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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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Lan Samantha Chang

At the renowned writing school in Bonneville, every student is simultaneously terrified of and attracted to the charismatic and mysterious poet and professor Miranda Sturgis, whose high standards for art are both intimidating and inspiring. As two students, Roman and Bernard, strive to win her admiration, the lines between mentorship, friendship, and love are blurred.

Roman's star rises early, and his first book wins a prestigious prize. Meanwhile, Bernard labors for years over a single poem. Secrets of the past begin to surface, friendships are broken, and Miranda continues to cast a shadow over their lives. What is the hidden burden of early promise? What are the personal costs of a life devoted to the pursuit of art? All Is Forgotten, Nothing Is Lost is a brilliant evocation of the demands of ambition and vocation, personal loyalty and poetic truth.

W.W. Norton, hardcover, 978039306366

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Antonya Nelson

Catherine and Oliver, young wife and older entrepreneurial husband, are negotiating their difference in age and a plethora of well-concealed secrets. Oliver, now in his sixties, is a serial adulterer and has just fallen giddily in love yet again. Catherine, seemingly placid and content, has ghosts of a past she scarcely remembers. When Catherine's long-forgotten high school friend dies and leaves Catherine the guardian of her teenage daughter, that past comes rushing back. As Oliver manages his new love, and Catherine her new charge and darker past, local news reports turn up the volume on a serial killer who has reappeared after years of quiet.

In a time of hauntings and new revelations, Nelson's characters grapple with their public and private obligations, continually choosing between the suppression or indulgence of wild desires. Which way they turn, and what balance they find, may only be determined by those who love them most.

Bloomsbury US, hardcover, 9781596915756

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Julia Glass

In a historic farmhouse outside Boston, seventy-year-old Percy Darling is settling happily into retirement: reading novels, watching old movies, and swimming naked in his pond. His routines are disrupted, however, when he is persuaded to let the beloved local preschool take over his barn. As Percy sees his rural refuge overrun by children, parents, and teachers, he must reexamine the solitary life he has made in the three decades since the sudden death of his wife. No longer can he remain aloof from his community, his two grown daughters, or, to his shock, the precarious joy of falling in love.

With equal parts affection and satire, Julia Glass spins a captivating tale about the loyalties, rivalries, and secrets of a very particular family. Yet again, she plumbs the human heart brilliantly, dramatically, and movingly.

Pantheon, hardcover, 9780307377920

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Carol Cassella

Claire is at the start of her medical career when she falls in love with Addison Boehning, a biochemist with blazing genius and big dreams. A complicated pregnancy deflects Claire's professional path, and she is forced to drop out of her residency. Soon thereafter Addison invents a simple blood test for ovarian cancer, and his biotech start-up lands a fortune. Overnight the Boehnings are catapulted into a financial and social tier they had never anticipated or sought.

Then Addison gambles everything on a cutting-edge cancer drug, and when the studies go awry, their comfortable life is swept away. Claire and her daughter, Jory, move to a dilapidated ranch house in rural Hallum, where Claire has to find a job until Addison can salvage his discredited lab. Her only offer for employment comes from a struggling public health clinic, but Claire gets more than a second chance at medicine as a new mystery unfolds that threatens to destroy her family and forces her to question what it truly means to heal.

Simon & Schuster, hardcover, 9781416556121

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Hélène Rioux
Translated from the French by Jonathan Kaplansky

Rioux explores the landscape of the written word in search of lost paradises. It is a collection of interconnected tales in which people from vastly different walks of life are united in their search—spanning cultures, histories, and geographies—for what they have lost and what they never had: a soulmate, a soul, childhood, and a reason to go on living.

Hélène Rioux has published poetry, news articles, short stories, translations, and seven novels. She received the Prix France-Québec and the Prix Ringuet de l'Académie des Lettres du Québec in 2008 for Mercredi soir au Bout du monde, the Grand Prix littérare du Journal de Montréal, and the Prix de la Société des écrivains canadiens for Chambre avec Baignoire in 1992. She has been a finalist for the Governor General's Literary Award five times.

Cormorant Books (CAN), paperback, 9781897151891

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Jo-Ann Mapson

Solomon's Oak is the story of three people who have suffered losses that changed their lives forever. To make ends meet, Glory Solomon, a young widow, is using the chapel her husband built on their central California farm, under a 200-year-old white oak tree, as a place to hold unusual weddings. Fourteen-year-old Juniper McGuire is the surviving member of a family decimated by a local kidnapping. Juniper arrives on Glory's doorstep, pierced, tattooed, angry and homeless. Joseph Vigil is a former Albuquerque police officer and crime lab photographer who was shot during an assignment. Now disabled and in constant pain, he came to California to photograph the giant trees of the state.

Jo-Ann Mapson's deeply felt, wise and warm portrayal of broken souls finding their way back to humanity shows how these three people—along with a host of dogs, horses and goats—enter and transform each other's lives.

