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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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Cathy Stonehouse

In Something About the Animal, Cathy Stonehouse's first collection of short fiction, the world keeps coming apart at the seams: these are stories of imminent and often destructive crisis, which in their form and structure capture the hysterical edge of hallucinatory madness in a way few writers have ever managed. These are stories about the search for meaning and about haunted understanding; real-life horror stories, stories bleakly, blackly humorous, but imbued with real-life hope, generosity, and beauty; stories simply not reducible to cover copy. Cathy Stonehouse is a nightmarishly gifted author, and Something About the Animal is that rather magical exception to the rule: a truly breathtaking and unforgettable debut.

Biblioasis, paperback, 9781897231982 (June)

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Miriam Toews

Irma Voth entangles love, longing and dark family secrets. The stifling, reclusive Mennonite life of nineteen-year-old Irma Voth—newly married and newly deserted and as unforgettable a character as Nomi Nickel in A Complicated Kindness—is irrevocably changed when a film crew moves in to make a movie about the community. She embraces the absurdity, creative passion and warmth of their world but her intractable and domineering father is determined to keep her from it at all costs. The confrontation between them sets her on an irrevocable path towards something that feels like freedom as she and her young sister, Aggie, wise beyond her teenage years, flee to the city, upheld only by their love for each other and their smart wit, even as they begin to understand the tragedy that has their family in its grip.

Irma Voth delves into the complicated factors that set us on the road to self-discovery and how we can sometimes find the strength to endure the really hard things that happen. And as Gustavo, a taxi driver, says, you go on, you live and you laugh and you are compassionate toward others. It also asks that most difficult of questions: How do we forgive? And most importantly, how do we forgive ourselves?

Knopf Canada, hardcover, 9780307400680 (April), Faber & Faber (UK), paperback, 9780571273546 (June)

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Jessica Westhead

The forlornly funny stories in And Also Sharks celebrate the socially awkward, the insecure, the unfulfilled, and the obsessed. A disgruntled follower of a self-esteem blog posts a rambling critical comment. On the hunt for the perfect coffee table, a pregnant woman and her husband stop to visit his terminally ill ex-wife. The office cat lady reluctantly joins her fellow employees' crusade to cheer up their dying co-worker. A man grieving his wife's miscarriages follows his deluded friend on a stealth photo-taking mission at the Auto Show. A shoplifter creates her own narrative with stolen anecdotes and a kidnapped baby. In this collection, society's misfits and losers are portrayed sympathetically, and sometimes even heroically. As desperately as these characters long to fit in, they also take pride in what sets them apart.

Cormorant Books, paperback, 9781770860032

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Tara Manuel

There are always invisible connections between people in a smaller community. There are always loyalties and betrayals. In Walking Through Shadows a clutch of these citizens are singled out for attention. What we discover is both disturbing and yet morbidly fascinating. We meet the apparently mute Butterfly Girl who can only find her voice and beauty in the bed of the town's seedy old drunk. We meet posers like The White Prince, the town's revered administrator whose dark sexual fantasies leave him vulnerable to a beautiful young man who loathes him. We meet Spider Girl whose lonely teen life leads her to the dangers of internet chat rooms where Don Wand, the reticent high school teacher, stalks her between his trips to the garbage dump where he collects animal teeth as treasures.

Throughout the town the sway of the the Everlasting Church of the Evangelical holds the town's morality in check while its members slink off into their own little corners of deviance. No one is really safe from the prying eyes, no one will escape scrutiny. Not the incredibly fit Walking Woman who allows her fear to overwhelm her fitness, or the lawyer who must post his nude shadow-dancing routines on YouTube. And not the Invisible Woman, who longs for any contact in her bottomed-out family life, but can only find a connection to herself through watching internet porn.

Tara Manuel is a Newfoundland writer and actor. She is a graduate of The National Theatre School of Canada, and as a young actress performed in many theatres around the country including The Saidye Bronfman Centre and the Monument National in Montreal, The Royal Alexandra in Toronto, and the Manitoba Theatre Centre in Winnipeg. Her first novel, Filling The Belly, was published in 2003 by Thistledown Press.

Thistledown Press, paperback, 9781897235867

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Priscilla Settee

Âhkamêyimowak is a Cree word which embodies the strength that drives women to persevere, flourish, and work for change within their communities. The stories included here are by women with vision, who inspire and lead those who have lived in their midst. Stories are a means of transmitting vital information from within community as well as to outside communities.

Relations are something fundamental to Indigenous communities the world over. Besides human relationships, there is a bigger set of relationships that keeps some people marginalized and others in positions of power. This book tells the stories of both sets of relationships. Some women tell powerful personal stories and others describe institutional relationships that keep Indigenous women in Canada—along with women generally, people of colour, indigenous peoples and youth around the world—in the margins. In both cases, the clarity of vision that comes from the margins is astounding and compelling.

Priscilla Settee is a Saskatchewan educator, intellectual, activist and writer. She is an Associate Professor in the Department of Native Studies, University of Saskatchewan, and has been a trailblazer in developing global solidarity within and among Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities.

