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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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Shih Shu-Ching
Translated by Howard Goldblatt and Sylvia Li-chun Lin

From its beginnings as a pestilent port and colonial backwater, Hong Kong became the "pearl" of a declining British empire, and then ascended to its present status as a gleaming city of commerce. Throughout its history, Hong Kong has been steeped in drama, intrigue, and seismic social shifts. Shih Shu-Ching, an acclaimed Taiwanese writer, sets her epic tale of one beautiful and determined woman's family amid this rich and colorful history, capturing in vivid, panoramic detail the unique tensions and atmosphere that characterize the city. Critically praised and long popular in the Chinese-speaking world, City of the Queen is now available for the first time in English.

Columbia Univ. Press, hardcover, 9780231134569; paperback (abridged), 9780231134576

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Hiromi Kawakami
Translated from the Japanese by Michael Emmerich

Twelve years have passed since Kei's husband, Rei, disappeared and she was left alone with her three-year-old daughter. Her new relationship with a married man—the antithesis of Rei—has brought her life to a numbing stasis, and her relationships with her mother and daughter have spilled into routine, day after day. Kei begins making repeated trips to the seaside town of Manazuru, a place that jogs her memory to a moment in time she can never quite locate. Her time there by the water encompasses years of unsteady footing and a developing urgency to find something.

Through a poetic style embracing the surreal and grotesque, a quiet tenderness emerges from these dark moments. Manazuru is a meditation on memory—a profound, precisely delineated exploration of the relationships between lovers and family members. Both startlingly restless and immaculately compact, Manazuru paints the portrait of a woman on the brink of her own memories and future.

Counterpoint, paperback, 9781582436005

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Tie Ning

Realistic accounts of ordinary people's daily lives are characteristic of Tie Ning's novels, through which she brings to light her characters' inner worlds. Through her characters' spiritual insights she also conveys emotions, which reflect today's society. With the burdens of status and money playing an increasingly important role in modern society, Tie Ning explores the deeper needs of human beings, appealing for mutual tolerance and understanding as well as honest spiritual communication, and begging for a return to warmer and kinder traditional values. Her novels are distinctive, direct, and full of melodic and poetic language, which together have create a spiritual and romantic world.

Tie Ning, born in Beijing in 1957, is the current president of the Chinese Writers' Association. Throughout her long literary career she has produced more than 50 novels and collections of essays, and over a hundred novellas and short stories. She has won six national literary prizes, and received more than 30 honors for her novels and essays.

Reader's Digest Association, hardcover, 9781606521526

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Ruiyan Xu

Li Jing, a high-flying financier, has just joined his father for dinner at the grand Swan Hotel in central Shanghai when, without warning, the ground begins to rumble. It shifts like a pre-historic animal, then explodes in a roar of hot, unfurling air. As Li Jing drags his unconscious father out of the collapsing building, a single shard of glass whistles through the air and neatly pierces his forehead. In an instant, Li Jing's ability to speak Chinese is obliterated. After weeks in hospital, all that emerge from his mouth are unsteady phrases of the English he spoke as a child growing up in Virginia. His wife, Zhou Meiling, whom he courted with beautiful words, finds herself on the other side of an abyss, unable to communicate with her husband and struggling to put on a brave face— for the sake of Li Jing's floundering company, and for their son, Pang Pang. A neurologist who specialises in Li Jing's condition—bilingual aphasia—arrives from the US to work with Li Jing, to coax language back onto his tongue. A sensitive exploration of the power of words and of silence, The Lost and Forgotten Languages of Shanghai is a wonderfully evocative debut about love and language, and duty and passion, in a vibrant modern city.

Bloomsbury, paperback, 9781408802205

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Yiyun Li

In these spellbinding stories, Yiyun Li gives us exquisite fiction filled with suspense, depth, and beauty, in which history, politics, and folklore magnificently illuminate the human condition.

In the title story, a professor introduces her middle-aged son to a favorite student, while unaware of the student's true affections. In "A Man Like Him," a lifelong bachelor finds kinship with a man wrongly accused of an indiscretion. In "The Proprietress," a reporter from Shanghai travels to a small town to write an article about the local prison, only to discover a far more intriguing story involving a shopkeeper who offers refuge to the wives and children of inmates. In "House Fire," a young man who suspects his father of sleeping with his wife seeks the help of a detective agency run by a group of feisty old women.

Written in lyrical prose and with stunning honesty, Gold Boy, Emerald Girl reveals worlds strange and familiar, and cultures both traditional and modern, to create a mesmerizing and vibrant landscape of life.

Random House (US), hardcover, 9781400068135
HarperCollins (UK), hardcover, 9780007303120

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Xu Xi

Somewhere between Hong Kong and New York, life does an abrupt shift for Gail Szeto, when her mother, her last family member, is killed in an accident. For Gail, a mixed-race, single mother who had buried her young son less than two years prior, all she has left is a hard-won career at a global investment bank. Life rapidly goes into free fall for this woman with a complicated past, who was once so sure of her direction in life, but can now see no future path. Shortlisted for the inaugural Man Asian Literary Prize, this novel offers an international cast of characters in New York, Hong Kong and Shanghai.

Haven Books, paperback, 9789881896728