to you in the hope that you will enjoy browsing through them as much as we have enjoyed selecting them. Go ahead; embark on an exhilarating reading voyage!


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Alice Nelson

Maya Wise is alone in Hong Kong. British rule is coming to an end and so is Maya's marriage. She drifts, wandering aimlessly through the crowded city streets. Captivated by an elderly Chinese man, and his caged nightingale, she follows him home. But Ken Tiger is a man with a past. As Maya draws out his tale of lost love in wartime Shanghai, she pieces together other stories, other histories that will help her to imagine a new life for herself. Alice Nelson was voted the "Best Young Australian Novelist of 2009".

Fremantle Press(AU), paperback, 9781921361920

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Xu Xiaobin
Translated from the Chinese by John Howard-Gibbon and Joanne Wang

This beautifully portrayed epic family history spans one hundred years, from the 1890s during the later stages of the Qing Dynasty to the 1990s, traversing the experiences of five generations of women. Yu is the central character, whose life story is woven through the lives of her grandmother, mother, sisters, and niece. She loves her parents but at a tender age realizes they do not love her. After committing two unforgivable sins, she is sent away to live in the city but is soon abandoned. Yu's life becomes a quest for love; she is fragile but resilient, lonely but determined. Now, in the 1980s, Yu becomes caught up in the political storm and comes close to love but falls short. Her last chance at getting what she desires will ultimately come at a tragic cost.

Atria, paperback, 9781416583813 (February)

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Sujatha Vijayaraghavan

Pichaikuppan, a precocious child, grows up to be master of three Vedas, of ritual and severe penance, and a seeker of inner silence and Truth, like his forefathers. Triumphant in his efforts, and after many symbolic deaths, he becomes one with the ocean of silence. The Silent One, an embodiment of love, beyond power, passion and skill, forms the leitmotif around which the myriad stories in this novel are woven. He is born again and again in the seemingly anonymous people in these tales: Peasants toiling in the dust rebuild their village swept away by floods, and live forever in peace; wood carriers, carrying huge loads on their backs marked with whiplash, gain the succour of Maruthorammai, their tribal mother in her haven in the mountain forests; and a debauched king cries for help and is rescued from quicksand.

Each narrative reaffirms the ageless bonds of father and son, mother and family, master and pupil, man and woman, and points to the same cherished yearning for inner quietude, for love and harmony with the world.

Penguin (India), paperback, 9789143063469

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Marti Leimbach

1967. Vietnam. Susan Gifford is one of the first female correspondents on assignment in Saigon, dedicated to her job and passionately in love with an American TV reporter. Son is a Vietnamese photographer anxious to get his work into the American press. Together they cover every aspect of the war from combat missions to the workings of field hospitals. Then one November morning, narrowly escaping death during an ambush, they find themselves the prisoners of three Vietcong soldiers who have been separated from their unit.

Nan A. Talese, hardcover, 9780385529860 (February)
Harper Collins (AUS), paperback, 9780007305995

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Indu Sundaresan

With the lush prose, vividly rendered settings, complex and appealing characters, and compelling narratives, the stories that comprise In the Convent of Little Flowers illuminate the lives of Indians at home and abroad today, where modernity offers them opportunities that their grandmothers only dreamed of, while others experience just as much oppression as ever. Indu Sundaresan brings together stories that both embrace and reject modern values with an authenticity that only a writer of her caliber could do.

Washington Square Press, paperback, 9781416586104

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Edited by Yung-Lee

Available for the first time in English, the ten short stories by modern Korean women collected here touch in one way or another on issues related to gender and kinship politics. All of the protagonists are women facing personal crises or defining moments in their lives as gender-marked beings in a Confucian, patriarchal Korean society.

Univ. of Hawaii Press, paperback, 9780824834098

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Yasmine Gooneratne

Sri Lankan author Gooneratne brings us "an engrossing and dramatic family drama, set against the backdrop of Ceylon's bumpy evolution into Sri Lanka, as the Wijesinha clan struggle to balance their staunch political ambition against the ignominy of an embarrassing family scandal. And when two young family members, cousins Tsunami and Latha, meet and become firm friends no one can guess that their triumphant friendship will be played out over the passing years against both the best and the worst the newly independent Sri Lanka can offer...."

Abacus, paperback, 9780349121741 (February)

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Thrity N. Umrigar

When Frank and Ellie Benton lose their only child, seven-year-old Benny, to a sudden illness, the perfect life they had built is shattered. Filled with wrenching memories, their Ann Arbor (US) home becomes unbearable, and their marriage founders. But an unexpected job half a world away in India offers them an opportunity to start again.

Filled with satisfyingly real characters and glowing with local color, The Weight of Heaven is a rare glimpse of a family and a country struggling under pressures beyond their control. In a devastating look at cultural clashes and divides, Umrigar illuminates how slowly we recover from unforgettable loss, how easily good intentions can turn evil, and how far a person will go to build a new world for those he loves.

Harper Perennial, paperback, 9780061472541

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Xiaolu Guo

Silver Hill Village, 2012. On the twentieth day of the seventh moon Kwok Yun is making her way across the rice fields on her Flying Pigeon bicycle. Her world is upturned when she sights a UFThing - a spinning plate in the sky - and helps the Westerner in distress whom she discovers in the shadow of the alien craft. It's not long before the village is crawling with men from the National Security and Intelligence Agency armed with pointed questions. And when the Westerner that Kwok Yun saved repays her kindness with a large dollar cheque she becomes a local celebrity, albeit under constant surveillance. As UFO Hotels spring up, and the local villagers go out of business, Xiaolu Guo's startling parable of change imagines an uneasy future for rural China and its relations not only with Beijing but the wider world beyond.

Xiaolu Guo was born in a fishing village in south China. She studied film at the Beijing Film Academy and published six books in China before she moved to London in 2002. Her first novel written in English, A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers was shortlisted for the Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction.

Vintage, paperback, 9780099526674