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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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Amelié Nothomb
Translated from the French by Alison Anderson

Prétextat Tach, Nobel laureate and one of the world's most renowned contemporary novelists, has only two months to live. He has been living in seclusion for years, refusing interviews and public appearances. But as news of his impending death leaks, intrepid journalists from all over the world flock to his home in the hope of getting an interview with the elusive Tach. Five journalists finally gain entry, but one after the other they discover that, far from being the literary luminary they imagined, Tach has become an obese misogynist, a petulant bigot, an embittered, disgusting madman. The world's most famous author turns out to be the worst misanthrope imaginable.

Nina, the fifth journalist to interview with Tach, will call his bluff and beat him at his own game. As Nina's questions fly and the author's biting responses arrive, Tach will be led to a final, definitive confrontation with the demons of his past.

Amélie Nothomb is one of Europe's most successful and controversial authors. She wrote Hygiene and the Assassin, her first published novel, when she was only twenty-five. Winner of the Fournier and René Fallet prizes, it is now published in English for the first time.

Europa Editions, paperback, 9781933372778

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Hella S. Haasse
Translated from the Dutch by Ina Rilke

Rudolf leaves his comfortable origins in Delft by ship for Java to help run the family's estates there. He moves from plantation to plantation, attempting to understand the ways of the local peoples, their version of Islam and their relationship to their land. On a visit to the capital, Jakarta, he falls in love with a teenage girl, Jenny, who he courts surreptitiously via his sister, with grave consequences for the reality of their relationships. Eventually they marry, and make a hard colonist-couple's life theirs, bear, lose and raise children, before Jenny on her visit to the home country discovers all the comforts of which she has been deprived in Java. Back at the plantation homestead, as the back-breaking work of establishing and maintaining business takes its toll on Rudolf, Jenny becomes estranged from him, and the bitter resentments of relatives eat at her until a terrible solution is achieved.

Portobello Books, hardcover, 9781846271700 (November)

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Caterina Albert
Translated from the Catalan by Kathleen McNerney

Caterina Albert i Paradís (1869-1966) began her career with a scandal. Her dramatic monologue "The Infanticide," narrated by a young woman, won prizes and garnered the attention of the Catalan literary world, but its harsh theme drew outrage when the drama's anonymous author was revealed to be a woman. In the tradition of George Eliot, George Sand, and other controversial women authors, Albert assumed a man's name, Víctor Catalá. She continued to write unflinching narratives, mostly in Catalan, of the people and life around her, producing a body of work still enlisted today to help the Catalan language resist the dominance and encroachment of peninsular Spanish. Albert shares with her contemporaries Anton Chekhov and Emilia Pardo Bazán an intense interest in the psychological development of characters and in narrative strategies, and the short stories collected here highlight her range of style and grasp of human nature.

Modern Language Association, paperback, 9781603290425

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Anna Starobinets
Translated from the Russian by Hugh Aplin

The title story of this collection, "An Awkward Age", spins the tale of a boy growing into adolescence, who appears to have been taken over by a colony of ants. His diary, initially expressed in the barely literate tones of a young child, becomes more accomplished and assured as the protagonist matures, and eventually begins to give way to the voice of the ruler of the anthill. Starobinets' style is flexible and direct, commendably unpretentious, and convincing. Despite the self-evident strangeness of the stories, their recognizably modern Russian settings and their exploration of relationships renders them an insightful take on the contemporary condition of man—in Russia and further afield.

Anna Starobinets is a young Russian journalist. This first book was nominated for the National Bestseller prestigious Russian prize as a manuscript—even before it was published.

Hesperus Press, hardback, 9781843917144

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Natalia Ginzburg
Translated from the Italian by Paul Lewis

Natalia Ginzburg (1916-1991) is today recognized as one of the foremost woman writers to emerge from twentieth-century Italy. The Complete Short Stories of Natalia Ginzburg brings together in English translation for the first time the eight short stories that Ginzburg wrote between 1933 and 1965.