Bloomsbury US, hardcover, 9781608193301
Bloomsbury UK, paperback, 97801408810682

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Sheila Heti

For reasons multiple and mysterious, Sheila finds herself in a quandary of self-doubt, questioning how a person should be in the world. Inspired by her friend Margaux—a painter—and her seemingly untortured ability to live and create, Sheila casts Margaux as material, embarking on a series of recordings in which nothing is too personal, too ugly, or too banal to be turned into art. Along the way, Sheila confronts a cast of painters who are equally blocked in an age in which "the blow job is the ultimate artform." She begins questioning her desire to be Important, her quest to be both a leader and a pupil, and her unwillingness to sacrifice herself.

Searching, uncompromising and yet mordantly funny, How Should a Person Be? is a brilliant portrait of art-making and friendship from the psychic underground of Canada's most fiercely original writer.

House of Anansi PRess (CAN), hardcover,9780887842405

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Vickie Weaver

Billie Girl, written with dark humor, is the story of a misguided woman. Born in 1900, she's raised by two women who are, unknown to all, brothers. The brother-mothers employ murder and euthanasia to protect Billie Girl, and pow! Her life becomes a series of events controlled by the strangers she encounters: the handyman, Dove, her guardian; her first husband, Judge, a gentlemanly, moneyed bigamist who is not a judge; the almost-gay man who teaches her the art of self-induced orgasm; her long-lost daughter Forda (yes, named after a car); a preacher's wife whose religious loneliness of heart shoves her into the arms of another woman; and Billie Girl's second husband, whose platonic love almost makes her happy. She's dying in a nursing home, secretly practicing euthanasia, before her beliefs about love and compassion are put to the test.

Leapfrog Press, paperback, 9781935248125

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Gish Jen

Two years after the death of her husband, it is time for Hattie Kong—the spirited offspring of a descendant of Confucius and an American missionary to China—to start over. She moves to the town of Riverlake, where she is soon joined by an immigrant Cambodian family on the run from their inner-city troubles, as well as—quite unexpectedly—by a just-retired neuroscientist ex-lover named Carter Hatch. All of them are, like Hattie, looking for a new start in a town that might once have represented the rock-solid base of American life but that is itself challenged, in 2001, by cell-phone towers and chain stores, struggling family farms and fundamentalist Christians.

What Hattie makes of this situation is at the center of a novel that asks deep and absorbing questions about religion, home, America, what neighbors are, what love is, and, in the largest sense, what "worlds" we make of the world.

Knopf, hardcover, 9780307272195

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Bonnie Bowman

Walter Finch is an ungainly kid who survives his cloying suburban childhood to make it only as far as the local mall, where he rises through the ranks to become manager of a shoe store. As he delves further into his passion for shoe design alone in his apartment at night, Walter comes to believe that if he can design the perfect women's shoe, he will ultimately find the perfect foot to fit it. His mission becomes all-consuming and plunges Walter into a separate reality, his own fairy tale. As things spin steadily out of control, Walter's eventual salvation arrives in an unlikely form, should he choose to recognize and accept it.

Anvil Press (CAN), paperback, 9781897535271

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Karen Joy Fowler

In her moving and elegant new collection, New York Times bestseller Karen Joy Fowler writes about John Wilkes Booth's younger brother, a one-winged man, a California cult, and a pair of twins, and she digs into our past, present, and future in the quiet, witty, and incisive way only she can.

The sinister and the magical are always lurking just below the surface: for a mother who invents a fairy-tale world for her son in "Halfway People"; for Edwin Booth in "Edwin's Ghost," haunted by his fame as "America's Hamlet" and his brother's terrible actions; for Norah, a rebellious teenager facing torture in "The Pelican Bar" as she confronts Mama Strong, the sadistic boss of a rehabilitation facility; for the narrator recounting her descent in "What I Didn't See."

With clear and insightful prose, Fowler's stories measure the human capacities for hope and despair, brutality and kindness. This collection, which includes two Nebula Award winners, is sure to delight readers, even as it pulls the rug out from underneath them.

Small Beer Press, hardcover, 978931520683

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Anusree Roy

A moving and heartfelt play, Pyaasa illustrates with subtlety and nuanced truth the inequalities and injustices that persist through the Indian caste system. Letters to My Grandma weaves together the remarkable stories of two women, inextricably linking their histories and delving into how the hatred bred between Hindus and Muslims in the Old World consumes families in Canada today.

Anusree Roy was born and raised in Calcutta, India, before moving with her family to Toronto. Roy is a recent graduate of the Graduate Centre for Study of Drama at the University of Toronto. Since graduating she has met with great success with Pyaasa, winning two Dora Mavor Moore Awards for Outstanding New Play and Outstanding Performance.