Coteau Books, paperback, 9781550504569

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Carole Corbeil

After experiencing the disintegration of their parents' marriage, Claudine and Janine Beaulieu's lives are further complicated when their mother Odette remarries to an Anglophone and they are forced to "turn English." Now, years later, Claudine has made a career out of documentary filmmaking, focusing on the painful lives of other women; Janine, a wife and mother, questions her feelings for her sister's boyfriend; and Odette succumbs to her Valium and rum addiction in a luxury retirement villa in Jamaica. Shifting from Duplessis's Montreal of the fifties to Toronto in the eighties, Voice-Over chronicles the lives of a mother and daughters struggling to find their voice in a bilingual country.

Carole Corbeil was born and raised in Montreal, where she attended French and English schools before taking degrees at Atlantic College in Wales and York University in Toronto. She was an art critic and covered theatre, books, dance, and visual arts for The Globe and Mail in the eighties. Voice-Over was shortlisted for the Books in Canada First Novel Award in 1992, and was co-winner of the Toronto Book Award in 1993. Corbeil died of cancer in 2000

Cormorant Books, paperback, 9781770860063

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Dawn Promislow

The landscape of 1970s South Africa lives and breathes in these stories. This debut collection is populated by a wide and surprising range of unforgettable characters: an artist who finds his power in the dusty earth; a mother who waits for a letter; a collector of cacti who seeks her own kind of freedom; a shopkeeper in trouble in an outpost country town …

Dawn Promislow was born and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa. She left South Africa with her family in 1977 and lived in London, England, before returning to study English and French literature at the University of Cape Town. She has lived in Toronto since 1987, where she works in magazine journalism.

Tsar Publications, paperback, 9781894770651

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Emily St. John Mandel

Everyone Anton Waker grew up with is corrupt. His parents deal in stolen goods and his first career is a partnership venture with his cousin Aria selling forged passports and social security cards to illegal aliens. Anton longs for a less questionable way of living in the world and by his late twenties has reinvented himself as a successful middle manager. Then a routine security check suggests that things are not quite what they appear. And Aria begins blackmailing him to do one last job for her. But the seemingly simple job proves to have profound and unexpected repercussions. As Anton's carefully constructed life begins to disintegrate around him, he's forced to choose between loyalty to his family and his desires for a different kind of life. When everyone is willing to use someone else to escape the past, it is up to Anton, on the island of Ischia, to face the ghosts that travel close behind him.

Emily St. John Mandel was born on the west coast of British Columbia, Canada, in 1979. She studied dance at The School of Toronto Dance Theatre and lived briefly in Montreal before relocating to New York. She is also the author of the widely acclaimed previous novel, Last Night in Montreal.

Unbridled Books, paperback, 9781609530426

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Suzette Mayr

A seventeen-year-old boy, bullied and heartbroken, hangs himself. And, although he felt terribly alone, his suicide changes everyone around him. His parents are devastated. His secret boyfriend's girlfriend is relieved. His unicorn- and virginity-obsessed classmate, Faraday, is shattered; she wishes she had made friends with him that time she sold him an Iced Cappuccino at Tim Hortons. His English teacher, mid-divorce and mid-menopause, wishes she could remember the dead student's name, that she could care more about her students than her ex's new girlfriend. Who happens to be her cousin. The school guidance counsellor, Walter, feels guilty—maybe he should have made an effort when the kid asked for help. Max, the principal, is worried about how it will reflect on the very Catholic school. And Walter, who's been secretly in a relationship with Max for years, thinks that's a little callous. He's also tired of Max's obsession with some sci-fi show on TV. And Max wishes Walter would lose some weight and remember to use a coaster. And then Max meets a drag queen named Crêpe Suzette. And everything changes.

Monoceros is a masterpiece of the tragicomic; by exploring the effects of a suicide on characters outside the immediate circle, Mayr offers a dazzlingly original look at the ripple effects—both poignant and funny—of a tragedy. A tender, bold work.

Suzette Mayr was born and raised in Calgary, where she graduated from the University of Calgary with an honors degree in English. After completing a Master of Arts in Creative Writing at the University of Alberta, she returned to Calgary where she now teaches at the Alberta College of Art.

Coach House Books, paperback, 9781552452417

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Anne McDonald

Alex was in harmony with the water. He taught himself to swim, and liked working the sea off Prince Edward Island as his fisherman father did, but he always yearned for something more. His brother Reggie despised it all—the water that brought death, the seasickness, and he needed to breathe the air of farms. Reggie yearned for escape. Mercy Coles lived on the same island as Alex and Reggie, but lived in Charlottetown's society and yearned for experience.All three would get their wish, but coincidence would shape those wishes in profound ways. Alex would find himself on a circus trapeze fated to meet the Niagara Falls tightrope artist, Farini. Alex would join the farmers' protests against the tax collectors, and battle the demons of guilt in the supposed death of his brother. Mercy would find herself landlocked on John A. Mcdonald's hard-drinking and dancing campaign to sell confederation statutes, attracted to his power while thinking him the ugliest man in Canada.

Anne MacDonald weaves a series of spells that pull this beautifully written novel through a tightly woven script. Rich in tone and texture for a very rewarding reading experience, To the Edge of the Sea combines great storytelling with polished literary control.

Thistledown Press, paperback, 9781897235850