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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 nearly 70 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! (a book published in another country may not always be available to your library or local bookstore, but individuals usually can purchase them from the publishers or other online resources)


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Dorothee Elmiger
Translated from the Swiss by Katy Derbyshire

A fire broke out in the coal seams of their town years ago, and the flames are still smoldering underground. Margaret and Fritzi, the two sisters who are the heroines of "Invitation to the Bold of Heart", the debut novel by Swiss writer Dorothee Elmiger, are the last remaining youth of this vanishing town. Their inheritance is nothing but an abandoned swathe of land ruled by devastation. But the sisters won't accept this state of affairs—they set out on an expedition, determined to piece together the fragments of their family history. Only by learning their own story can they look to the future with hope. When they rediscover a long-forgotten river, Margaret and Fritzi can sense a new life ahead. Invitation to the Bold of Heart is a startling dystopian tale of hope and exploration and a testament to the timeless need of youth to rebel against authority.

Univ. of Chicago (US, UK), hardcover, 9180857420190 (December)

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Kjersti A. Skomsvold
Translated from the Norwegian by Kerri A. Pierce

Mathea Martinsen has never been good at dealing with other people. After a lifetime, her only real accomplishment is her longevity: everyone she reads about in the obituaries has died younger than she is now. Afraid that her life will be over before anyone knows that she lived, Mathea digs out her old wedding dress, bakes some sweet cakes, and heads out into the world to make her mark. She buries a time capsule out in the yard. (It gets dug up to make room for a flagpole.) She wears her late husband's watch and hopes people will ask her for the time. (They never do.) Is it really possible for a woman to disappear so completely that the world won't notice her passing? The Faster I Walk, the Smaller I Am is a macabre twist on the notion that life "must be lived to the fullest."

Kjersti A. Skomsvold was born in 1979 in Oslo. The Faster I Walk, the Smaller I Am is her first novel. Read our review of this book in this issue.

Dalkey Archive Press, paperback, 9781564787028

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Michela Murgia
Translated from the Italian by Silvester Mazzarella

Formerly beautiful and at one time betrothed to a fallen soldier, Bonaria Urrai has long held covenant with the dead. Midwife to the dying, easing their suffering and sometimes ending it, she is revered and feared in equal measure as the village's Accabadora. When Bonaria adopts Maria, the unloved fourth child of a widow, she tries to shield the girl from the truth about her role as an angel of mercy. Moved by the pleas of a young man crippled in an accident, she breaks her golden rule of familial consent, and in the recriminations that follow, Maria rejects her and flees Sardinia for Turin. Adrift in the big city, Maria strives as ever to find love and acceptance, but her efforts are overshadowed by the creeping knowledge of a debt unpaid, of a duty and destiny that must one day be hers.

Quercus (UK), hardcover, 9780857050458

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Andrea Heiberg

Next Stop: Sejer Island is a collection of short stories, pieces of lives and incidents assembled from a small Danish island community. Every inhabitant plays a role, and bonding is significant. And it is within these bonds the stories develop. What do citizens of Sejer Island do when there is no drinking water? What do they do when there are no fish? How do they survive the cold, cold winters? No matter what the obstacle, there is always an answer. The everyday hero, the one who makes the wheels turn, comes through again and again. The school teacher who teaches a music lesson under a shade tree near the rubble of a burned-down schoolhouse or the fisherman who knows that the last fish isn't caught yet. This collection offers stories in which hope and humour generally triumph, along with a stubborn, determined people. Characters are more often moved to action by good intentions, and change comes as a slow, steady progression. Yet what remains is a blessed contentment with familiar island ways. Next Stop: Sejer Island reminds us that "no man is an island."

Andrea Heiberg was accidentally born a few yards from Karen Blixen's home in Denmark on Hemingway's birthday in 1955, a fortuitous beginning. Award-winning playwright and writer, her plays have been performed on Danish television and for local amateur theatre. In 2006, after walking the Camino in Spain, she had a compulsion to write her story-but in English. After almost thirty years of teaching, Heiberg moved to Sejer Island, a place that continues to inspire her love of writing.

Salt Publishing, (UK), paperback, 9781844718702 (November)

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Liza Marklund
Translated from the Swedish by Neil Smith

Stockholm is bustling with preparations for the upcoming summer Olympics when a bomb explodes in the city's new Olympic arena. One of the most powerful women in Sweden, Christina Furhage, is blown to bits. The police begin a wild and desperate chase for the killer, while crime reporter and mother of two, Annika Bengtzon, discovers connections no one else sees. Thus begins the first in a series of crime novels by Liza Marklund, which follows the impulsive and passionate reporter Annika Bengtzon on her thrilling assignments.

