This is an archived issue of Belletrista. If you are looking for the current issue, you can find it here
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!


Book cover
Mariléne Phipps-Kettlewell

Mariléne Phipps-Kettlewell's award-winning stories transport you to Haiti—to a lush, lyrical, flamboyant, and spirit-filled Haiti where palm trees shine wet with moonlight and the sky paints a yellow screen over your head and the ocean sparkles with thousands of golden eyes—and keep you there forever. Her singular characters mysteriously address the deeper meanings of human existence. They also dream of escape, whether from themselves, from family, from Vodou, from financial and cultural difficulties and the politicians that create them, or from the country itself, but Haiti will forever remain part of their souls and part of the thoughts of her readers.

"Mariléne Phipps-Kettlewell's The Company of Heaven heralds the fiction debut of a brilliant and insightful storyteller. With the sensitivities of the poet and visual artist that she is, Phipps-Kettlewell brings us these lyrical, funny, quirky, and memorable stories from the Haiti of both near and far. A book not to be missed, The Company of Heaven takes us to both heaven and hell and many places in between, but always with innovation, honesty, and grace." —Edwidge Danticat

Univ. of Iowa Press, paperback, 9781587299216

Book cover
Ana Maria Shua
Translated from the Spanish by Andrea G. Labinger

In Death as a Side Effect, Ana María Shua's brilliantly dark satire transports readers to a dystopic future Argentina where gangs of ad hoc marauders and professional thieves roam the streets while the wealthy purchase security behind fortified concrete walls and the elderly cower in their apartments in fear of being whisked off to state-mandated "convalescent" homes, never to return. Abandoned by his mistress, suffocated by his father, and estranged from his demented mother and ineffectual sister, Ernesto seeks his vanished lover. Hoping to save his dying father from the ministrations of a diabolical health-care system, he discovers that, ultimately, everyone is a patient, and the instruments wielded by the impersonal medical corps cut to the very heart of the social fabric.

The world of this novel, with its closed districts, unsafe travel, ubiquitous security cameras, and widespread artificiality and uncertainty, is as familiar as it is strange—and as instructive, in its harrowing way, as it is deeply entertaining. The Spanish edition has been selected by the Congreso de la Lengua Española as one of the one hundred best Latin American novels published in the last twenty-five years.

Ana María Shua has published more than forty books in many genres, including poetry, children's fiction, and Jewish folklore, and her work has been translated into numerous languages. She lives in Buenos Aires. Read our review of this book in this issue.

Univ. of Nebraska, paperback, 9780803229891 (December)

Book cover
Ena Lucía Portela
Translated from the Spanish by Achy Obejas

One Hundred Bottles, with its intersecting characters and unresolved whodunits, can be read as a murder mystery. But it's really a survivor's story. In a voice that blends gossip, storytelling, and literature, Z—the vivacious heroine of Portela's award-winning novel—relates her rum-soaked encounters with the lesbian underground, the characters carving up her home, and the terrifying-but-irresistible Moisés. As entertaining as any detective drama, One Hundred Bottles is ultimately made real by very rough love, intense friendship, and something small that decides to live.

Ena Lucía Portela was born in Cuba and is the author of numerous works of fiction, including this novel, winner of the 2002 Jaén Prize. This is her first novel published in English.

Univ. of Texas Press, paperback, 9780292723320

Book cover
Sandra Rodriguez Barron

In 1979, five toddlers were found alone in a luxury boat tied to a dock in Puerto Rico after a devastating hurricane. No one knew who they were or where they came from. Raised by different families, they remained connected by a special bond—always considering themselves siblings, despite their unknown blood relations. Now adults, Taina, Holly, Adrian, and Raymond have been summoned by the fifth, David, to an island off the coast of Connecticut and the family home of David's ex-girlfriend, Julia. But along with the joy of reuniting comes the exposure of raw places, jealousy, and childhood sorrows. David pushes the people he loves the most to their emotional breaking points in order to uncover the truth about the mystery that both unites and divides them. Intensely gripping and lyrically written, Stay with Me is a magnificent blend of romance, suspense, atmosphere, and intrigue that brilliantly explores the true meaning of family and the remarkable ways a personal history can paint a future.

