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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 more than 80 new or notable books we hope will bring the world to you. Remember—depending on what country you are shopping in, these books might be sold under slightly different titles or ISBNs, in different formats or with different covers; or be published in different months. However, the author's name is always likely to be the same!


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Ludmila Ulitskaya
Translated from the Russian by Arch Tait

Daniel Stein, a Polish Jew, miraculously survives the Holocaust by working in the Gestapo as a translator. After the war, he converts to Catholicism, becomes a priest, enters the Order of Barefoot Carmelites and emigrates to Israel. Despite this seeming impossibility, the life and destiny of Daniel Stein are not an invention, the character is based on the life of Oswald Rufeisen, the real Brother Daniel, a Carmelite monk.

In Daniel Stein, Interpreter, Daniel's ability and willingness to communicate with all cultures, to translate across linguistic and cultural divides, assures his freedom and stands as a symbol of love, humanity and tolerance.

Ludmila Ulitskaya was born in the Urals. Shortly before perestroika she became Repertory Director of the Hebrew Theatre of Moscow. She is the author of fourteen fiction books, three children's books and six plays. She is Russia's bestselling novelist and was recently named a laureate of the Simone de Beauvoir Prize, an international human rights prize for women's freedom.

Overlook Press, hardcover, 9781590203200

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Esther Kinsky
Translated from the German by Martin Chalmers

Summer Resort, the first novel by noted translator Esther Kinsky, is set in a village somewhere on the endless Hungarian plain. It is the hottest summer in memory and everyone in the village dreams of the sweet life in Üdülö, a summer resort on a river. The characters that populate Summer Resort tell stories—comic, tragic, or both—of life in rural Hungary. Tales of onion kings and melon pickers, of scrapyards and sugar beet factories, paint a vivid and human picture of their world

In the course of the novel, the storytellers' paths intersect at the summer resort with the bar owner Lacibacsi, the Kozak Boys and their fat and pale wives, and the builder Antal, who introduces a mysterious new woman to the inhabitants of the resort. The stranger disrupts their otherwise staid summer routines—with surprising, unpredictable consequences.

Seagull Books, hardback, 9781906497880

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Sarah Quigley

In June 1941, Nazi troops march on Leningrad and surround it. Hitler's plan is to shell, bomb, and starve the city into submission. Most of the cultural elite are evacuated early in the siege, but Dmitri Shostakovich, the most famous composer in Russia, stays on to defend his city, digging ditches and fire-watching. At night he composes a new work. But after Shostakovich and his family are forced to evacuate, only Karl Eliasberg—a shy and difficult man, conductor of the second-rate Radio Orchestra—and an assortment of musicians are left behind in Leningrad to face an unendurable winter and start rehearsing the finished score of Shostakovich's Leningrad Symphony.

Sarah Quigley is a fiction writer, poet, non-fiction writer and reviewer. She has received and been short-listed for several high profile awards and has been published in anthologies in New Zealand and the UK. Having been the recipient of the Berlin Writers' Residency, she now lives in Berlin.

Vintage NZ, paperback, 9781869795061 (May)

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Margaret Mazzantini
Translated from the Italian by Ann Gagliardi

Filled with memories of the four-year siege of Sarajevo, Gemma reluctantly boards a flight from her native Rome to that war-scarred city with her sixteen-year-old son, Pietro. She hopes to teach her son about the city of his birth and about Diego, the father he never knew. Once there Gemma is caught between the present and the past, reliving her love affair with Diego, their determination to start a family, and their deep connection to Sarajevo even as the threat of war loomed.

In this haunting and sophisticated novel, Mazzantini masterfully probes the startling emotional territory of what makes a family—particularly what makes a mother. As the fate of Sarajevo converges with Gemma's all-consuming desire to have a child we see how far she is driven, in a stunning revelation that is both heartbreaking and cathartic.

Margaret Mazzantini lives in Rome with her husband and four children. Twice Born won Italy's Premio Campiello. Her previous novel Don't Move sold 1.5 million copies in Italy, won the Premio Strega and became a feature film directed by her husband, Sergio Castellitto and starring Penelope Cruz.

Viking, hardcover, 9780670022687 (May)

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Irmgard Keun
Translated from the German by Kathie von Ankum

In 1931, a young woman writer living in Germany was inspired by Anita Loos's Gentlemen Prefer Blondes to describe pre-war Berlin and the age of cinematic glamour through the eyes of a woman. The resulting novel, The Artificial Silk Girl, became an acclaimed bestseller and a masterwork of German literature, in the tradition of Christopher Isherwood's Berlin Stories and Bertolt Brecht's Threepenny Opera. Like Isherwood and Brecht, Keun revealed the dark underside of Berlin's "golden twenties" with empathy and honesty. Unfortunately, a Nazi censorship board banned Keun's work in 1933 and destroyed all existing copies of The Artificial Silk Girl. Only one English translation was published, in Great Britain, before the book disappeared in the chaos of the ensuing war. Today, more than seven decades later, the story of this quintessential "material girl" remains as relevant as ever, as an accessible new translation brings this lost classic to light once more. Other Press is pleased to announce the republication of The Artificial Silk Girl, elegantly translated by noted Germanist Kathie von Ankum, and with a new introduction by Harvard professor Maria Tatar.

Other Press, paperback, 9781590514542 (June)

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Irmgard Keun
Translated from the German by Anthea Bell

Sanna and her ravishing friend Gerti would rather speak of love than politics, but in 1930s Frankfurt, politics cannot be escaped--even in the lady's bathroom. Crossing town one evening to meet up with Gerti's Jewish lover, a blockade cuts off the girls' path—it is the Füher in a motorcade procession, and the crowd goes mad striving to catch a glimpse of Hitler's raised "empty hand." Then the parade is over, and in the long hours after midnight Sanna and Gerti will face betrayal, death, and the heartbreaking reality of being young in an era devoid of innocence or romance.

