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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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Belle Boggs

Winner of the 2009 Bakeless Fiction Prize, Mattaponi Queen is a confident debut collection about life on and around the Mattaponi Indian Reservation in Virginia.

Set on the Mattaponi Indian Reservation and in its surrounding counties, the stories in this linked collection detail the lives of rural men and women with stark realism and plainspoken humor. A young military couple faces a future shadowed by injury and untold secrets. A dying alcoholic attempts to reconcile with his estranged children. And an elderly woman'Ős nurse weathers life with her irascible charge by making payments on a decrepit houseboat—the Mattaponi Queen. The land is parceled into lots, work opportunities are few, and the remaining inhabitants must choose between desire and necessity as they navigate the murky stream of possession, love, and everything in between.

Graywolf Press, paperback, 9781555975586

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Jean Kwok

Eleven-year-old Kimberly Chang has her world turned upside-down when political tumult and her father's death force her and her mother to flee Hong Kong and move to America. Living in a vermin-ridden apartment in Brooklyn, the pair only have each other and a sometimes working oven to keep warm. Neither of them speaks a word of English.

While Kim's mother spends her days earning two cents a garment at a sweatshop, intellectually gifted Kim faces a new and trying challenge: school. Exiled by language, estranged in a new culture, Kim fights for dignity, acceptance and survival against the bleakest of odds. And through it all, she struggles to piece together a picture of a father she hardly knew and longs for terribly. In this powerful story, Jean Fong Kwok spins a moving tale of hardship and overcoming, of heartbreak and love, of all that gets lost in translation and all that's said without words.

Jean Fong Kwok was born in Hong Kong and immigrated to Brooklyn, New York as a young girl. This is her first novel.

Riverhead, hardcover, 9781594487569
Fig Tree, paperback, 9781905490622 (July)

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Kathleen Winter

In 1968, into the beautiful, spare environment of remote coastal Labrador, a mysterious child is born: a baby who appears to be neither fully boy nor girl, but both at once. Only three people are privy to the secret -- the baby's parents, Jacinta and Treadway, and a trusted neighbour, Thomasina. Together the adults make a difficult decision: to raise the child as a boy named Wayne. But as Wayne grows to adulthood within the hyper-masculine hunting culture of his father, his shadow-self -- a girl he thinks of as Annabel -- is never entirely extinguished, and indeed is secretly nurtured by the women in his life.

Haunting, sweeping in scope, and stylistically reminiscent of Jeffrey Eugenides' Middlesex, Annabel is a compelling debut novel about one person's struggle to discover the truth in a culture that shuns contradiction.

House of Anansi Press, paperback, 9780887842368 (June)

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Farai Chideya

From nationally acclaimed political commentator and multimedia personality Farai Chideya comes an intense and darkly funny debut novel about a woman who learns what you stand to gain—and lose—if you follow your dreams.

Sophie Maria Clare Lee is no stranger to reinvention. A book-smart black girl from blue-collar Baltimore, she remade herself into a Harvard hipster, and finally into an indie rock musician touring America with her mesmerizing classmate (and now ex-husband) Ari Klein.

Now, ten years after graduation, a one-night musical reunion with Ari spurs Sophie to snatch back the mic. She lands a record deal—with the help of new manager and paramour Leo Masters—but quickly discovers that her celebrity status brings new risks for her sense of self and even her safety. As she and Ari play music together again, a complicated love triangle begins. With a Greek chorus of advice from her two best girlfriends, Sophie tries to figure out how she relates to these two men, the music business, her loving but demanding extended family, and her penchant for alcohol and melancholy. As the band tours the world, will Sophie's faith, family, and friendships crumble under the weight of her dogged fight for fame?

Washington Square Press, paperback, 9781416585954 (May)

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Ann Hood

After losing her infant daughter in a freak accident, Maya Lange opens The Red Thread, an adoption agency that specializes in placing baby girls from China with American families. Maya finds some comfort in her work, until a group of six couples share their personal stories of their desire for a child. Their painful and courageous journey toward adoption forces her to confront the lost daughter of her past. Brilliantly braiding together the stories of Chinese birth mothers who give up their daughters, Ann Hood writes a moving and beautifully told novel of fate and the red thread that binds these characters' lives. Heartrending and wise, The Red Thread is a stirring portrait of unforgettable love and yearning for a baby. Ann Hood is the author of ten books, including The Knitting Circle, Comfort, and Do Not Go Gentle. Her work has appeared in The Paris Review, Tin House, O:The Oprah Magazine and elsewhere.

