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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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Andrea Levy

You do not know me yet. My son Thomas, who is publishing this book, tells me, it is customary at this place in a novel to give the reader a little taste of the story that is held within these pages. As your storyteller, I am to convey that this tale is set in Jamaica during the last turbulent years of slavery and the early years of freedom that followed.

July is a slave girl who lives upon a sugar plantation named Amity and it is her life that is the subject of this tale. She was there when the Baptist War raged in 1831, and she was also present when slavery was declared no more. My son says I must convey how the story tells also of July’s mama Kitty, of the negroes that worked the plantation land, of Caroline Mortimer the white woman who owned the plantation and many more persons besides - far too many for me to list here. But what befalls them all is carefully chronicled upon these pages for you to peruse.

Headline Review, hardcover, 9780755359400 (February)

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Brenda Flanagan

In this collection of short stories, meditations and prose poems, Trinidad-born Brenda Flanagan celebrates the capacity of women to endure with resilience, stoicism and, frequently, humour. The stories give a vivid picture of an island very like Trinidad, across the past fifty years, touching on women of many ages and ethnicities, of women in town or country, or in flight from the hard circumstances of island life and in search of material security in the USA.

Peepal Tree Press, paperback, 9781845231279 (February)

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Alicia Steimberg
Translated by Andrea Graubart

Humor told from an adolescent girl's perspective, Musicians and Watchmakers is a deceptively intuitive account of a Jewish family living in Buenos Aires in the 1940s. Author Alicia Steimberg captures the quirky insights of a teenager in a flawlessly rendered colloquial style and in doing so, proves herself a master novelist. On this novel, she has commented that in her descriptions of this young woman's experience, there lies a fictionalized autobiography that combines her own recollections with those of others who have shared similar experiences. This novel was first published in 1971 and has only recently been translated.

Latin America Literary Review Press, paperback, 093548096X

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Margaret Cezair-Thompson

It is 1981. Jean Landing secretly plans to flee her beloved Jamaica–the only home her family has ever known, a place now rife with political turmoil. But before she can make her final preparations, she receives devastating news: Lana, her sister, is dead. The country’s state of emergency leaves no time to arrange a proper funeral. Even Jean’s mother, Monica, who hadn’t spoken to Lana in more than a decade, cannot fully embrace her grief.

The tragedy only underscores Jean’s need to leave an island that holds no promise of a future. Her harrowing journey to freedom across a battered landscape takes Jean through a terrain of memories: of her childhood, with a detached mother at odds with an adoring father, of her complex bond with Lana, and of the friends and lovers who have shaped and shared her days. Epic in scope, The True History of Paradise poignantly portrays the complexities of family and racial identity in a troubled Eden.

Random House, paperback, 9780812979831

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Claudia Piñeiro
Translated from the Spanish by Miranda France

Three bodies lie at the bottom of a swimming pool in a gated country estate near Buenos Aires. It's Thursday night at the magnificent Scaglia house. Behind the locked gates, shielded from the crime, poverty, and filth of the people on the streets, the Scaglias and their friends hide lives of infidelity, alcoholism, and abusive marriage. Claudia Piñeiro's novel eerily foreshadowed a criminal case that generated a scandal in the Argentine media. But this is more than a story about crime. The suspense is a byproduct of Piñeiro's hand at crafting a psychological portrait of a professional class that lives beyond its means and leads secret lives of deadly stress and despair. It takes place during the post-9/11 economic meltdown in Argentina, but it is a universal story that will resonate among credit-crunched readers of today.

Claudia Piñeiro has been a journalist, playwright, and television scriptwriter and in 1992 won the prestigious Pléyade Annual Journalism Award. She has more recently turned to fiction and is the author of literary crime novels that are all bestsellers in Latin America and have been translated into four languages. This novel won the Clarin Prize for fiction and is her first title to be available in English. A film of Thursday Night Widows is being made by award-winning director Marcelo Piñeyro.

Bitter Lemon Press, paperback, 9781904738411

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Michelle Cliff

Everything Is Now brings together all the short fiction of Michelle Cliff, featuring fourteen new pieces as well as the stories from her two previous short fiction collections (Bodies of Water and The Store of a Million Items).

Cliff, born in Jamaica and raised both there and in New York, skillfully weaves her own experiences into her fiction, exploring race, gender, sexuality, and colonialism.

With stunning lyricism, intelligence, and passion, Cliff confronts the dualities of our complex world: black and white, America and the third world, past and present, femininity and masculinity, colonialism and revolution.

Univ. of Minnesota, hardcover, 9780816655939

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Giannina Braschi

"A fractious comic novel by Braschi, a highly praised Puerto Rican-born poet, dramatizes cultural strife between New York City's American and Latin American populations in a linguistic hybrid of English mixed with untranslated Spanish....[I]t bristles with lively...literary conversation [and] in-your-face assertion of the vitality of Latino culture..."--Kirkus Reviews

Latin American Literary Review Press, paperback, 0935480978