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 130 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)

In this issue, because of our delayed publication, we have broadened our selection of books to inclue those which may have been published anywhere from this past August through February of next year. We hope this helps you plan all your winter (or summer, depending on where you live) reading! Enjoy!


Book cover
Dominique Eddé
Translated from the French by Ros Schwartz

Rich and multilayered, with elements of both memoir and fiction, Dominique Eddé's Kite defies categorization. Beginning in the 1960s and ending in the late '80s, it is at once a narrative of a passionate, and ultimately tragic, relationship between Mali and Farid and the simultaneous decline of Egyptian-Lebanese society. Densely populated with myriad characters, Kite chronicles the casualties of social conventions, religious divisions and cultural clichés. The differences between East and West are central to the tension of Eddé's book and share the responsibility for an unavoidable impasse between the lovers. This fragmented narrative—written in several voices that reflect the fragmented lives of those caught up in the madness of war—calls into question an entire way of living and thinking.

Born in Lebanon, Dominique Eddé is the author of several novels including Pourquoi il fait si sombre? (Why is it so Dark?) as well as an essay on Jean Genet and a book of interviews with the psychoanalyst André Green. She lives in Turkey.

Univ. of Chicago Press, hardcover, 9780857420435

Book cover
Julie Wakeman Linn

Sons of revolutionaries, two friends must grow up and find themselves when President-for-Life Robert Mugabe tightens his grip on white landowners and plunges Zimbabwe into anarchy. Julie Wakeman-Linn's striking debut—-part buddy road trip, part familial dramedy—focuses on two racially blended families as they outwit the world of diplomats, ex-pats, safari tourists, street rats, border guards, and the mercurial landscape. The result is an electrifying video capture of Africa in 1997 overflowing with intense color, tenacious characters, and riotous details. See our article on this book in this issue of Belletrista.

Mkuki na Nyota Publishers (Tanzania), paperback, 9789987081783 Available in the US and UK through the African Book Collective

Book cover
Edited by Annes McCann-Baker

What is life like for women in the Middle East? As the region continues to make headlines, more and more people in the West have begun to ask this question. Unfortunately, stereotypes abound. In Memory of a Promise: Short Stories by Middle Eastern Women, female authors from sixteen nations, from Morocco to Uzbekistan, provide a look at a broad range of women's experiences and do much to dispel notions of the region as homogenous. Editor Annes McCann-Baker worked closely with authors and translators to create this selection of short stories that showcases the talents of both established women writers in the region and those just beginning their career. The varied list of authors included in this collection ranges from Goli Taraghi to Hoda Barakat and Orly Castel-Bloom to Erendiz Atasu.

Univ. of Texas Press, paperback, 9780292743519 (November)

Book cover
Ahlem Mostaghanemi
Translated from the Arabic by Raphael Cohen

Self-exiled in Paris, after losing an arm in the Algerian war of liberation and becoming disillusioned with the corruption of his newly independent country, the narrator Khaled has taken up painting as a form of therapy. Many years later, at an exhibition of his work in Paris, he is visited by Hayat, the daughter of a close friend and legendary fighter who had given his life for the revolt. Khaled, who had known Hayat as a child, now falls for the woman she has become and for her chosen art as a novelist. Hayat, who he sees as the manifestation of his home city of Constantine, makes him forget his French girlfriend and for the first time in years start to confront his feelings about Algeria. He is rivaled in his affections, however, by a Palestinian poet and by a senior-ranking government official who Hayat eventually decides to marry.

Memory in the Flesh, the first novel written by an Algerian woman to become a bestseller in Arabic, centres on Algeria's struggle against foreign domination, capturing four decades of that nation's tumultuous history. This award-winning novel is told in the narrative voice of Khaled, a former revolutionary and painter who has lost his left arm in the struggle against France, and centres upon his love affair with the novelist Hayat, a woman many years his junior and the daughter of his former commander.

