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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. Remember—where you shop, these books might be sold under slightly different titles or ISBNs, in different formats or with different covers; however, the author's name is always likely to be the same!


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Margarita Karapanou
Translated from the Greek by Karen Emmerich

At the opening of Margarita Karapanou's stunning second novel, in disgust at mankind, God vomits a new Messiah onto the earth. Or rather, onto a Greek island. Populated by villagers, ex-pats, artists, and writers, this island is a Tower of Babel, a place where languages and individuals have been assembled, as though in wait for something as horrific and comic as this second coming. The Sleepwalker moves deftly and dizzyingly between genres—satire, murder mystery, magical realism, its own brand of Theater of the Absurd—following Manolis, the new Messiah, as he moves through this place like a sleepwalker, unaware to the very end, of his divine nature. Manolis, in his guise as a policeman, leaves nothing unchanged by his passing, as the island shifts from a conventional locale for upper-class tourists and drifters to a place where the surreal comes to life and the sun refuses to set. In The Sleepwalker Karapanou has created an unforgettable depiction of a dissolute world, desperately comic and full of compassion, a world in which both nightmare and miracle reside uneasily.

Margarita Karapanou (1946-2008) was one of Greece's most beloved contemporary writers. Her novels Kassandra and the Wolf and Rien ne va plus are both available from Clockroot Books.

Clockroot Books, paperback, 9781566568388

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Laurence Cossé
Translated from the French by Alison Anderson

Ivan, a one-time world traveler, and Francesca, a ravishing Italian heiress, are the owners of a bookstore that is anything but ordinary. Rebelling against the business of bestsellers and in search of an ideal place where their literary dreams can come true, Ivan and Francesca open a store where the passion for literature is given free reign. Tucked away in a corner of Paris, the store offers its clientele a selection of literary masterpieces chosen by a top-secret committee of likeminded literary connoisseurs. To their amazement, after only a few months, the little dream store proves a success. And that is precisely when their troubles begin. At first, both owners shrug off the anonymous threats that come their way and the venomous comments concerning their store circulating on the Internet, but when three members of the supposedly secret committee are attacked, they decide to call the police. One by one, the pieces of this puzzle fall ominously into place, as it becomes increasingly evident that Ivan and Francesca's dreams will be answered with pettiness, envy and violence.

See our review this issue….

Europa Editions, paperback, 9781933372822

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Julia Franck
Translated from the German by Anthea Bell

Winner of the German Book Prize, The Blindness of the Heart is a dark marvel of a novel by one of Europe's freshest young voices—a family story spanning two world wars and several generations in a German family. In the devastating opening scene, a woman named Helene stands with her seven-year-old son in a provincial German railway station in 1945, amid the chaos of civilians fleeing west. Having survived with him through the horror and deprivation of the war years, she abandons him on the station platform and never returns.

The story quickly circles back to Helene's childhood with her sister Martha in rural Germany, which came to an abrupt end with the outbreak of the First World War. Their father is sent to the eastern front, and their Jewish mother withdraws from the hostility of her surroundings into a state of mental confusion. As we follow Helene into adulthood, we are riveted as the costs of survival and ill-fated love turn her into a woman capable of the unforgivable.

See our review this issue….

Grove Atlantic Press, hardcover, 9780802119674
Harvill Secker, hardcover, 9781846552120

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Alison Pick

"I wish this were a happy story. A story to make you doubt, and despair, and then have your hopes redeemed so you could believe again, at the last minute, in the essential goodness of the world around us and the people in it." So begins the mysterious present-day narrator and the compelling saga that takes us deep inside the world of one Jewish family during the lead-up to the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1939.

House of Anansi, hardcover, 9780887842382

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Jenny Erpenbeck
Translated from the German by Susan Bernofsky

A house on the forested bank of a Brandenburg lake outside Berlin (once belonging to Erpenbeck's grandparents) is the focus of this compact, beautiful novel. Encompassing over one hundred years of German history, from the nineteenth century to the Weimar Republic, from World War II to the Socialist German Democratic Republic, and finally reunification and its aftermath, Visitation offers the life stories of twelve individuals who seek to make their home in this one magical, little house. The novel breaks into the everyday life of the house and shimmers through it, while relating the passions and fates of its inhabitants. Elegant and poetic, Visitation forms a literary mosaic of the last century, tearing open wounds and offering moments of reconciliation, with its drama and its exquisite evocation of a landscape no political upheaval can truly change.

Jenny Erpenbeck was born in 1967 in East Berlin. Erpenbeck has won various awards, including most recently the prestigious Swiss Southerner Literature Prize, and her works have been translated worldwide.

W.W. Norton, paperback, 9780811218351 (October)
Portobello Books, hardcover, 978184621892

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Anna Germanacos

Born in San Francisco, Anne Germanacos has lived between Greece and San Francisco for thirty years. Her stories are just as strange and tragic as the Greek myths they riff on. Using a spare, image-laden prose style, Germanacos focuses on discrete, telling moments to create fast-paced stories that pack a powerful punch. This is not your standard short story collection—it is an innovative work of literary prose as brilliant, concise, and potent as a bolt of lightning from the hand of Zeus.

Together with her husband, Nick Germanacos, Anna ran the Ithaka Cultural Studies Program on the islands of Kalymnos and Crete, and taught writing, literature, and Modern Greek. She holds an MFA from the Bennington Writing Seminars. Her stories have appeared in numerous literary journals. She was awarded the Holmes Award for emerging writers from Fourteen Hills. In the Time of the Girls is her first book.

Boa Editions, paperback, 9781934414385 (October)