W. W. Norton, hardcover, 9780393070200

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Brenda Niskala

The linked short stories in For the Love of Strangers feature prairie girl Kathy, but they wind through the working lives and the complicated cultural terrain of a handful of folks who could be anywhere.

These people are tied together in one way or another by the cattle trails on a farm in the Coteau Hills, the alleys of the city, the sandy paths of a lakeside resort, and all the roads in between.

The stories weave through more than twenty years, from 1980 to 2002. They take place in blizzards and barns, northern lakes, weathered towns and prairie cities; at a folk festival, a monastery, a protest march and on a whirlwind tour of the British Isles.

Coteau Books, paperback, 9781550504255

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Anna Quindlen

In this breathtaking and beautiful novel, author Anna Quindlen creates an unforgettable portrait of a mother, a father, a family, and the explosive, violent consequences of what seem like inconsequential actions.

Mary Beth Latham is first and foremost a mother, whose three teenaged children come first, before her career as a landscape gardener, or even her life as the wife of a doctor. Caring for her family and preserving their everyday life is paramount. And so, when one of her sons, Max, becomes depressed, Mary Beth becomes focused on him, and is blindsided by a shocking act of violence. What happens afterwards is a testament to the power of a woman's love and determination, and to the invisible line of hope and healing that connects one human being with another. Ultimately, in the hands of Anna Quindlen's mesmerizing prose, Every Last One is a novel about facing every last one of the the things we fear most, about finding ways to navigate a road we never intended to travel, to live a life we never dreamed we'd have to live but must be brave enough to try.

Random House, hardcover, 9781400065745

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Jocelyne Saucier
Translated from the French by Rhonda Mullins

It is 1933. A journalist travels to the small mining town of Rouyn in northern Quebec—a community that has become a refuge for Russians, Finns, Ukrainians, Chinese, and Jews. While there, he crosses paths with famed Canadian Marxist Jeanne Corbin, who has come to rally a group of striking workers, and sees his life forever changed. Jeanne's Road is an essential read, bringing to life a lost era of Quebec history through its powerful yet unsentimental love story.

Jocelyne Saucier has written two novels. Her previous novel, La vie comme une image, was shortlisted for the Governor General's Literary Award. Les hérioters de la mine was also met with critical acclaim and was a finalist for the Prix France-Québec Philippe-Rossillon. She was born in New Brunswick, and has lived in Honduras, Peru, and Togo, and now lives in the Abitibi region of Quebec.

Cormorant, paperback, 9781897151372 (June)

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Kira Henehan

Welcome to the off-kilter world of Finley, an investigator of indiscernible origins and prowess. Her assignment: the mysterious Professor Uppal and his puppets. The objective: impossible to say. But Finley is unassailable. She forges ahead with occasional assistance and hindrance from her colleagues Murphy, The Lamb, and Binelli, as well as the professor's beautiful daughter and her sinister artiste boyfriend. In her meticulous and completely unbiased report, Finley tracks the investigation's slow spiral back upon itself, as the clues she uncovers reveal questions that lead directly back to her own forgotten past.

Captivating and whimsical, idiosyncratic and deeply funny, Orion You Came and You Took All My Marbles finds inspiration in hard-boiled noir and the tortured quest of an existential inquiry. This novel marks the debut of a powerful, original voice.

Milkweed Editions, paperback, 9781571310750

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Anne Lamott

Rosie Ferguson is seventeen and ready to enjoy the summer before her senior year of high school. She's intelligent—she aced AP physics; athletic—a former state-ranked tennis doubles champion; and beautiful. She is, in short, everything her mother, Elizabeth, hoped she could be. The family's move to Landsdale, with stepfather James in tow, hadn't been as bumpy as Elizabeth feared.

But as the school year draws to a close, there are disturbing signs that the life Rosie claims to be leading is a sham, and that Elizabeth's hopes for her daughter to remain immune from the pull of the darker impulses of drugs and alcohol are dashed. Slowly and against their will, Elizabeth and James are forced to confront the fact that Rosie has been lying to them—and that her deceptions will have profound consequences.

This is Anne Lamott's most honest and heartrending novel yet, exploring our human quest for connection and salvation as it reveals the traps that can befall all of us.

Riverhead, hardcover, 9781594487514

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Marisa Silver

In this elegant, finely wrought new collection, Alone With You, Marisa Silver has created eight indelible stories that mine the complexities of modern relationships and the unexpected ways love manifests itself. Her brilliantly etched characters confront life's abrupt and unsettling changes with fear, courage, humor, and overwhelming grace.