In 1937, German author Irmgard Keun had only recently fled Nazi Germany with her lover Joseph Roth when she wrote this slim, exquisite, and devastating book. It captures the unbearable tension, contradictions, and hysteria of pre-war Germany like no other novel. Yet even as it exposes human folly, the book exudes a hopeful humanism. It is full of humor and light, even as it describes the first moments of a nightmare. After Midnight is a masterpiece that deserves to be read and remembered anew.

Melville House, paperback, 9781935554417 (May)

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Inka Parei
Translated from the German by Katy Derbyshire

In The Shadow-Boxing Woman, a decaying apartment building in post-Wall Berlin is home to Hell, a young woman with a passion for martial arts. When Hell's neighbour disappears she sets out across the city in search of her. In the course of her quest, she falls in love with a bank robber, confronts her own dark memories, and ends up saving more than just her missing neighbour. What is on the surface a crime novel is actually a haunting dual portrait of a city and a woman caught up in times of change and transition. This debut novel combines Parei's tight prose with a compulsive delight in detail that dynamically evokes many lost and overlooked corners of Berlin.

Seagull Books, hardcover, 9781906497958 (May)

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Minna Canth
Translated from the Finnish by Richard Impola

The Burglary and The House of Roinila are two early plays of Finland's pioneer 19th century woman playwright, Minna Canth. They represent her innocent period, depicting rural people and showing a strong sense for comedy. These two plays portend Canth's subsequent radical plays of social criticism in the spirit of the modern breakthrough in Scandinavian literature. They are the first in a series of Minna Canth's plays to be published by Aspasia Books.

Minna Canth (1844-1897) is one of Scandinavia's most influential playwrights of the latter 19th century, which was dominated by Norwegian Henrik Ibsen and Swedish August Strindberg. Her most influential plays are The Worker's Wife (1885), The Parson's Family (1891) and Anna-Liisa (1895).

Aspasia Books, hardcover, 9780986716409

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Andrea H. Japp
Translated from the French by Lorenza Garcia

Andrea H. Japp's series of Medieval crime novels, the Agnes de Squarcy Chronicles, are now available in English begins with The Season of the Beast. The Season of the Beast is the first of the series.

'The season of the beast was near — ' 1304. The King of France and the Church are locked in a battle for power that will also decide the fate of the Knights Templar and Hospitaller. Meanwhile in the Normandy countryside, young widow Agnes de Souarcy, the beautiful lady of the manor, is fighting to retain her independent way of life, aware that her spiteful half-brother will do anything to destroy her. These two different worlds collide in the forest near Souarcy, where a terrifying creature begins to kill and mutilate a succession of monks on their way to deliver a secret message of momentous importance. In the first Agnes de Souarcy Chronicle, Andrea Japp offers the reader a fast-paced, multi-layered mystery within a richly imagined portrait of medieval France.

Andrea H. Japp is one of the grande dames of French crime writing with over twenty novels published. She is a toxicologist by profession and weaves this knowledge into her books, giving them particular authenticity. Subsequent books in the series are: The Breath of the Rose (2) and The Divine Blood (3)

Gallic Books, paperbacks, various ISBNs

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Esi Edugyan

Berlin, 1939. A young, black, brilliant trumpet-player, Hieronymus, is hauled off by the Nazis to Sachsenhausen based on the colour of his skin. As the novel unfolds, Sid, the narrator and conscience of the novel, details the friendships, love affairs, and treacheries that led to Hiero's horrific fate. From the smoky bars of pre-war Berlin to the salons of Paris, Sid, with his distinctive and compelling German-American slang, leads the reader through a fascinating, little-known world, and into the heart of his own guilty conscience.

Half-Blood Blues, the second novel by an exceptionally talented young writer, is an electric, heart-breaking story about music, race, love and loyalty, and the sacrifices we ask of ourselves, and demand of others, in the name of art.

Esi Edugyan has degrees from the University of Victoria and Johns Hopkins University. Her work has appeared in several anthologies, including Best New American Voices 2003. Her debut novel, written when she was 25, The Second Life of Samuel Tyne, was published internationally. She currently lives in Victoria, British Columbia.

Serpent's Tail, paperback, 978-1846687754 (June)
Lester & Orpen Dennys, hardcover, 9780886194567

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Oksana Zabuzhko
Translated from the Ukrainian by Halyna Hryn

Called "the most influential Ukrainian book for the 15 years of independence", Field Work in Ukrainian Sex by Oksana Zabuzhko is the tale of one woman's personal revolt provoked by a top literary scandal of the decade. The author, a noted Ukrainian poet and novelist, explains: "When you turn 30, you inevitably start reconsidering what you have been taught in your formative years—that is, if you really seek for your own voice as a writer. In my case, my personal identity crisis had coincided with the one experienced by my country after the advent of independence. The result turned explosive: Field Work in Ukrainian Sex."

Award-winning author Oksana Zabuzhko was born in 1960 in Ukraine. She made her poetry debut at the age of 12, yet, because her parents had been blacklisted during the Soviet purges of the 1970s, it was not until the perestroika that her first book was published. She graduated from the department of philosophy of Kyiv Shevchenko University, obtained her PhD in philosophy of arts, and has spent some time in the USA lecturing as a Fulbright Fellow and a Writer-in-Residence at Penn State University, Harvard University, and University of Pittsburgh. She has authored 17 books of poetry, fiction, and non-fiction, which have been translated into fifteen languages.

AmazonCrossing, paperback, 9781611090086