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
Satellite image of Africa Photo of Najat El Hachmi description

Explore Africa! Click here to go to reviews of 20 great books written by African women.

We interview Najat El-Hachmi, author of The Last Patriarch.

Specters by Egyptian author Radwa Ashour, Chapter One

With this issue Belletrista is marking her second birthday! Over the past two years, all of us here at Belletrista have enjoyed bringing to you a diversity of women writers from around the world, so that we might celebrate together the richness and variety of their literature.

In this issue, we are featuring a special section of twenty reviews of books by women from Africa. While not an exhaustive selection, it's an excellent introduction to women's writing from a vast and varied continent. In keeping with our African theme, we have an exclusive interview with Moroccan/Catalan author Najat El-Hachmi, and an excerpt from Egyptian author Radwa Ashour's latest book to be translated into English. Of course, you'll also find our usual review section of interesting books from around the world, and our largest ever New & Notable section, packed with fine books for your reading pleasure. Whether you are a regular to these pages or a newcomer, thank you for being a Belletrista reader!

`
Reviews
Click on 'Reviews' to see the full list of this issue's reviews...
Book cover
DANIEL STEIN, INTERPRETER
Ludmila Ulitskaya
Translated from the Russian by Arch Tait

Oswald Rufeisen might be called a saint; he lived a simple, selfless life, full of kindness and sacrifice. Truth is often greater than fiction, yet Ludmila Ulitskaya succeeds in fictionalising the life of Oswald Rufeisen as 'Daniel Stein' or Brother Daniel. She weaves a fascinating web of activity around Brother Daniel's life from his early life in Poland; through the years of the Second World War when he works for the Gestapo as an interpreter, yet saves many people from the Nazi death camps; to his years as a Jewish Catholic priest in Israel.
READ MORE

Reviewed by Ceri Evans
Book cover
ADIOS, HAPPY HOMELAND!
Ana Menéndez

How does one escape? From what one does one need to escape? Why? Ana Menéndez's new collection of interlinked tales is all about escape artists, starting with the author herself. Each tale is attributed to a concocted author, for whom Menéndez has supplied an appropriately imaginative biographical note, including one for herself: "Ana Menéndez is the pseudonym of an imaginary writer and translator, invented, if not to lend coherence to this collection, at least to offer it the pretense of contemporary relevance."
READ MORE

Reviewed by Jane A. Jones
Book cover
THE SKIN OF THE SKY
Elena Poniatowska
Translated from the Spanish by Deanna Heikennen

The Skin of the Sky follows the life of Lorenzo de Tena, one of Mexico's most celebrated astronomers. His childhood bond with his doting mother is shattered by her early death, leaving him to be raised by an apathetic father. His mother's …
READ MORE

Reviewed by Andy Barnes
Book cover
THIS TOO SHALL PASS
S. J. Finn

I inhale. Realign my chair, which slides a little too easily under me. I do have one niggling concern (there are several but this is the one that comes to mind): while I will go on feeling as transparent as air, what I'm about to put in writing will show itself in a dense hue, one that might even shock me. —With these thoughts we are introduced to Jen, now known as Monty, who goes on to simply and honestly recount the changes that have occurred in her life.
READ MORE

Reviewed by Judy Lim
Book cover
THIS WILL GO DOWN ON YOUR PERMANENT RECORD
Susannah Felts

This Will Go Down On Your Permanent Record defies categorisation; it is not merely a coming of age story, but neither is it a sugary high school drama nor a moralistic critique of the potential pitfalls of teenage life. This debut novel focuses on the importance of friendship and the lessons learned as you grow up—sometimes surprising lessons—about what real friendship means.
READ MORE

Reviewed by Ceri Evans


Ali Smith's
There But For the
Book Cover: There But for the
An extended review by Rachael Beale
If Written By a Woman
Visit our new Belletrista blog!
The Caine Prize for African Writing 2011 – shortlist announced

The shortlist for this year’s Caine Prize has just been announced and three women are in the running for the prestigious award. This is always an exciting time of year – the Prize is a great way to discover short stories by excellent writers. Lucky for us, the Prize’s website links to a copy of …Read the Rest