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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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Andrea Eames

Tinashe is a young Shona boy living in a small village in rural Rhodesia. The guerilla war of the late 1960s haunts the bushlands, but it only infrequently affects his quiet life; school, swimming in the river, playing with the other kids on the kopje. When his younger sister, Hazvinei, is born, Tinashe knows at once that there is something special about her. Their life in the village, once disturbed only by the occasional visits of his successful uncle and city cousin, Abel, now becomes entangled with the dual forces of the Shona spirit world and the political turmoil of the nation. As Tinashe, Hazvinei and Abel grow older, their destinies entangle in ways they never expected. Tinashe is prepared to follow his sister anywhere - but how far can he go to keep her safe when the forces threatening her are so much darker and more sinister than he suspected?

Andrea Eames was born in 1985. She was brought up in Zimbabwe, where she attended a Jewish school for six years, a Hindu school for one, a Catholic convent school for two and a half, and then the American International School in Harare for two years. Andrea's family moved to New Zealand in 2002. Andrea has worked as a bookseller and editor and now lives in Austin, Texas with her husband. Her first novel, The Cry of the Go-Away Bird, was published in 2011.

Harvill Secker (UK), paperback, 9781846555695 (February); Random House (ZA), paperback, 9781846555695 (March)

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Edited by Julie Wakeman Linn

UNICEF estimates that Tanzania has over three million orphans. The Bethsaida Orphan Girls Secondary School seeks to help the most vulnerable of Tanzania's children. Founded by Mrs. Anna Machary in 2005 under the auspices of the non-governmental organization, the Olof Palme Orphans Education Center, the school currently enrolls over 130 orphan girls from all over the country, providing them with free housing, meals, psychological support and a quality secondary education.

Their Voices,Their Stories features short stories by thirteen students and has the dual purpose of being a fundraiser for the school and giving the girls a voice. It is a unique and enthralling work of fiction. Their Voices: Their Stories ranges from magical realism to fable, from historical fiction to bildungsroman. Under the professional and passionate editorial guidance of Maryland professor Julie Wakeman-Linn, this collection sings of the fears, anxieties and dreams of young Tanzanian women, who pray their education will be the golden ticket out of lives filled with poverty and abuse.

Mukuki na Nyota Publishers, paperback, 9789987081516 (available through the African Books Collective).

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Alexandra Chreiteh
Translated from the Arabic by Michelle Hartman

Always Coca-Cola is the story of three very different young women attending university in Beirut: Abeer, Jana, and Yasmine. The narrator, Abeer Ward ('fragrant rose', in Arabic), daughter of a conservative family, admits wryly that her name is also the name of her father's flower shop. Abeer's bedroom window is filled by a view of a Coca-Cola sign featuring the image of her sexually adventurous friend, Jana. From the novel's opening paragraph—"When my mother was pregnant with me, she had only one craving. That craving was for Coca Cola"—first-time novelist Alexandra Chreiteh asks us to see, with wonder, humor, and dismay, how inextricably confused are naming and desire, identity and branding. The names—and the novel's edgy, cynical humor—might be recognizable across languages, cultures, and geographies. But Chreiteh's novel is first and foremost an exploration of a specific Lebanese milieu. Critics in Lebanon have responded in a storm, calling the novel "an electric shock" and finding that the problems of its characters reflect grave "social anomalies." Read Chreiteh and see what the storm is all about (Read an excerpt of this novel in this issue).

Interlink Books, paperback, 9781566568432

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Kathryn White

Before she had the incident, before they drugged her, Lily knew things from the future and saw people from the past. Awake or dreaming, hers was a world seen from its womb where the unborn future was nurtured. And it was from there, from the periphery, that she saw Adam waiting. The one. She finds him at university, and they both instantly know that theirs is an ancient love. It is also a love that fits in no ordinary scheme of things; that cannot be. When events begin to warp her life, drawing family, friends and loves into the swirl, the things Lily thought she knew have lost their power.

Kathryn White lives in Johannesburg. She is a versatile writer and the author of Emily Green and Me, her debut novel.

Umuzi (ZA), paperback, 9781415201220

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Adania Shibli
Translated from the Arabic by Paul Starkey

A young woman, asked at work to write a letter to an older man, does as she is told. So begins an enigmatic but passionate love affair conducted entirely in letters. A love affair? Maybe. Until his letters stop coming. Or… maybe the letters do not reach their intended recipient? Only the teenage Afaf, who works at the local post office, would know. Her favorite duty is to open the mail and inform her collaborator father of the contents—until she finds a mysterious set of love letters, apparently returned to their sender.

In the hands of Adania Shibli, the discovery of these letters makes for a wrenching meditation on lives lived ensnared within the dictates of others. Adania Shibli, born in 1974 in Palestine, is two-time winner of the Qattan Foundation's Young Writer's Award for this and her acclaimed novel Touch. (Read an excerpt of this novel in this issue).

