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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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Banana Yoshimoto
Translated from the Japanese by Michael Emmerich

While The Lake shows off many of the features that have made Banana Yoshimoto famous—a cast of vivid and quirky characters, simple yet nuanced prose, a tight plot with an upbeat pace—it's also one of the most darkly mysterious books she's ever written. It tells the tale of a young woman who moves to Tokyo after the death of her mother, hoping to get over her grief and start a career as a graphic artist. She finds herself spending too much time staring out her window, though … until she realizes she's gotten used to seeing a young man across the street staring out his window, too.

They eventually embark on a hesitant romance, until she learns that he has been the victim of some form of childhood trauma. Visiting two of his friends who live a monastic life beside a beautiful lake, she begins to piece together a series of clues that lead her to suspect his experience may have had something to do with a bizarre religious cult…. With its echoes of the infamous, real-life Aum Shinrikyo cult (the group that released poison gas in the Tokyo subway system), The Lake unfolds as the most powerful novel Banana Yoshimoto has written. And as the two young lovers overcome their troubled past to discover hope in the beautiful solitude of the lake in the countryside, it’s also one of her most moving.

Banana Yoshimoto wrote her first novel, Kitchen, while working as a waitress at a golf-course restaurant. It sold millions of copies worldwide. Yoshimoto has gone on to be one of the biggest-selling and most distinguished writers in Japanese history, winning numerous awards for her work. The Lake is her thirteenth book of fiction.

Melville House, paperback, 9781933633770 (May)

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Tahmima Anam

Pankaj Mishra praised A Golden Age, Tahmima Anam's debut novel, as a "startlingly accomplished and gripping novel that describes not only the tumult of a great historical event … but also the small but heroic struggles of individuals living in the shadow of revolution and war." In her new novel, The Good Muslim, Anam again deftly weaves the personal and the political, evoking with great skill and urgency the lasting ravages of war and the competing loyalties of love and belief.

In the dying days of a brutal civil war, Sohail Haque stumbles upon an abandoned building. Inside he finds a young woman whose story will haunt him for a lifetime to come…. Almost a decade later, Sohail's sister, Maya, returns home after a long absence to find her beloved brother transformed. While Maya has stuck to her revolutionary ideals, Sohail has shunned his old life to become a charismatic religious leader. And when Sohail decides to send his son to a madrasa, the conflict between brother and sister comes to a devastating climax. Set in Bangladesh at a time when religious fundamentalism is on the rise, The Good Muslim is an epic story about faith, family, and the long shadow of war.

Tahmima Anam was born in Dhaka, Bangladesh, and grew up in Paris, Bangkok, and New York. She holds a PhD in social anthropology from Harvard University. A Golden Age, her first novel, was the winner of the Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best First Book. She lives in London and Dhaka.

Canongate Books, hardcover, 9781847679734 (May); Harper Collins, hardcover, 9780061478765 (August)

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Bharati Mukherjee

Anjali Bose is "Miss New India." Born into a traditional lower-middle-class family and living in a backwater town with an arranged marriage on the horizon, Anjali's prospects don't look great. But her ambition and fluency in language do not go unnoticed by her expat teacher, Peter Champion. And champion her he does, both to other powerful people who can help her along the way and to Anjali herself, stirring in her a desire to take charge of her own destiny.

So she sets off to Bangalore, India's fastest-growing major metropolis, and quickly falls in with an audacious and ambitious crowd of young people, who have learned how to sound American by watching shows like Seinfeld in order to get jobs as call-center service agents, where they are quickly able to out-earn their parents. And it is in this high-tech city where Anjali—suddenly free from the traditional confines of class, caste, gender, and more—is able to confront her past and reinvent herself. Of course, the seductive pull of modernity does not come without a dark side …

Winner of a National Book Critic's Circle Award, Bharati Mukherjee is the author of seven novels, two story collections, and the coauthor of two books of nonfiction. She is a professor of English at the University of California, Berkeley.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, hardcover, 9780618646531 (May)

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Simone Lazaroo

"Nothing about that sun-washed July morning suggested to the cook at the Elsewhere Hotel that by evening, everyone there would think differently about their lives."

In a small hotel on an island renowned for its hospitality and beauty, the Balinese staff and their Western guests are unexpectedly taken hostage. During the overnight siege, the hotel's cook is compelled by the crisis to provide spiritual and physical sustenance as best she can to the guests, staff and their poorly nourished captors. The event has a different impact on each and every person, but all will view life differently from this day forward. Reflecting on individuals' struggles to find meaning and love in the face of death, Sustenance is a compelling novel that reveals surprising ways in which people redeem themselves through fear and grief.

Award-winning author Simone Lazaroo was born in Singapore and migrated with her family to Western Australia in 1963. Simone has a PhD in Writing and is currently a Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at Murdoch University in Perth, Western Australia. The Sydney Morning Herald described Lazaroo as having, "a mercurial imagination, a gift for satire and wry intelligence". Sustenance was recently short-listed for Australia's 2011 Barbara Jefferis Award.

University of Western Australia Press, paperback, 9781742580715 (2010)

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Bharati Ray
Translated from the Bengali by Madhuchanda Karlekar

A chronicle of the lives of five generations of women in the author’s family, this fascinating story spans over a hundred years in its narrative sweep, from the late nineteenth century to the early years of the twenty-first. It mirrors and critiques the progress of a nation, its society and its women, seamlessly blending biography with social history.

Bharati Ray, historian and educationist, taught history at Calcutta University and was its pro-vice-chancellor from 1988 to 1995. She founded the Women’s Studies Research Centre at the university and is currently vice president of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations. She writes in Bengali as well as English and has numerous books to her credit. Bharati Ray was a Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha, from 1996 to 2003 and a member of the Joint Parliamentary Committee on the Empowerment of Women. She is president of the Children’s Little Theatre in Kolkata.

Penguin India, paperback, 9780143416487

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Shoko Tendo
Adapted by Sean Michael Wilson

The story of a yakuza's daughter is tellingly recreated in a mature manga format, illustrated by Michiru Morikawa, a female Japanese manga artist, in a lively and inspired fashion. A poignant and eye-opening true-life memoir, Yakuza Moon is a shocking yet intensely moving first-person account of one woman's experience of growing up in Japan's yakuza society. Born into the family of a wealthy yakuza boss, Shoko Tendo lived her early years in luxury. But labelled the yakuza kid, she became the victim of bullying and discrimination from teachers and classmates at school, and of her father's drunken rages at home. The family then falls into debt, and Tendo falls in with the wrong crowd. By the age of fifteen she is a gang member, by the age of eighteen a drug addict and her twenties are marked by a series of abusive and violent relationships with men. Tendo sinks lower and lower. After the death of her parents and her own attempt at suicide, she begins a tortuous, soul-searching re-evaluation of the road she has taken. An unconventional act of empowerment helps her finally take control of her life, leading to redemption and a new chance. Now translated into 14 languages, this is the universally appealing story of a young woman's successful struggle to escape from a life of ostracism and abuse, and a glimpse into Japan's closed yakuza world from an insider's viewpoint.

Shoko Tendo's original heartbreaking prose memoir has struck chords around the world and has been translated into 14 languages. She has appeared in a handful of documentaries, at least one about her life, and several others featuring her life-affirming tattoo. The original prose edition of this memoir is also available from Kondansha.

Kodansha, paperback, 9784770031464 (May)