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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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Marie Manilla

Still Life with Plums is a vibrant collection of short stories that weaves together the outwardly distant lives of several strangers. With heaping doses of dark humor and magical realism, these ten stories enliven a cast of characters scattered throughout the southern portion of the United States. From West Virginians, to Texans and Latinos, Still Life with Plums mines the lives of a Black-Irish West Virginian, a wise-cracking dog groomer, a guilt-ridden ambulance driver, a Guatemalan widow, a Japanese-Latin-American poster child for WWII reconciliation, and a meticulous predator. Marie Manilla's accessible prose is powerful and richly layered as she births a quirky ensemble that unflinchingly probes the human psyche.

Vandalia Press, paperback, 9781933202600

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Rachel Wyatt

Three women with time on their hands tackle a charitable cause in this novel about the pleasures of worshipping someone from afar, and the difficulties involved in trying to make the world a better place. Dorothy Graham writes unsent letters to people she admires, and to a few she despises. As well, in her retirement she has time to pursue her other hobby—interfering in the lives of others. Seeing the mess that the world is in, she and her cohorts Kate and Elsie decide to put together a fund-raising effort for a charity organization. It soon becomes clear to them that putting the universe to rights, in ways large or small, is not an easy task.

Coteau Books (CAN), paperback, 9781550504484

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Linda LeGarde Grover

In this stirring collection of linked stories, Linda LeGarde Grover portrays an Ojibwe community struggling to follow traditional ways of life in the face of a relentlessly changing world.

With its attention to the Ojibwe language, customs, and history, this unique collection of riveting stories illuminates the very nature of storytelling. The Dance Boots narrates a century's evolution of Native Americans making choices and compromises, often dictated by a white majority, as they try to balance survival, tribal traditions, and obligations to future generations.

Univ. of Georgia Press, paperback, 9780820335800

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Patti Grayson

Autumn, One Spring is a humour-infused drama that takes truthfulness in relationships seriously. Autumn constantly berates herself for making people unhappy when she opens her big mouth, but can't stop herself from stating frankly all she sees, hears, and thinks. Grayson's Autumn is a young woman who has transformed from a love poem-writing teenager with a crush on her high-school English teacher, Mr. Ashton, to a world-weary working single mom. Returning to her hometown brings her face to face with both Gabriel Ashton and the father of her child, forcing her to open doors to new life possibilities. Autumn's well-developed character touches a chord in anyone who has ever experienced love's cruel injustice, and the ever-spiraling plot keeps her readers glued to the page to see what the final outcome will be.

Turnstone Press (CAN), paperback, 9780888013743

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Yelizaveta P. Renfro

These linked short stories, all set in Nebraska, feature a range of characters: a bus driver mourning the death of his infant, an octogenarian preparing for death, a girl trying to cope with her parents' divorce, and a woman whose obsession with a decades-old crime has taken over her life.

Yelizaveta P. Renfro was born in the former Soviet Union to a Russian mother and American father, and previously lived in Russia, California, and Virginia.

Black Lawrence Press, paperback, 9780982622889

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Ntozake Shange and Ifa Bayeza

Award-winning writer Ntozake Shange and real-life sister, award-winning playwright Ifa Bayeza achieve nothing less than a modern classic in this epic story of the Mayfield family. Opening dramatically at Sweet Tamarind, a rice and cotton plantation on an island off South Carolina's coast, we watch as recently emancipated Bette Mayfield says her goodbyes before fleeing for the mainland. With her granddaughter, Eudora, in tow, she heads to Charleston. There, they carve out lives for themselves as fortune-teller and seamstress. Dora will marry, the Mayfield line will grow, and we will follow them on an journey through the watershed events of America's troubled, vibrant history—from Reconstruction to both World Wars, from the Harlem Renaissance to Vietnam and the modern day. Shange and Bayeza give us a monumental story of a family and of America, of songs and why we have to sing them, of home and of heartbreak, of the past and of the future, bright and blazing ahead.

St. Martin's Press, hardcover, 9780312198992

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Christine Sneed

The ten stories in this striking debut collection examine the perils of love and what it means to live during an era when people will offer themselves, almost unthinkingly, to strangers. Risks and repercussions are never fully weighed. People leap and almost always land on rocky ground. May-December romances flourish in these stories, as do self-doubt and, in many cases, serious regret. Mysterious, dangerous benefactors, dead and living artists, movie stars and college professors, plagiarists, and distinguished foreign novelists are among the many different characters. No one is blameless, but villains are difficult to single out-everyone seemingly bears responsibility for his or her desires and for the outcome of difficult choices so often made hopefully and naively. Winner of the Grace Paley Prize in Short Fiction.

Univ. of Massachusetts Press, hardcover, 9781558498587

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Myrna Dey

When she makes the chance discovery of a framed sepia photograph of her grandmother and her twin sister, RCMP Constable Arabella Dryvynsydes decides to investigate how a picture taken in 1914 in the mining town of Extension, B.C. wound up at a garage sale in small-town Saskatchewan almost one hundred years later. As Arabella sifts through caches of long-forgotten letters and unearths long-buried memories, she pieces together the heartbreaking truth of her family history and resolves a nearly century-old murder. In her debut novel, Myrna Dey skillfully moves back and forth between two time periods and two memorably resourceful heroines.