Sandra Rodriguez Barron is the author of The Heiress of Water, winner of the International Latino Book Award for debut fiction. The recipient of a Bread Loaf Fellowship and a National Association of Latino Arts and Culture Grant, she was born in Puerto Rico, lived in the Dominican Republic and El Salvador, and now lives with her family in Connecticut.

Harper, paperback, 9780061650628

Book cover
Lucía Puenzo
Translated from the Portuguese by David William Foster

Affluent Lala and impoverished Guayi, her Paraguayan maid, are determined to pursue their romance despite overwhelming disparities in class and status. Although they have plotted a future together near Paraguy's Ypacaraí Lake, Guayi's native region, a shocking discovery and an even more shocking reaction lead Lala to depart without her disappeared lover.

As she ventures by bus far from her privileged Buenos Aires home, Lala delves into Guayi's past, in due time encountering the disturbing legend of the fish boy who is said to guide drowning victims to the bottom of the lake. By turns sordid, thrilling, and comic, Puenzo's debut novel explores the character and choices of two strong-willed young women through the vehicle of the economic and social circumstances of two South American nations where archaic elements coexist with shrill modernity.

Lucía Puenzo, whose film adaptation of this, her first novel, premiered at the 2009 Berlin Film Festival, earned her degree in literature at the University of Buenos Aires and studied at the National Film Institute. As a scriptwriter, she has received a foreign-language Oscar nomination and the Grand Prix de la Semaine de la Critique at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival for "XXY".

Texas Tech University, paperback, 9780896727144

Book cover
Susana Chevez-Silverman

A woman living and communicating in multiple lands, Susana Chávez-Silverman conveys her cultural and linguistic displacement in a humorous, bittersweet, and even tangible way in this truly bilingual literary work. These meditative and lyrical pieces combine poignant personal confession, detailed daily observation, and a memorializing drive that shifts across time and among geocultural spaces. The author's inventive and flamboyant use of Spanglish, a hybrid English-Spanish idiom, and her adaptation of the confessional "crónica" make this memoir compelling and powerful. Killer Cróincas confirms that there is no Latina voice quite like that of Susana Chávez-Silverman.

"This is not a memoir written outside the box; it is a memoir written to obliterate it." —Publishers Weekly

Univ. of Wisconsin Press, paperback, 9780299202248

Book cover
Jan Lowe Shinebourne

Pairing Caribbean wounds with the grievances of political Islam, this intriguing novel begins as a sad story of unrequited love on a Guyanese sugar estate that descends into the obsessive world of stalking and the temptations of Jihad. Told through the eyes of Albert Aziz, a Guyanese Indian Muslim, the story opens with his boyhood memory of falling from a tree and being badly injured, after which he develops a compelling attraction to a young Chinese girl, Alice Wong, who lives on the same sugar estate. Now, years later, Aziz is a highly paid engineer in the Canadian nuclear industry. Although he has a new and prosperous life, he still nurtures racial resentments about the way he was treated as a child and has become a supporter of radical Islam. He also begins to fixate again on Alice and tracks her down. He finds that she is divorced and living in England and asks her to marry him. Though Aziz is telling the story, it is clear that Alice's apprehension is slowly mounting as she fears the consequences of what might happen if she turns him down.

Jan Lowe Shinebourne was born in Guyana and now lives in Sussex, U.K. She is writing her fourth work, a family saga spanning the nineteenth and twentieth centuries; set in China, Europe and the Caribbean.

Peepal Tree Press, paperback, 9781845231514 (November)

Book cover
Patrícia Melo
Translated from the Portuguese by Clifford Landers

Maiquel is an ex-contract killer who's been a fugitive for ten years—ever since his girlfriend Erica ran off with his daughter Samantha, took up with an evangelical pastor and disappeared as completely from his life as Maiquel himself has disappeared from the front pages of the Brazilian newspapers. Then his aunt dies, leaving him a house and a savings account and a fresh chance to find the lost world of his onetime family. Converting his new assets to cash and breaking all the rules in the book (including his own), Maiquel sets out to find the man who stole his girlfriend and daughter.

Patrícia Melo won France's Prix Femina and Deux Océans for this 1995 novel, which was also listed in World Literature Today as one of the best Brazilian novels of the 1990s. A novelist, scriptwriter, and playwright, Melo currently lives in São Paulo, Brazil.

Bloomsbury, paperback, 978140880154