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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!

Reviews
Click on 'Reviews' to see the full list of this issue's reviews...
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THE CHALK CIRCLE MAN
Fred Vargas
Translated from the French by Siân Reynolds

Unusual, unorthodox, and uncanny is how I might sum up the detective we are introduced to in Fred Vargas's first "Commissaire Adamsberg" mystery. And if you are a seasoned reader of detective fiction, this novel—this detective—may cause you to question the very reasons you read in this genre.
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Reviewed by Kate Morgan
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HOTEL IRIS
Yoko Ogawa
Translated from the Japanese by Stephen Snyder

Hotel Iris was published in Japan in 1996 and only now, 14 years later, is it finally available in English. Fortunately, thanks to the efforts of Stephen Snyder, it is worth waiting for.
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Reviewed by Andy Barnes
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GRANADA
Radwa Ashour
Translated from the Arabic by Wiliam Granara

If there's one time and place I wish I could travel to, it's Moorish Spain; al-Andalus has long had a strange fascination for me, with its extraordinarily developed culture—architecture which continues to amaze us today, some of the greatest thinkers of the time, flourishing literature and music—set against the stunning backdrop of the Spanish landscape.
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Reviewed by Rachel Hayes
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FROM WŎNSO POND
Kang Kyŏng-ae
Translated from the Korean by Samuel Perry

What a journey this book has taken! In order to fully appreciate this treasure of Korean literature, you will need some background information before you start to read. From Wŏnso Pond first appeared in serialised form in a daily newspaper in Korea. Although published as a novel in 1940, the book did not pick up a wide readership in Korea until 1953. It was another fifty-six years before it would be translated into English.
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Reviewed by Amanda Meale
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WILDLIVES
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.
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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.