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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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Angela Carter, ed.

This bestselling collection of stories extols the female virtues of discontent, sexual disruptiveness and bad manners Here are subversive tales? by Ama Ata Aidoo, Jane Bowles, Angela Carter, Colette, Bessie Head, Jamaica Kincaid and Katherine Mansfield among others? all have one thing in common: the wish to restore adventuresses and revolutionaries to their rightful position as models for all women Reflecting the wide-ranging intelligence and deliciously anarchic taste of Angela Carter, some of these stories celebrate toughness and resilience, some of them low cunning: all of them are about not being nice.

Virago, hardback, 9781844086979 (reprint, December)

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Michelle Paver

January 1937. Clouds of war are gathering over a fogbound London. Twenty-eight year old Jack is poor, lonely and desperate to change his life. So when he's offered the chance to be the wireless operator on an Arctic expedition, he jumps at it. Spirits are high as the ship leaves Norway: five men and eight huskies, crossing the Barents Sea by the light of the midnight sun. At last they reach the remote, uninhabited bay where they will camp for the next year. Gruhuken. But the Arctic summer is brief. As night returns to claim the land, Jack feels a creeping unease. One by one, his companions are forced to leave. He faces a stark choice. Stay or go. Soon he will see the last of the sun, as the polar night engulfs the camp in months of darkness. Soon he will reach the point of no return—when the sea will freeze, making escape impossible. And Gruhuken is not uninhabited. Jack is not alone. Something walks there in the dark.

Orion, hardcover, 9781409123781

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Kate Hoyland

Three strangers travel to Asia to escape their past. For a while the city seems tranquil, but soon they find themselves in a country experiencing violent political turmoil. Leaving the city with Van, a political dissident, they embark on a hazardous journey up river. As the dangers increase, bonds of friendship, trust and love develop and each reveals a story, but as they each confront what it is they had hoped to escape, political events come to a head.

Cinnamon Press, paperback, 9781907090202

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Polly Samson

n an English seaside town, lovers and children, young men and middle-aged women weave in and out of each other's lives and stories. A mother is tormented by her daughter's tattoo; another only pretends to love her baby. A wife stalks her husband and his new lover; a broken egg through a letterbox tells a story that will not go away; the cat thinks he knows best. Threaded throughout are longings for love and poignant disappointments, surprising pleasures and temptations. Some will fall but some, like the small boy at the circus who sees his babysitter fly past on a trapeze wearing little more than a blue bra and spangles, will retain their feeling of awe.

Virago, hardcover, 97818604999920

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Padrika Tarrant

In the house where Marie lives, the cutlery is running wild. Madness and fairy story creep hand in hand in this darkly comic tale. At the top of a narrow driveway there is a shambling Victorian house full of dust and stairs. The walls inside are ancient emulsion, sloughing off the distemper walls in gorgeous ribbons. The mice that infest the dining room chimney-breast are living out their own dreams and nightmares, learning voodoo and the meaning of love and forgiveness. In The Knife Drawer, dead bodies miraculously vanish as if scraped to nothing by pudding spoons. Marie's mother has rather lost her wits since she did away with her husband. She could swear they're out to get her; even the house gets messy on purpose, all by itself. Marie is a gentle soul and tries to do her best for her strange ragtag household, but all the love in the world can't hold back an avalanche. In The Knife Drawer the steak knives grow so hungry that they scream. When the children murder the rent man, things get a little out of hand ….

Salt Publishing, paperback, 9781844717255

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Margaret Oliphant

ASLA Annual Volumes No. 4. Much of Margaret Oliphant's fiction examines the position of women and the injustice and sterility of denying women outlets of fulfillment, most notably in 'Kirsteen', one of her last and greatest novels written originally in 1890. More information is available on the Margaret Oliphant website.

Assoc. for Scottish Literary Studies, paperback 9780948877995

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Margiad Evans

A gothic tale of passion, violence, cruelty and unexpected tenderness. In this her third novel, Margiad Evans conjures a tempestuous and sometimes sinister world of rural and small town border life in early twentieth century.

Margiad Evans was born Peggy Whistler in Uxbridge in 1909, but it was the Border Country around Ross-on-Wye which became central to her consciousness and her writing. She took the name Margiad Evans to reflect this sense of identity. Her first novel, Country Dance, was published in 1932, and is known as 'The Welsh Wuthering Heights'. She also produced poetry and art, as well as two memoirs, including an account of her experiences of epilepsy. She died of a brain tumour in 1958.

Parthian Books, paperback, 9781906998288 (November)

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Gladys Cole

In 1916, William Manderson, a young poet and infantryman, leaves Liverpool for the Western Front where his older brother Jack is already serving. During the build-up to the great offensive on the Somme, William keeps a journal, sends intimate letters to Jack's wife Elizabeth and writes poetry reflecting his experiences. He longs for news of his close friend and fellow soldier, Matthew Riley, a composer and pianist.