Playwrights Canada Press, paperback, 9780887549113

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Mary Helen Stefaniak

A big-hearted story of a Depression-era small town turned upside down by a worldly teacher. Narrator Gladys Cailiff is eleven years old in 1938 when a new, well-traveled young schoolteacher turns a small Georgia town upside down. Miss Grace Spivey believes in field trips, Arabian costumes, and reading aloud from her ten-volume set of The Thousand Nights and a Night. The real trouble begins when she decides to revive the annual town festival as an exotic Baghdad bazaar. Miss Spivey transforms the lives of everyone around her: Gladys's older brother Force (with his movie-star looks), her pregnant sister May (a gifted storyteller herself), and especially the Cailiffs' African American neighbor, young Theo Boykin, whose creative genius becomes the key to a colorful, hidden history of the South.

W.W. Norton, hardcover, 9780393063103

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Nicole Krauss

A powerful, soaring novel about a stolen desk that contains the secrets, and becomes the obsession, of the lives it passes through. For twenty-five years, a reclusive American novelist has been writing at the desk she inherited from a young Chilean poet who disappeared at the hands of Pinochet's secret police; one day a girl claiming to be the poet's daughter arrives to take it away, sending the writer's life reeling. Across the ocean, in the leafy suburbs of London, a man caring for his dying wife discovers, among her papers, a lock of hair that unravels a terrible secret. In Jerusalem, an antiques dealer slowly reassembles his father's study, plundered by the Nazis in Budapest in 1944.

Connecting these stories is a desk of many drawers that exerts a power over those who possess it or have given it away. As the narrators of Great House make their confessions, the desk takes on more and more meaning, and comes finally to stand for all that has been taken from them, and all that binds them to what has disappeared.

W. W. Norton, hardcover, 9780393079982

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Alice Randall

"What starts off as a drive from Nashville to Birmingham quickly moves across the globe as Randall (The Wind Done Gone) unravels the life of Abel Jones. The day Abel was born, sweet tucked deep in the dark South, Langston Hughes, out west on a speaking tour, typed a little poem in celebration…. Abel was colored-baby royalty—but things aren't always so sweet. Abel faces run-ins with the KKK and, after a short lifetime as an angry husband and father and a secretive spy, meets his untimely end in the bathroom of a campy dinner theater restaurant. We learn most of his history via his first wife, Hope, following her journey from a young Georgetown matron to the present (thoughts on President Obama and all). As she tries to reconcile Abel's right to tell necessary lies to his wife, and to whomever else he chose, she discovers what it is that bound them together in the first place. Randall leaves much to the imagination, but in the end, she successfully creates a family that's been torn apart and haphazardly put back together by forces sometimes terrifying, sometimes hopeful." —Publishers Weekly

Bloomsbury US, paperback, 9781608192359 (October)

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Kate Evans

Matthew Molloy, bright and educated, longs to leave behind his miserable existence on a small farm in Ireland. He yields to pressure and sets aside his dream until one day, he walks away, leaving his wife and small son to fend for themselves.

In the summer of 1971, his granddaughter Nora finds herself in Shoal Cove, Newfoundland, where Peg Barry reveals the secrets of Matthew's reclusive life. The story slips back and forth between Ireland in the early 1900s, a country struggling to rediscover its identity and restore its nationhood, and Newfoundland in the 1940s, a country about to relinquish its nationhood and join Canada.

Born in Co. Sligo, Ireland, Kate Evans now lives with her husband Tony in St. John's, Newfoundland. She is a teacher of English as a Second Language and has taught in Dublin, London, Montreal, and Bangkok.

Breakwater Books (CAN), paperback, 9781550813272

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Adrienne Sharp

Ninety-nine years old, with a sharp memory for every jewel she owned and every conquest she made, Mathilde Kschessinska—prima ballerina assoluta of the long-vanished Russian Imperial Ballet—sits down to write her memoirs.

And what a life it has been. The greatest dancer of the age, her scything technique caught the eye—and heart—of one Nikolai Romanov when she was only seventeen years old. When Nikolai ascended the throne as czar and was forced to give up his mistress, she turned her gaze on his cousins, the grand dukes; despite betraying each man with the other, her loyalty to Niki never wavered. As the last czar presided over a fatally crumbling empire, her devotion to the imperial family was tested in ways she could never have foreseen.

Farrar, Straus & Giroux, hardcover, 9780374207304 (October) XXX

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Renee Rodin

Composed of stories that sketch the resonant heights and depths of an autobiography, Subject to Change is a series of portraits along the road of a life well-lived. Each story is an articulate, intelligent, passionate record of how an encounter with a significant "other," be it a parent, a lover, a neighbour, a child, a grandchild, a politician or a friend, has changed and shaped the humanity, character and community—the "subject"—of the writer.

Writer, visual artist, and cultural worker Renee Rodin was born and raised in Montreal. Her writing has appeared in numerous periodicals, and her visual work, generally photographic, has been displayed widely.

Talon Books (CAN), paperback, 9780889226449 (October)