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

New & Notable
Whether you are a seasoned reader of international literature or a reader just venturing out beyond your own literary shores, we know you will find our New and Notable section a book browser's paradise! Reading literature from around the world has a way of opening up one's perspective to create as vast a world within us as there is without. Here are 60+ new and notable books we hope will bring the world to you.


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Caroline Kellems

Two years after her father's brutal murder, Veronica returns to Guatemala to decide whether to sell her family's coffee farm. Stumbling upon the journal from her teenage years, she recalls crucial events from the past, in particular the arrival of her younger, illegitimate half-brother. This trauma changes her, and forever links her family to Jaime, the man who later becomes the town's corrupt mayor. Born into the lower class and yearning for respectability, Jaime turned to illegal activities to break the inevitable cycle of poverty. Now he is determined to have Veronica's farm by any means possible. During the years she lived away, memories of her country faded: the haunting landscapes, the beauty of the coffee farm, traditions, and faith. Upon returning she discovers — despite corruption, violence, and organized crime — a sense of belonging not experienced elsewhere. The country casts its spell on her and she realizes that Mayor Jaime, the villain she thought threatened her, is just a man shaped by the unforgiving nature of Guatemalan society.

MacAdam/Cage, hardcover, 9781596923638 (April)

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Maryse Condé
Translated from the French by Richard Philcox

Maryse Condé's personal journey of discovery and revelation becomes ours as we learn of Victoire, her white-skinned mestiza grandmother who worked as a cook for the Walbergs, a family of white Creoles, in the French Antilles. Using her formidable skills as a storyteller, Condé describes her grandmother as having "Australian whiteness for the color of her skin...She jarred with my world of women in Italian straw bonnets and men necktied in three-piece linen suits, all of them a very black shade of black. She appeared to me doubly strange." Victoire was spurred by Condé's desire to learn of her family history, resolving to begin her quest by researching the life of her grandmother. While uncovering the circumstances of Victoire's unique life story, Condé also comes to grips with a haunting question: How could her own mother, a black militant, have been raised in the Walberg's home, a household of whites? Creating a work that takes readers into a time and place populated with unforgettable characters that inspire and amaze, Condé's blending of memoir and imagination, detective work and storytelling artistry, is a literary gem that readers won't soon forget.

Atria, hardcover, 9781416592768

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Gioconda Belli
Translated by Margaret Sayers Peyden

The winner of the prestigious 2008 Biblioteca Breve Prize—joining such renowned Latin American luminaries as Mario Vargas Llosa and Carlos Fuentes—acclaimed poet and novelist Gioconda Belli's Infinity in the Palm of Her Hand is a wholly creative and original re-imagining of the story of Adam and Eve and original sin. In a brilliant translation by Margaret Sayers Peyden, this remarkable new look at the Book of Genesis will appeal to readers of the novels of Isabel Allende, Anne Rice's Jesus Chronicles, and to all lovers of great imaginative literature.

Harper, paperback, 9780061673658

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Tiphanie Yanique

"The effects of colonialism throb in Yanique's vivid debut collection. The chilling title story is set in 1939, when the Trinidadian island of Chacachacare was still used as a leper colony; the narrator, a 14-year-old orphan with leprosy, befriends a curious boy her age, Lazaro, whose mother was murdered there when he was a baby, and whose troubled relationship with the nuns leads him to a terrible retribution. "The Bridge Stories" are elucidating snapshots of islanders struggling to carve out lives for themselves on St. Thomas and elsewhere amid an exploitative tourist economy. Yanique frequently dips into rich, fanciful vernacular, such as in "Street Man," a beautiful, sad glimpse at a doomed love affair between a college student and a St. Croix local. In the affecting novella, "International Shop of Coffins", Yanique depicts characters of mixed African/Creole/Indian descent torn between the white and island worlds in all their complexity and conflictedness. A smattering of dark humor leavens the tense narratives as Yanique penetrates the perils and pleasures of lives lived outside resort walls." ---Publishers Weekly

Graywolf, paperback, 9781555975500

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Adriana Lisboa
Translated from the Portuguese by Sarah Green

The two daughters of Afonso Olímpio and Otacíla, raised in rural Brazil in the 1960s and educated in teeming Rio de Janeiro in the 1970s, form the counterpoint and central theme linking four generations: the pliant, troubled Clarice and the lovely, strong-willed Maria Ines.

As other voices join in—those of the men they have married and the ones they have loved; the artist manqué Tomás; villagers and childhood friends; Great-Aunt Berenice in Rio; Eduarda, Maria Ines's eighteen-year-old daughter—the cool, white calm of the sisters' universe dissolves in a swirl of dark secrets. The family's silences echo the unspoken atrocities of the military dictatorship holding sway in their country. But after the death of their mother forces Clarice and Maria Ines to face their shared past, an old score is settled.

In a dramatic and powerful work of great beauty and harmony, Lisboa reveals the abysses of the human soul within a framework as delicate as a butterfly’s flight.

Texas Tech Univ. Press, hardcover, 9780896726710 (April)