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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 71 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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Daša Drndic
Translated from the Croatian by Ellen Elias-Bursac

Haya Tedeschi sits alone in Gorizia, north-eastern Italy, surrounded by a basket of photographs and newspaper clippings. Now an old woman, she waits to be reunited after sixty-two years with her son, fathered by an S.S. officer and stolen from her by the German authorities during the War as part of Himmler's clandestine 'Lebensborn' project, which strove for a 'racially pure' Germany. Haya's reflection on her Catholicized Jewish family's experiences deals unsparingly with the massacre of Italian Jews in the concentration camps of Trieste. Her obsessive search for her son leads her to photographs, maps and fragments of verse, to testimonies from the Nuremberg trials and interviews with second-generation Jews, as well as witness accounts of atrocities that took place on her doorstep. A broad collage of material is assembled, and the lesser-known horror of Nazi occupation in northern Italy is gradually unveiled.

Written in immensely powerful language, and employing a range of astonishing conceptual devices, Trieste is a novel like no other. Daša Drndic; has produced a shattering contribution to the literature of our twentieth-century history.

MacLehose Press (UK), paperback, 9780857050229

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Kristín Ómarsdóttir
Translated from the Icelandic by Lytton Smith

Eleven-year-old Billie lives at a 'temporary home for children' called Children in Reindeer Woods, which she discovers one afternoon, to her surprise, is in the middle of a war zone. When a small group of paratroopers kills everyone who lives there with her,and then turn on each other, Billie must learn to live with the violent, innocent, and troubled Rafael, who has decided to abandon the soldier's life and become a farmer, no matter what it takes.

A lyrical and continually surprising take on the absurdity of war and the mysteries of childhood, Children in Reindeer Woods is a moving modern fable.

Kristín Ómarsdóttir has published books of poetry, short stories, and novels, and written plays for the theatre in her native Iceland. She received the Gríman, the Icelandic playwright award, in 2005 for her play Tell Me Everything. Children in Reindeer Woods is her first novel to be translated into English.

Open Letter, paperback, 9781934824351

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Riikka Pulkkinen
Translated from the Finnish by Lola Rogers

Elsa is dying. Her husband Martti and daughter Eleonoora are struggling to accept the crushing thought that they are soon to lose her. As Elsa becomes ever more fragile, Eleonoora's childhood memories are slipping away. Meanwhile, Eleonoora's daughter Anna spends her time pondering the fates of passersby. For her the world is full of stories. But the story that will change her forever is the one about Eeva, her mother's nanny, who her grandparents have been silent about for years. Eeva's forgotten story, which Anna first learns of when she discovers an old dress of Eeva's, is finally revealed layer by layer. The tale that unfolds is about a mother and daughter, about how memory can deceive us—and that sometimes that is the most merciful thing that can happen.

Read an excerpt of True in this issue of Belletrista.

Other Press, paperback, 9781590515006

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Sofka Zinovieff

In 2008 Antigone Perifanis returns to her old family home in Athens, after 60 years in exile. She has come to attend the funeral of her only son, Nikitas, who was born in prison, and whom she has not seen since she left him as a baby. Nikitas had been distressed in the days before his death and, curious to find out why, his English widow Maud starts to investigate his complicated past. In so doing, she finds herself reigniting a bitter family feud, discovering a heartbreaking story of a young mother caught up in the political tides of the Greek Civil War and forced to make a terrible decision that would blight not only her life but that of future generations…

The House on Paradise Street is an epic tale of love and loss, which takes readers from the war-torn streets of Nazi-occupied Athens through the military junta years and on into the troubled city of recent times and shows what happens when ideology threatens to subsume our sense of humanity.

Short Books Ltd, paperback, 9781907595691 (March)

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Juli Zeh
Translated by Sally-Ann Spencer

Mia Holl lives in a state governed by The Method, where good health is the highest duty of the citizen. Everyone must submit medical data and sleep records to the authorities on a monthly basis, and regular exercise is mandatory. Mia is young and beautiful, a successful scientist who is outwardly obedient but with an intellect that marks her as subversive. Convinced that her brother has been wrongfully convicted of a terrible crime, Mia comes up against the full force of a regime determined to control every aspect of its citizens' lives. The Method, set in the middle of the twenty-first century, deals with pressing questions: to what extent can the state curtail the rights of the individual and does the individual have a right to resist? Juli Zeh has written a thrilling and visionary book about our future, and our present.