Set during and in the aftermath of the War and moving between Liverpool, France, Wirral and North Wales, Clay vividly evokes period and place. It also conveys with sensitivity both the physical and psychological effects of war injuries and mutilation, as the characters of the novel struggle to cope and readjust. A victim of poison gas, William—half-Welsh and yearning for the Clwydian Hills—attends the dramatic 1917 National Eisteddfod in Birkenhead, a pivotal moment in the story. Turbulent events in post-war Liverpool form the climax to a gripping narrative of endurance, creativity and love.

Flambard Press, paperback, 9781906601195

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Shena Mackay

Shena Mackay is one of the very best short-story writers in the world. As the Guardian said, reviewing her last collection, 'Mackay's observational precision is outstanding; she writes like an angel wielding a scalpel, dissecting her characters with sublime, sharp-edged prose… Her stories are grand entertainment.' Or the Literary Review: 'The heart lifts at the prospect of a collection of stories by Shena Mackay. You can be certain of various elements: laughter, a touch of the blade, underlying shadows, wit, sharpness of perception.'

Her new book, now available in paperback, contains not only thirteen brilliant new stories, but a selection of twenty-three more from her previous collections, making The Atmospheric Railway a delight for her existing admirers and the perfect introduction to her work for newcomers.

Vintage, paperback, 9780099469674

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Siobhán Parkinson

Set in an artists' colony in Skagen in Denmark, Painted Ladies is a fictional story based on the actual lives of artists living and working there around the turn of the 20th century. The story centres around Marie Kroyer, who met the famous artist and leading light of the Skagen art movement, Peter Soren Kroyer, when she was a young art student, and married him. The other main character is Anna Ancher, a native of Skagen who married one of the artists at an early age and went on to become herself perhaps the finest artist of them all.

New Island Press (IRE), paperback, 9781848400818

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Susannah Rickards

Typically we lie to each other four times a day and the commonest lie told is, 'I'm fine.' The characters in Hot Kitchen Snow go one step further: they lie to themselves. This collection explores the gap between how others see us and how we see ourselves. Teenage Euan is guest of honour at a mystery funeral; door-to-door dog-food seller Greg sets out to find the girl whose life he once saved, to lessen his sense of failure. The tiny everyday decisions that account for some of life's biggest developments are charted here, often represented by a charged scrap from nature: a fall of snow from a skylight reminds a city banker of everything he lacks in 'Hot Kitchen Snow', and in 'Odissi Dancing', scarlet chrysanthemums sewn into a fat college administrator's hair assure her of what she never knew she had. Here the bad do good and the pious wreak havoc. No one is as they seem or as they think they are.

Salt Publishing, paperback, 9781844717989

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India Knight

It's Christmas morning. Happily married Alice is stuffing a turkey and having improper thoughts about a colleague. Soon children, relatives, in-laws, exes and strays will gather at her house for Christmas Day, to eat too much, drink too much and exchange insufficiently impressive gifts.They'll also exchange slights, hurts, animosities, crushes and secrets—big, big secrets—and by Boxing Day nothing will be the same. Will love save the day? Is blood thicker than water? Or are families just the world's biggest nightmare? A blackly funny, tender dissection of the meaning of love—family love, sibling love, children love—Comfort and Joy will make you laugh and cry.

Fig Tree, hardcover, 9781905490738

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Catherine Chanter

The disquieting novella-length title piece in this extraordinary collection is told by the owner of a house for sale: 'Today is my 31st birthday but I have struggled to find a mirror in a room which is open to me. In the end I looked in the toaster unable to tell whether the stains and blemishes were on the stainless steel of the appliance or the stainless steel of my face. My hair is still its natural colour. Natural. That is not a word many people would use about me. Abnormal. Dysfunctional. Difficult was a favourite when I was young.' As prospective buyers are shown around, each room gives away a piece of the strange, disturbing and compelling narrative.

Complemented by short stories that crackle with wit and strangeness this is a brilliant debut collection.

Cinnamon Press, paperback, 9781907090240 (December)

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Monica Dickens

The Winds of Heaven is a 1955 novel about 'a widow, rising sixty, with no particular gifts or skills, shunted from one to the other of her more or less unwilling daughters on perpetual uneasy visits, with no prospect of her life getting anything but worse' (Afterword). One daughter is the socially ambitious Miriam living in commuter belt with her barrister husband and children; one is Eva, an aspiring actress in love with a married man; and the third is Anne, married to a rough but kindly Bedfordshire smallholder who is the only one who treats Louise with more than merely dutiful sympathy. The one relation with whom she has any empathy is her grandchild.

Monica Dickens (1915 - 1992) had the knack of writing about ordinariness while making the reader unable to put her books down. It is about family relationships: it seems rather cruel that all three of Louise's daughters are so harsh to her but that, Monica Dickens is saying, is the way of the world. Preface by A. S. Byatt.

Persephone Books, paperback, 9781903155806