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...
Book cover
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
Book cover
Trezza Azzopardi

The Song House once again revives the theme of past secrets. Maggie Nix turns up at Earl House in a freakish heatwave, interviewing for a job as assistant to the elderly Kenneth Earl. Increasingly aware of the shortcomings of his own memory, Kenneth has decided he needs to create a memoir, constructed around his voluminous library of recordings. Charmed by Maggie, he offers her the job…

Reviewed by Rachael Beale
Book cover
Adania Shibli
Translated from the Arabic by Paula Haydar

This lyrical novella invites you into the world of an observant little girl who lives with her parents and eight sisters in current-day Palestine. She is the littlest one in the family, and one gets the sense that she is loved, but is a tad neglected. Everyone is always busy, so she escapes into a private space where she observes the things that make up her everyday world: colors, silence, movement, and language.

Reviewed by Akeela Gaibie-Dawood
Book cover
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.

Reviewed by Andy Barnes
Book cover
Petina Gappah

This debut collection of short stories from Petina Gappah was the winner of the 2009 Guardian First Book Award, and was shortlisted for the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award, two of the more prestigious literary prizes. Gappah was born in Zimbabwe….

Reviewed by Darryl Morris

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.