This is an archived issue of Belletrista. If you are looking for the current issue, you can find it here
Belletrista - A site promoting translated women authored literature from around the world
photo of Cristina Rivera-Garza; photo credit Yvonne Venegas painting by Paula Cumez Placeholder

Caitlin Fehir interviews Cristina Rivera-Garza, Winner of the 2009 Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz Prize.

16 Reviews of Classic and Contemporary Latin American & Brazilian Novels!

Ceri Evans reports from the recent International PEN "Free the Word!" event in London.

Welcome, readers, to the most dazzling issue of Belletrista thus far! In this issue, we feature more great books, and the women who write them, than in any of our previous issues.

This time we've included an exciting Latin American theme so, in addition to the 17 regular book reviews, we also present you with 16 reviews of classic and contemporary Latin American literature written by women. To tie in with this theme, we have a fabulous interview with Mexico's Cristina Rivera-Garza and a special "Trio"—a review of three works by Brazil's internationally acclaimed Clarice Lispector. And there's more: dystopian fiction, an interview with the remarkable Nawal el Saadawi, a reportback of the recent International PEN event, 62 books in the New and Notable section, and a brand new section highlighting the winners and nominees of recent global literary awards.

It's jam-packed with exciting finds on our part. Here's hoping you'll find wonderful and inspiring things within. Enjoy!

Click on 'Reviews' to see the full list of this issue's reviews...
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Marti Leimbach

I was a child during the American war in Vietnam. I can still conjure images of the time: horrifying photos in Life magazine, correspondents on the nightly news reporting over the sound of mortar fire, while in the background medics bearing stretchers ran, crouching, toward waiting helicopters.

Reviewed by Maggie Oldendorf
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Toni Jensen

I'll confess that when I read short stories, I often feel as if I'm having a snack, when what I want is a full meal. Not so with Toni Jensen's dazzling collection, From the Hilltop. In just a few pages, she manages to fill in the past, present and enough of the future to leave a reader satisfied. After I finished these stories, the only thing I was hungry for was more Toni Jensen. She's that good.

Reviewed by Kathleen Ambrogi
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Firoozeh Kashani-Sabet

Martyrdom Street is the first foray into fiction for Firoozeh Kashani-Sabet. Born and raised in Iran, she has been an outspoken advocate of political and cultural change in her home country, and is the author of several works of non-fiction about Iran.

Reviewed by Andy Barnes
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Yanick Lahens
Translated from the French by Betty Wilson

It's always good to be reminded of the diversity of talent from places that the rest of the world focuses on only in the most troubled times. Even before this year's terrible earthquake, Haiti was a by-word for poverty and violence. This anthology of short stories by Yanick Lahens, a first English translation for one of Haiti's foremost short story writers, is a timely reminder that the country has so much more to offer the world.

Reviewed by Andy Barnes
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Monique Proulx
Translated from the French by David Homel and Fred A. Reed

Monique Proulx's narrative is saturated with a gorgeous combination of words and images making up foliage as dense as a Canadian forest. Ants and mosquitoes bite at her prose while wild mushrooms tempt the reader's emotions, but not without their hidden poisons.

Reviewed by C. Lariviere

Closing Escape Hatches and Emerging Humor
Photo of Storm over Brisbane
Jean Hughes Raber looks at post-millennium dystopian novels by women.
Trio: Clarice Lispector
Photo of Clarice Lispector
Rachel Hayes reviews three books by the internationally acclaimed Brazilian author.
Listening to
Nawal el Saadawi

photo of Nawal el Saadawi
Coming from the International PEN "Free the Word!" festival, Charlotte Simpson introduces us to Egyptian writer, psychiatrist and political activist Nawal el Saadawi.
Awards & Nominations
graphic image of three floral squares
Looking for a great book to read? Here we present some of the recent award-winning or award-nominated books by women writers from around the world.