Harvill Secker, hardcover, 9781846554278 (April)

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Elena Chizhova
Translated by Simon Patterson and Nina Chordas

Life is not easy in the Soviet Union at mid-20th century, especially for a factory worker who becomes an unwed mother. But Antonina is lucky to get a room in a communal apartment that she and her little girl share with three old women: Glikeria is the daughter of former serfs; Ariadna comes from a wealthy family and speaks French; Yevdokia is illiterate and bitter. All have lost their families, all are deeply traditional, and all become "grannies" to little Suzanna, only they secretly name her Sofia. And just as secretly they impart to her the history of her country as they experienced it: the Revolution, the early days of the Soviet Union, the blockade and starvation of World War II.

The little girl responds by drawing beautiful pictures, but she is mute. If the authorities find out she will be taken from her home and sent to an institution. When Antonina falls desperately ill, the grannies are faced with the reality of losing the little girl they love—unless a stepfather can be found before it is too late. And for that, they need a miracle.

Glagoslav Publications, paperback, 9789081823906

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Marie Ndaiye
Translated from the French by John Fletcher

From an acclaimed literary celebrity—the first black woman ever to win the Prix Goncourt—this harrowing and beautiful novel of the travails of West African immigrants in France gives voice as never before to Europe's most unwanted. This is the story of three women who say no: Norah, a French-born lawyer who finds herself in Senegal, summoned by her estranged tyrannical father to save another victim of his paternity; Fanta, who leaves a contented life as a teacher in Dakar to follow her white French boyfriend back to France, where his depression and dislocation poison everything; and Khady, a penniless widow put out by her husband's family with nothing but the name of a distant cousin (the aforementioned Fanta) in France (a place she can scarcely conceive). As these three lives intertwine, each woman manages an astonishing feat of self-preservation against the incomprehensibly methodical and relentless humiliation that is the unacknowledged life of those who have made themselves the fastest growing, and most reviled, people in Europe. In Marie NDaiye's luminous narration we see with stunning emotional exactitude the progress by which ordinary women discover unimagined reserves of strength.

MacLehose Press (UK), hardcover, 9780857050564 (April), Knopf, hardcover, 9780307594693 (August)

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Angelika Schrobsdorff
Translated by Steve Rendell

You Are Not Like Other Mothers is the story of Else Krischner, a free spirited mother of three sons. The novel spans the first half of the 20th century, from World War I through the Jewish Else's exile in Bulgaria during World War II. Multi-layered and epic in scope, the narrative incorporates numerous sub-plots and secondary characters to provide a richly rendered portrait of 20th century Europe.

Angelika Schrobsdorff was born in 1927 in Freiburg. She immigrated to Sofia in 1939 with her mother and returned to Germany in 1947. She married Claude Lanzmann, director of the landmark 1985 documentary "Shoah", in 1971; after more than a decade in Paris and Monaco they moved to Israel in 1983. Today, Angelika Schrobsdorff lives in Berlin. She is the author of ten novels and two works of short stories.

Europa Editions, paperback, 9781609450755 (April)

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Anne Swärd
Translated from the Swedish by Deborah Bragan-Turner

Lo's parents did not plan for her. They were not married and never loved each other. Lo is raised by her extended family in a ramshackle house they share in southern Sweden. She enjoys a sheltered, idyllic, safe childhood, but everything changes when, at six years old, she makes a new friend. Lukas is thirteen and came from Hungary with his father when he was five. He struggles at school and has no companions of his own age. A fire in a field brings them together, when Lukas helps the family contain the blaze, and the two become inseparable. But Lo's family are deeply suspicious of Lukas' motives for befriending such a young girl. The two are compelled to meet in secret, sleeping side by side in a shed by the lake every summer. For Lo's fifteenth birthday, Lukas buys a car to take her to the Tivoli pleasure gardens in Copenhagen. Her senses dulled by the rides and fairy lights and by having a little to drink, Lo falls early to sleep, and wakes to find their lives and friendship changed for ever.

Breathless is a beautifully controlled, evocative novel of childhood and adolescence in 1960s Sweden. Anna Swärd has chosen a challenging theme, and has succeeded in crafting a narrative of breathtaking accomplishment.