In the O. Henry Prize-winning story "The Visitor," a VA hospital nurse's aide contends with a family ghost and discovers the ways in which her own past haunts her. The reticent father in "Pond" is confronted with a Solomonic choice that pits his love for his daughter against his feelings for her young son. In "Night Train to Frankfurt," first published in The New Yorker, a daughter travels to an alternative-medicine clinic in Germany in a gambit to save her mother's life. And in the title story, a woman vacations in Morocco with her family while contemplating a decision that will both ruin and liberate them all.

The nuanced voices of Alone With You bear the hallmarks of an instant classic from a writer with unerring talent and imaginative resource. Silver has the extraordinary ability to render her fictional inhabitants instantly relatable, in all their imperfections. Her stories have the singular quality of looking in a mirror. We see at once what is familiar and what is strange. In these stirring narratives, we meet ourselves anew.

Simon & Schuster, hardcover, 9781416590293

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Aimee Bender

On the eve of her ninth birthday, unassuming Rose Edelstein, a girl at the periphery of schoolyard games and her distracted parents' attention, bites into her mother's homemade lemon-chocolate cake and discovers she has a magical gift: she can taste her mother's emotions in the cake. She discovers this gift to her horror, for her mother—her cheerful, good-with-crafts, can-do mother—tastes of despair and desperation. Suddenly, and for the rest of her life, food becomes a peril and a threat to Rose.

The curse her gift has bestowed is the secret knowledge all families keep hidden—her mother's life outside the home, her father's detachment, her brother's clash with the world. Yet as Rose grows up she learns to harness her gift and becomes aware that there are secrets even her taste buds cannot discern.

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake is a luminous tale about the enormous difficulty of loving someone fully when you know too much about them. It is heartbreaking and funny, wise and sad, and confirms Aimee Bender's place as "a writer who makes you grateful for the very existence of language" (San Francisco Chronicle).

Doubleday, hardcover, 9780385501125 (June)

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Daphne Marlatt

Winner of the prestigious 2008 Uchimura Naoya Prize, "The Gull" is a play written in the classical Noh style. Set in 1950, when wartime restrictions on interned Japanese Canadians had finally been lifted, allowing them to return to the coast, it exquisitely dramatizes the historical link between the fishing town of Steveston, home to many of these first, second, and third generation Japanese Canadians, and Mio, the coastal village in Japan from which many of their ancestors originally emigrated. An international collaboration, "The Gull" premiere featured: Noh master Akira Matsui, declared an Important Intangible Cultural Asset by Japan in 1998, as the main actor; music by American Noh expert Richard Emmert; masks by Wakayama artist Hakuzan Kubo; and, a troupe of professional Noh musicians from Japan.

Daphne Marlatt was at the center of the West Coast poetry movement of the 1960s, studying at the University of British Columbia with Robert Creeley and others. She has written numerous books of poetry. Marlatt is a member of the Order of Canada.

Talon Books, paperback, 9780889226166

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Jennifer Egan

Jennifer Egan's spellbinding interlocking narratives circle the lives of Bennie Salazar, an aging former punk rocker and record executive, and Sasha, the passionate, troubled young woman he employs. Although Bennie and Sasha never discover each other's pasts, the reader does, in intimate detail, along with the secret lives of a host of other characters whose paths intersect with theirs, over many years, in locales as varied as New York, San Francisco, Naples, and Africa.

A Visit from the Goon Squad is a book about the interplay of time and music, about survival, about the stirrings and transformations set inexorably in motion by even the most passing conjunction of our fates. In a breathtaking array of styles and tones ranging from tragedy to satire to PowerPoint, Egan captures the undertow of self-destruction that we all must either master or succumb to; the basic human hunger for redemption; and the universal tendency to reach for both—and escape the merciless progress of time‒in the transporting realms of art and music. Sly, startling, exhilarating work from one of our boldest writers.

Random House, hardcover, 9780307592835 (June)

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June Jordan

A reissue of a comtemporary classic, nominated for a National Book Award in 1971, His Own Where is the story of Buddy, a fifteen-year-old boy whose world is spinning out of control. He meets Angela, whose angry parents accuse her of being "wild." When life falls apart for Buddy and his father, and when Angela is attacked at home, they take action to create their own way of staying alive in Brooklyn. In the process, the two find refuge in one another and learn that love is real and necessary. His Own Where was one of The New York Times' Most Outstanding Books and was on the American Library Association's list of Best Books in 1971.

Feminist Press, paperback, 9781558616585