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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!

Click on 'Reviews' to see the full list of this issue's reviews...
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Adriana Lisboa
Translated from the Portuguese by Sarah White

Symphony in White is a tale of two sisters. Clarice and Maria Inês, daughters of Afonso and Octacilia Olimpio, came of age in Brazil in the 1960s and 1970s during the period of military dictatorship. Lisboa does not directly comment upon the political situation in Brazil during that time, but the political repression is mirrored in the stifling atmosphere of the Olimpio family and the secrets they keep.

Reviewed by Jane Anderson Jones
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Annie Ernaux
Translated from the French by Jonathan Kaplansky

The literal translation of the book's title, "Exterior Life" or "The Life Outside", fits nicely with its content, as it is a series of brief observations and random thoughts about people and events that exist outside of the life of the narrator….

Reviewed by Darryl Morris
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Isla Morley

Prospective readers may not choose to read a novel reviewed as harrowing, sometimes depressing, difficult to read (without a box of tissues to wipe away tears), with a protagonist who is at times drawn unsympathetically. However, for readers who are willing to cast this aside, Come Sunday is a rewarding and beautifully written book.

Reviewed by Ceri Evans
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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
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Elisabeth Rynell
Translated from the Swedish by Victoria Häggblom

It came as no surprise to discover that Elisabeth Rynell is a poet as well as a novelist; as I read To Mervas I had the sense that every single word had been carefully chosen to paint a particular picture, that no other word would do, and that they were all equally important.

Reviewed by Rachel Hayes

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.