These early works are significant in the context of Ginzburg's wider repertoire. The key themes and ideas occurring therein would come to characterize much of her later work, particularly in terms of her exploration of the difficulties implicit in developing and sustaining meaningful human relationships. Her short stories also provide intriguing insight into the development of her trademark literary style. Including an introduction by the translator and extensive contributions from Alan Bullock, Emeritus Professor of Italian at the University of Leeds, The Complete Short Stories of Natalia Ginzburg encourages a deeper understanding of Ginzburg's life's work and compliments those other collections and individual works which are already widely available in English.

University of Toronto Press, hardcover, 9780802099204 (December)

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George Sand
Translated from the French by Kathleen Robin Hart and Paul Fenouillet

"An admirable ruse, indeed! To inspire in me the horror of females, only to throw it in my face and say: but this is what you are."

The handsome, heroic heir to a vast estate, raised as a man to follow a man's pursuits and to despise women, is devastated to learn at the age of seventeen that he is in fact a she. Gabriel courageously refuses to give up her male privileges, and her tragic struggle to work and fight and love in all the ways she knows how offers a window into the obstacles faced by George Sand, the prolific intellectual woman whom the popular press portrayed as a promiscuous, cigar-smoking oddity in trousers. "Strange that the most virile talent of our time should be a woman's!" exclaimed a reviewer in 1838.

Modern Language Association, paperback, 9781603290784

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Johanna Adorján
Translated from the German by Anthea Bell

She is a healthy seventy-one-year-old woman. He is a dying eighty-two-year-old man. This couple, who have been united through the horrors of twentieth-century Europe, and through the joys of love and family, cannot live up to the vows they made nearly fifty years ago to stay together 'until death do us part': they will die as one, never to be parted. On 13 October 1991 they take their own lives, together. Sixteen years later, their granddaughter Johanna Adorjaacute;n digs through her family history to piece together the puzzle of the exotic and mysterious couple she knew only in fragments. She dares to give voice to her grandparents' experiences as Hungarian Jews in the Holocaust, which her family has always labelled 'something we don't talk about'. She learns, too, how these experiences have shaped her family and the person she is today. Not only a Holocaust memoir, An Exclusive Love is both a love story and a journey of self-understanding; beautifully told, vividly depicted and emotionally exquisite.

Text Publishing (AU), paperback, 9781921656569 (out in AU & NZ now, to be published elsewhere in January)

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Herta Müller
Translated from the German by Michael Huse and Philip Boehm

"I've been summoned. Thursday, ten sharp." Thus begins one day in the life of a young clothing-factory worker during Ceaucescu's totalitarian regime. She has been questioned before; this time, she believes, will be worse. Her crime? Sewing notes into the linings of men's suits bound for Italy. "Marry me," the notes say, with her name and address. Anything to get out of the country.

As she rides the tram to her interrogation, her thoughts stray to her friend Lilli, shot trying to flee to Hungary, to her grandparents, deported after her first husband informed on them, to Major Albu, her interrogator, who begins each session with a wet kiss on her fingers, and to Paul, her lover, her one source of trust, despite his constant drunkenness. In her distraction, she misses her stop to find herself on an unfamiliar street. And what she discovers there makes her fear of the appointment pale by comparison.

Herta Müller pitilessly renders the humiliating terrors of a crushing regime. Bone-spare and intense, The Appointment confirms her standing as one of the world's greatest writers.

Picador (US), paperback, 9780312655372

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Paola Corso

Catina's Haircut: A Novel in Stories spans four generations of a peasant family in the brutal poverty of post-Unification southern Italy and in an immigrant's United States. The women in these tales dare to cross boundaries by discovering magical leaps inherent in the landscape, in themselves, and in the stories they tell and retell of family tragedy at a time of political unrest. Through an oral tradition embedded in the stone of memory and the flow of its reinvention, their passionate tale of resistance and transformation courses forward into new generations in a new world.

Univ. Wisconsin Press, hardcover, 9780299248406