MacLehose Press (UK), paperback, 9780857051035 (March)

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Bianca Lakoseljac

The Summer of the Dancing Bear is Bianca Lakoseljac's first novel. Set in the former Yugoslavia, it is the story of the "rite of passage" of a fourteen-year-old girl befriended by a Gypsy clan. The novel explores Kata's search for a viable identity, acceptance of death, and understanding of love, through the journey of solving the mystery of a missing two-year-old girl that occurred when Kata was eight. The story is set in a village community polarized by racial intolerance between the villagers and the Gypsies, where she grows up under the tutelage of her grandmother.

Guernica (CAN), paperback, 9781550713596 (April)

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Hélène Grémillon
Translated from the French by Alison Anderson

Paris, 1975. Sifting through the letters of condolence after her mother's death, Camille discovers a strange missive sent by someone she does not know. She thinks it is probably an error. But then, every Tuesday, a new letter arrives, recounting a tale of two impossible loves, four broken destinies, until the final dénouement destroys everything in its inevitable path. Little by little, Camille begins to piece together the puzzle and is shocked to realise that this story has a direct bearing upon her own life.

Alternating Camille's story and the mysterious letters from the unknown correspondent, Grémillon transports us to the years between 1939 and 1943 to tell a powerful story of friendship and secrets between women, and of surrogacy, passionate love, jealousy, revenge and reconciliation.

The Confidant is a thrilling debut novel that blends a historical setting and page-turning psychological suspense with a virtuoso literary style. Together with its success in France, translation rights have been sold in 18 territories.

Text Publishing (AUS), paperback, 9781921758935 (March)

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Paola Calvetti
Translated from the Italian by Anne Milano Appel

At Dreams & Desires, 50-year-old Emma's quaint bookshop in Milan dedicated to romantic fiction, the passionate bookseller serves coffee and tea to her customers and completes order slips in pen rather than using a computer. One day, she finds a mysterious handwritten note stuck between the pages of a novel. The message is from her high school sweetheart Frederico, who is now a successful architect in New York and whom she hasn't seen in thirty years. When she finally meets Frederico again, Emma is convinced that her life is about to turn into a romance novel—an intercontinental fairy tale between Milan and New York, between two post office boxes and two lovers who are separated by the Atlantic Ocean and half a life. But Frederico is married, and their epistolary romance, punctuated by once-a-year sojourns on the island of Belle Ile, seems to have no future.

Paola Calvetti's PO Box Love is an ode to old-fashioned relationships (the ones that last a lifetime), old-fashioned habits (such as writing letters by hand in fountain pen) and old-fashioned notions (such as politeness, and the great lost art of conversation), and will enchant readers of such perennial favorites as 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff and Same Time Next Year by Bernard Slade.

St. Martin's (US), hardcover, 97803122625702

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Maria Matios
Translated from the Ulranian by Yury Tkach

Everything eventually reaches its appointed place in time and space. Maria Matios's dramatic family saga, Hardly Ever Otherwise, narrates the story of several western Ukrainian families during the last decades of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and expands upon the idea that "it isn't time that is important, but the human condition in time."

In Matios's multi-tiered plot, the grand passions of ordinary people are illuminated under the caliginous light of an ethereal mysticism, and digressions on love, envy, transgression, and atonement are woven into the story. The reader is submerged into a rich world populated by a grand cast of characters and ideas, which Matios animates with her prolific imagination and subtle wisdom.

Each character in this outstanding drama has an irrefutable alibi, a unique truth, and a private conflict with honor and duty. Her characters do not always act in accordance with logic and written-law, as the laws of honor clash with the laws of the heart. And this is why it is hardly ever otherwise.

Award-winning author Maria Matios was born in 1959, in the Ukraine. She is the author of seven books of poetry and five books of prose. In 2007, the novel Hardly Ever Otherwise earned Matios the Grand Prix at the Coronation of Words Competition. The title was also named book of the year. Her highly influential novel, Sweet Darusia, was named the best Ukrainian novel written in the fifteen year span after Ukrainian Independence in 1991, and earned Matios the Shevchenko National Prize in 2005.

Glagoslav Publications, paperback, 9789491425127 (April)

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Laura Marello

In The Tenants of the Hotel Biron, Laura Marello takes the historical facts of a string of famous artists living in the Hotel Biron in Paris at the turn of the twentieth century and creates a fictional universe, framed by the aftermath of the torrid love affair between Auguste Rodin and his mistress, Camille Claudel.