Algerian novelist and poet Ahlem Mosteghanemi is a best-selling author in the Arab world. The Arabic original of this title (Zakirat al Jasad) was awarded the 1998 Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature. It has since been translated into English and French and has been adapted into a television series. The Art of Forgetting, Mosteghanemi's elegant and warm-hearted meditation on surviving the ravages of love, was published in 2011 by Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Publishing. She lives in Beirut.

Bloomsbury Qatar, paperback, 9789992194072; Bloomsbury (US), paperback, 9789992194072 (January 2013)

Book cover
Rachel Shihor
Translated from the Hebrew

Four excerpts from Rachel Shihor's novella Yankinton have been selected, and translated from the Hebrew for this cahier. These poignant and humorous tales are as much about the act of recollection as they are about the remembered Tel Aviv of the 1940s. In a playful and yet muted style, Shihor tells of the everyday life of a child beginning to grasp her surroundings. Six works by the painter David Hendler further explore the city.

Sylph Editions/Univ. of Chicago Press, paperback, 9780955296376

Book cover
Sefi Atta

At thirty-nine, Deola Bello, a Nigerian expatriate in London, is dissatisfied with being single and working overseas. Deola works as a financial reviewer for an international charity. When her job takes her back to Nigeria in time for her father's five-year memorial service, she finds herself turning her scrutiny inward. In Nigeria, Deola encounters changes in her family and in the urban landscape of her home, and new acquaintances who offer unexpected possibilities. Deola's journey is as much about evading others' expectations to get to the heart of her frustration as it is about exposing the differences between foreign images of Africa and the realities of contemporary Nigerian life.

Sefi Atta is the author of two previous novels, Swallow and Everything Good Will Come, and a collection of short stories, News from Home, all published by Interlink Books. She has been awarded the Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature in Africa and the NOMA Award for Publishing in Africa. Her novels have been published around the world and translated into numerous languages, and her radio and stage plays have been performed internationally. She was born in Lagos and now lives in Mississippi. Read an excerpt of this novel in this issue here.

Spinifex (AUS), paperback, 9781876756994; Interlink (US), hardcover, 9781566568920

Book cover
Rachida Madani
Translated from the French by Marilyn Hacker

This volume brings Moroccan poet Rachida Madani's remarkable poems to English-language readers for the first time. In Tales of a Severed Head, Madani addresses present-day issues surrounding the role of women in society—issues not unlike those explored a thousand years ago in the enduring collection of Arab tales known as The Thousand and One Nights.

In the ancient tales, the insanely distrustful King Shehriyar vows to marry a new wife each night and have her beheaded the next morning, thus eliminating the risk of being cuckolded. Through the courage and wit of young Scheherazade, who volunteers to be the king's bride and then invents the legendary tales that go on for a thousand and one nights, Shehriyar is healed of his obsession and the kingdom's virgins are saved. Like her brave-hearted predecessor, Madani's modern-day Scheherazade is fighting for her own life as well as the lives of her fellow sufferers. But in today's world, the threat comes as much from poverty, official corruption, the abuse of human rights, and the lingering effects of colonialism as from the power wielded by individual men. Madani weaves a tale of contemporary resistance, and once again language provides a potent weapon.

Yale University Press, paperback, 9780300176285

Book cover
Marisa Labozzetta

Combining fable, storytelling, and the grubbiness of harsh reality, Marisa Labozzetta tells the story of Fatma, a young woman from a storied family in Somalia. Brought to the United States as part of an arranged marriage, Fatma must undergo losing her child, drug addiction, abuse, and prison before coming out the other side. A tale of someone who never gives up, no matter how bleak her prospects. A novel that allows hope to shine even in the darkest hour.

Marisa Labozzetta is the author of the novels Stay With Me, Lella (Guernica, 1999) and At the Copa (Guernica, 2006). She lives in Northampton, Massachusetts.

Guernica Editions (CAN), paperback, 9781550716092

Bookmark and Share