Vintage CAN/Corgi Books UK/Bantam Dell US, paperback, various ISBNs (November)

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Edited by Natasha Perova

With the collapse of the Soviet Union and the rise of free speech (and publishing), Russian women have become a force in the world of letters. Whereas in the past they were known chiefly as literary widows or devoted wives, occasionally as poets or critics, and only very rarely as novelists, today they are beginning to dominate publishing lists in fiction and non-fiction alike. Nine includes three internationally known names—Ludmila Petrushevskaya, Ludmila Ulitskaya, and Svetlana Alexiyevich—as well as half a dozen other respected women authors appearing here for the first time in English.

GLAS, paperback, 9785717200639

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Mirja Unge
Translated from the Swedish by Kari Dickson

On Christmas Eve, a girl stalks an older man through wintery city streets, haunted by their shared past…In a remote woodland cottage, an eccentric explains to his granddaughter why he shoots cats whenever they make themselves too comfortable… In a checkout queue, a woman suddenly shows charity to a penniless guy she apparently doesn't know … The characters in Mirja Unge's debut collection are all, in their own way, evading something; whether failing to confront the true nature of an encounter, or avoiding responsibilities as a parent, sibling or friend. Abuse, betrayal and neglect lurk beneath a veneer of mutually maintained 'normality', waiting for an opportunity to resurface. Told, in most cases, through the eyes of teenage girls or young women, these stories exhibit a unique prose style that perfectly captures the conversational rhythms, and preoccupations, of their generation. Unge's soft, winding syntax ushers the reader across the surface of each encounter at an unalterable pace—like the ever-betraying passage of time—whilst deftly hinting at the violence beneath.

Comma Press (UK), paperback, 9781905583379

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Lene Kaaberbøl and Agnete Friis
Translated from the Danish by Lene Kaaberbøl

Nina Borg, a Red Cross nurse, wife, and mother of two, is a compulsive do-gooder who can't say no when someone asks for help—even when she knows better. When her estranged friend Karin leaves her a key to a public locker in the Copenhagen train station, Nina gets suckered into her most dangerous project yet. Inside the locker is a suitcase, and inside the suitcase is a three-year-old boy: naked and drugged, but alive. Is the boy a victim of child trafficking? Can he be turned over to authorities, or will they only return him to whoever sold him? When Karin is discovered brutally murdered, Nina realizes that her life and the boy's are in jeopardy, too. In an increasingly desperate trek across Denmark, Nina tries to figure out who the boy is, where he belongs, and who exactly is trying to hunt him down. Read our review of this book in this issue.

Soho Press (US), hardcover, 9781569479810 (November)

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Caroline Preston

For her graduation from high school in 1920, Frankie Pratt receives a scrapbook and her father's old Corona typewriter. Despite Frankie's dreams of becoming a writer, she must forgo a college scholarship to help her widowed mother. But when a mysterious Captain James sweeps her off her feet, her mother finds a way to protect Frankie from the less-than-noble intentions of her unsuitable beau. Through a kaleidoscopic array of vintage postcards, letters, magazine ads, ticket stubs, catalog pages, fabric swatches, candy wrappers, fashion spreads, menus, and more, we meet and follow Frankie on her journey in search of success and love. Once at Vassar, Frankie crosses paths with intellectuals and writers, among them "Vincent" (alumna Edna St. Vincent Millay), who encourages Frankie to move to Greenwich Village and pursue her writing. When heartbreak finds her in New York, she sets off for Paris aboard the S.S. Mauritania, where she keeps company with two exiled Russian princes and a "spinster adventuress" who is paying her way across the Atlantic with her unused trousseau. In Paris, Frankie takes a garret apartment above Shakespeare & Company, the hub of expat life, only to have a certain ne'er-do-well captain from her past reappear. But when a family crisis compels Frankie to return to her small New England hometown, she finds exactly what she had been looking for all along.

Ecco (US), hardcover, 9780061966903

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Kristina Ohlsson
Translated from the Swedish by Sarah Death

In the middle of a rainy Swedish summer, a little girl is abducted from a crowded train. Despite hundreds of potential witnesses, no one noticed when the girl was taken. Her mother, left behind at the previous station, alerted the crew immediately. But as the train pulled into Stockholm Central Station, the girl was nowhere to be seen. To Inspector Alex Recht of the Stockholm police, this looks like a classic custody row. But none of the evidence adds up and young Investigative Analyst Fredrika Bergman is convinced the case is far more complex than her boss is prepared to admit. So when the missing child is found dead in the far north of Sweden, with the word UNWANTED scribbled on her forehead, the rule book is finally thrown out of the window. Now on the trail of a ruthless murderer with a terrifying agenda, will Alex and Fredrika manage to put aside their differences and work together to find the killer, before it's too late?

Simon & Schuster (UK), paperback, 9781847379603

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