NeWest Press (CAN), paperback, 9781897126684

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Cynthia Ozick

Cynthia Ozick is one of America's literary treasures. For her sixth novel, she set herself a brilliant challenge: to retell the story of Henry James's The Ambassadors—the work he considered his best—but as a photographic negative, that is the plot is the same, the meaning is reversed. At the core of the story is Bea Nightingale, a fiftyish divorced schoolteacher whose life has been on hold during the many years since her brief marriage. When her estranged, difficult brother asks her to leave New York for Paris to retrieve a nephew she barely knows, she becomes entangled in the lives of her brother's family and even, after so long, her ex-husband. Every one of them is irrevocably changed by the events of just a few months in that fateful year. Traveling from New York to Paris to Hollywood, aiding and abetting her nephew and niece while waging a war of letters with her brother, facing her ex-husband and finally shaking off his lingering sneers from decades past, Bea Nightingale is a newly liberated divorcee who inadvertently wreaks havoc on the very people she tries to help.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, hardcover, 9780547435572

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Mariko Nagai

In her first collection of short stories, Mariko Nagai weaves together ten tales of rural survival in a world ravaged by famine, war, and religious conflict. Largely inspired by Japanese folk tales and history, and yet timeless, these stories depict humanity's limits faced with imprisonment, tests of faith, sexual coercion, and abandonment of family. The title story, named for a pastoral form of poetry, centers around a village of women—all but one of the men having already departed and died in war—plunged into starvation, and the dark choices the survivors must make. Yet Nagai's tales are timeless and universal in their depiction of the human spirit's endurance in the face of extremes in human conflict and rural life. Winner of the G. S. Sharat Chandra Prize for Short Fiction, selected by Jonis Agee.

BkMk press (Univ. of Missouri), paperback, 9781886157767 (December)

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Valerie Trueblood

From the author of Seven Loves comes this austere, passionately shaped collection of stories that courageously explores the dynamic nature of modern marriage, the life-shattering heartbreak that often accompanies its collapse, and the fickle way in which the boundaries between us can be broken, erased, and newly defined. Trueblood unites past and present through her characters' complex personalities as she skillfully unravels their tumultuous relationships, giving readers a glimpse into marital circumstances that, though often tragic, will surely ring familiar.

Counterpoint, paperback, 9781582435985

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Frances Washburn

Hazel Latour and 12-year-old Stella live on a small farm, on a reservation run by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Their daily lives are disrupted when, one Easter Sunday, a glorious white turkey makes her home in their chicken coop. Stella sees this as a good omen, believing the turkey to be holy, but Hazel insists it's just a dumb bird and is unafraid of arousing the ire of the head of the tribal leasing office, George Wanbli, a medicine man who she sees as a rival. Clients flock to Hazel, the bird bringing prosperity, but word gets out about the turkey, provoking Wanbli's jealousy. He attempts to crucify the bird and slaughter her chicks, but they miraculously return to life. The author weaves a charming, plainspoken tale of two people who have only each other until a bird gives them the courage to battle the forces of corruption and evil.

Frances Washburn is also the author of Elsie's Business, a modern retelling of the Lakota Deer Woman story. She grew up on the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota and received her degrees at the University of Mexico. She is currently a professor of Indian studies at the University of Arizona.

Bison Books, paperback, 9780803228467

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Jessica Treadway

Please Come Back To Me, winner of the Flannery O'Connor Prize for Short Fiction, is another remarkable collection by an author the New York Times has called "a writer with an unsparing bent for the truth."

On the surface, Jessica Treadway's stories offer realistic portrayals of people in situations that make them question their roles as family members, their ability to do the right thing, and even their sanity. But Treadway's psychic landscapes are tinged with a sense of the surreal, inviting readers to recognize—as her characters do—that very little is actually as it seems.

Univ. of Georgia Press, hardcover, 9780820335841

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Ann Beattie

When Ann Beattie began publishing short stories in The New Yorker in the mid-seventies, she emerged with a voice so original, and so uncannily precise and prescient in its assessment of her characters' drift and narcissism, that she was instantly celebrated as a voice of her generation. Subtle, wry, and unnerving, she is a master observer of the unraveling of the American family, and also of the myriad small occurrences and affinities that unite us. Her characters, over nearly four decades, have moved from lives of fickle desire to the burdens and inhibitions of adulthood and on to failed aspirations, sloppy divorces, and sometimes enlightenment, even grace.

Scribner, hardcover, 9781439168745

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Susan Froderberg

Katherine is 17, living alone in the beautiful, desolate landscape of southern Arizona. Her mother is feckless, her father busy with his new family. Meeting Son, the scion of a local rancher, seems like deliverance. They marry and live as a family in his parents' venerable adobe house, but it soon becomes clear that Son is a man who, as his father says, has a "young heart near withered beneath the breastbone." Katherine must find her own way during a dangerous months-long drought, when everything seems to be disintegrating around her. Susan Froderberg's incantatory language—and her deep knowledge of both the complexities of a small, deeply-rooted place and the human heart—make Old Border Road soar.

Little, Brown and Co., hardcover, 9780316098779 (December)

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Tanna Patterson-Z

This meticulously researched novel, a fictionalized account of the 1998 kidnapping of driller Edward Leonard by Colombian guerrillas, guides readers deep into the physical and political terrain of a beautiful but dangerous country that remains off-limits to the casual traveller. At once a suspense thriller and an engrossing work of journalism, Butterflies in Bucaramanga is a story of a man who gets caught in the collision between Western corporate imperatives and revolutionary politics—and whose unlikely obsession with the beautiful blue Morpho butterfly proves key to his survival.

NeWest Press (CAN), paperback, 9781897126707