Written as a series of manuscripts by the tenants, this novel vividly recreates a world where the ferment of creativity bubbled to the surface and caused an artistic and social revolution.

Guernica Editions, paperback, 9781550713589 (April)

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Cristina Comencini
Translated from the Italian by Marina Harss

Manfred, a surly mountaineer recently abandoned by his wife, rents the upstairs apartment in his home in the Dolomites to Marina, a woman from the city, and her difficult young son. Deeply suspicious by nature, especially of women, Manfred spies obsessively on Marina, in whose shortcomings as a mother he finds resonances of his own mother's desertion of him in childhood. When Marina's frustration over her son's refusal to eat or sleep leads her to harm the child, Manfred steps in, and the silent power struggle between them escalates. Yet Manfred's attraction to Marina is as powerful as his distrust. In this alternately shocking and moving novel, Cristina Comencini has created a complex, psychologically profound portrait of two damaged, vulnerable people and the painful bond that develops between them as they are drawn into each other's worlds.

Other Press, paperback, 9781590515112 (April)

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Eva Joly and Judith Perrignon
Translated from the French by Emily Read

In Lagos, operatives of the Norwegian secret service extract Nwankwo, head of financial investigations for the Nigerian government, and deliver him to London. Felix, a junior prosecutor in Nice, is called to investigate the violent death of the wife of a powerful banker based in the Faroe Islands; his investigation takes him to London. In St. Petersburg, Lira Kazan, a journalist famed for her anti-corruption investigative work, decides to go to London to report on an oligarch involved in arms deals. Lira, Felix and Nwankwo become allies and witness a series of killings, obviously linked by financial and political interests. Isolated and terrified, the three are pursued by the oligarch's men, the Western secret services and goons sent by Nigerian oil magnates. At a dinner at Versailles to honor the oligarch, attended by the British Prime Minister and the French President, chaos is triggered by a series of tweets that disclose the foul play all have entered into.

Eva Joly was a prosecuting judge in France famous for her anti-corruption cases, including that against Elf-Aquitaine. She is now running in the French presidential elections. This is her first novel. It is co-authored by the French thriller author Judith Perrignon.

Bitter Lemon Press, paperback, 9781908524003 (UK: April; US: Sept.)

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Maria Dueñas

In love for the first time, Sira Quiroga leaves Madrid, along with everything she knows and cares about, to run away to Tangiers, Morocco with her lover Ramiro. She entrusts him with all her inheritance only to be left by him—pregnant, penniless and in trouble with the authorities. At her lowest ebb Sira falls back on the one skill she possesses: sewing. Moving to Tetouan, Sira survives by sewing beautiful clothes for the English mistress of one of the most powerful men in Morocco and for her German friends. As the women unguardedly gossip about their husbands and lovers, Sira is placed in a position very valuable to the British secret service, and she is soon forced to move to Madrid where great danger lies. The Seamstress is a grand and epic story that tells the story of Spain's civil war and Madrid in the Second World War, and reveals a world of wartime, glamour, espionage and passion.

Maria Dueñas is currently a professor at the University of Murcia. She has also taught at American universities and is currently writing her second novel.

Viking (UK), hardcover, 9780670920020 (April)

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Agnés Desarthe

Jerome is a calm man—at least, that's what he'd always believed. But when his daughter's boyfriend dies in an accident, he is overwhelmed by unexpected grief. As he struggles to make sense of the loss and his own reaction to it, he finds himself assailed by emotions and memories he has allowed to lie dormant: residual feelings for his ex-wife; a baffling new attraction to a stranger; a precarious friendship with a retired policeman; and, above all, unsettling questions about his own past and the family he never knew. In returning to the forests of his childhood and the darkest nights of the Second World War, Jerome gradually and painfully begins to piece together the truth of his own origins and the tragedy that his adoptive parents tried to bury.

Agnés Desarthe was born in Paris in 1966 and has written many books for children and teenagers, as well as adult fiction. She won the Prix du Livre Inter in 1996 for Un Secret sans importance and has had two previous novels translated into English: Five Photos of My Wife , which was short-listed for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, and Good Intentions.

Portobello Books (UK) and Penguin Books South Africa, paperback, 9781846274114

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