Clockroot Books, paperback, 9781566568630 (February)

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Nawal El-Saadawi
Translated from the Arabic by Amira Nowaira

Bodour, a distinguished literary critic and university professor, carries with her a dark secret. As a young university student, she fell in love with a political activist and gave birth to an illegitimate daughter, Zeina, whom she abandoned on the streets of Cairo. Zeina grows up to become one of Egypt's most beloved entertainers, despite being deprived of a name and a home. In contrast, Bodour remains trapped in a loveless marriage, pining for her daughter. In an attempt to find solace she turns to literature, writing a fictionalized account of her life. But when the novel goes missing, Bodour is forced on a journey of self discovery, reliving and reshaping her past and her future.

Saqi Books, paperback, 9780863564178

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Naomi Benaron

Winner of the 2011 Bellweather Prize, Running the Rift follows Jean Patrick Nkuba, a gifted Rwandan boy, from the day he knows that running will be his life to the moment he must run to save his life, a ten-year span in which his country is undone by the Hutu-Tutsi tensions. Born a Tutsi, he is thrust into a world where it's impossible to stay apolitical—where the man who used to sell you gifts for your family now spews hatred, where the girl who flirted with you in the lunchroom refuses to look at you, where your Hutu coach is secretly training the very soldiers who will hunt down your family. Yet in an environment increasingly restrictive for the Tutsi, he holds fast to his dream of becoming Rwanda's first Olympic medal contender in track, a feat he believes might deliver him and his people from this violence. When the killing begins, Jean Patrick is forced to flee, leaving behind the woman, the family, and the country he loves. Finding them again is the race of his life.

Algonquin Books, hardcover, 9781616200428

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Audrey Schulman

In 1899 Jeremy, a young engineer, leaves a small town in Maine to oversee the construction of a railroad across East Africa. In charge of hundreds of Indian laborers, he soon finds himself the reluctant hunter of two lions that are killing his men in almost nightly attacks on their camp. Plagued by fear, wracked with malaria and alienated by a secret he can tell no one, he takes increasing solace in the company of the African who helps him hunt. In 2000 Max, an American ethnobotanist, travels to Rwanda in search of an obscure vine that could become a lifesaving pharmaceutical. Stationed in the mountains, she closely shadows a family of gorillas, the last of their group to survive the encroachment of local poachers. Max bears a striking gift for understanding the ape's non-verbal communication, but their precarious solidarity is threatened as a violent rebel group from the nearby Congo draws close.

Europa Editions, paperback, 9781609450649

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Candi Miller

In apartheid southern Africa, a three-year-old girl named Koba is snatched from her Kalahari desert tribe after witnessing her parents' brutal murder by white farmers. A hunting party discovers the Bushman group poaching on their property, and a white farmer is killed by a poisoned arrow.The orphaned child is taken in by a liberal white woman called Marta, and Koba finds herself trapped in a terrifying new world. She slowly learns to adapt and survive in a cave isolated from the farm's dangerous but beautiful environment. Koba grows up quickly and as a teenager learns 'white' ways alongside Marta's son, Mannie, a boy her own age, while never forgetting the pull of her own desert people. One weekend though, when Marta and her husband are away, a passionate love affair develops between Mannie and Koba which questions all their assumptions and loyalties, bringing down upon them all the force of the law.

Candi Miller, born in Zambia and brought up in South Africa, has been a journalist and advertising copywriter. She now lives in Staffordshire, England where she teaches Creative Writing

Allen & Unwin (AU), Tindal Street Press (UK), paperback, 9781906994273

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Ahdaf Soueif

"Over the past few months I have delivered lectures, presentations and interviews on the Egyptian Revolution. I have had overflowing houses everywhere, been stopped by old ladies in the street and had my hand shaken by numerous taxi drivers and shopkeepers. And all because I'm Egyptian and the glitter of Tahrir is upon me. They wanted me to talk to them, to tell them stories about it, to tell them how, on the 28th of January when we took the Square and The People torched the headquarters of the hated ruling National Democratic Party, The (same) People formed a human chain to protect the Antiquities Museum and demanded an official handover to the military; to tell them how, on Wednesday, February 2nd, as The People defended themselves against the invading thug militias and fought pitched battles at the entrance to the Square in the shadow of the Antiquities Museum, The (same) People at the centre of the square debated political structures and laughed at stand-up comics and distributed sandwiches and water; to tell them of the chants and the poetry and the songs, of how we danced and waved at the F16s that our President flew over us. People everywhere want to make this Revolution their own, and we in Egypt want to share it."

Ahdaf Soueif—novelist, commentator, activist—navigates her history of Cairo and her journey through the Revolution that's redrawing its future. Through a map of stories drawn from private history and public record Soueif charts a story of the Revolution that is both intimately hers and publicly Egyptian. Ahdaf Soueif was born and brought up in Cairo. When the Egyptian Revolution of 2011 erupted on January 25th, she, along with thousands of others, called Tahrir Square home for eighteen days. She reported for the world's media and did—like everyone else—whatever she could.

Bloomsbury, hardcover, 9780747549628

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