10 Authors I Haven’t Read, But Want To

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is “Authors I Haven’t Read, But I Want to Read Books by Them“. Selecting just ten names from the hundred or so authors on my wishlist is a challenge.

To simplify the task somewhat I’m limiting myself to authors from countries other than UK, Canada and USA. All the books mentioned are titles I own already

1. Tsitsi Dangarembga, Zimbabwe: This Mournable Body

Dangarembga’s debut novel, Nervous Conditions  was named by the BBC as one of the top 100 books that have shaped the world. Her most recent novel. This Mournable Body, was shortlisted for the 2021 Booker Prize.

2. Damon Galmut, S Africa: The Promise , The Good Doctor

Galmut came to my attention thanks to a fellow member of a Nordic walking group. She was very enthusiastic about The Promise which went on to win the Booker Prize in 2021.

3. Nikkolai Gogol, Russia: The Nose

It’s been many years since I read one of the Russian greats. The Nose is a short story, a format I don’t particularly enjoy but thought it might be good as a warm up before delving into one of his more meaty novels like Dead Souls.

4. Jean-Claude  Izzo, France: Marseilles Trilogy

I have a fellow blogger (now sadly no longer active) to thank for alerting me to Izzo, an author credited as the originator of the “modern Mediterranean noir movement.” I’d never heard of that movement but this article gives a very useful explanation. Emma @ BookAroundTheCorner, who has a phenomenal knowledge of French literature, considers this an unmissable trilogy.

5. Thomas Mann, Germany: Death in Venice

Mann is another gap in my experience of the great and the good in literature. I’m almost afraid to add him to the list because he sounds like a difficult author. I’m thinking that Death in Venice, a novella, could be a gentle introduction to his writing.

6. Chibundu Onuzo, Nigeria: Sankofa  

Onuzo has been widely tipped as a name to watch. She was the youngest female writer (at 21) to be signed by Faber and Faber. Her first novel The Spider King’s Daughter won a Betty Trask Award  and was shortlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize and the Commonwealth Book Prize. Sankofa, her latest novel is described as a funny, painful novel in which a mixed-race British woman goes in search of the West African father she never knew.

7. José Saramango, Portugal: Raised from the Ground

The death of the Nobel Laureate in 2010 was marked by two national days of mourning in his native Portugal, such was the esteem with which he was held. Whether I appreciate his experimental style remains to be seen. I’m made nervous by comments that his style often features long sentences, sometimes more than a page long, consisting of clauses joined by commas but minus full stops.

8. Marlene van Niekerk, S Africa: Agaat  (translated in English as The Way Of The Women)

I’ve read books by several South African authors but all of them were written in English. So I was attracted to Van Niekerk partly because all her work is in her first language of Afrikaans. Agaat is her second novel in which she explores themes including the family, the change in power dynamics occasioned by the end of Apartheid, and inequalities of race, gender, and class.

9 Patrick White, Australia: Voss

Plans are afoot to do a readalong of Voss as part of Australia Reading Month 2022 hosted by Brona @Brona’s Books and Bill @ theaustralianlegend. I hope that happens because I just need a nudge to begin reading Patrick White , the only Australian to have been awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.

10 Seishi Yokomizo, Japan. The Village of Eight Graves; The Ingunami Clan 

East meets West in Yokomizo’s mystery novels. He modelled his novels on the detective story format used by “British-style” mystery writers like John Dickson Carr, publishing most of them in serial form.

So what do you think? Have you read any of of these authors —if so, would you recommend them?  
For those of you not familiar with Top Ten Tuesday, this is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. For the rules and the list of topics visit the Top Ten Tuesday page on her blog

BookerTalk

What do you need to know about me? 1. I'm from Wales which is one of the countries in the UK and must never be confused with England. 2. My life has always revolved around the written and spoken word. I worked as a journalist for nine years then in international corporate communications 3. My tastes in books are eclectic. I love realism and hate science fiction and science fantasy. 4. I am trying to broaden my reading horizons geographically by reading more books in translation

54 thoughts on “10 Authors I Haven’t Read, But Want To

  • May 1, 2022 at 6:20 am
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    I would reccommend no. 1 (Dangarembga), thought I’ve only read that book, and now its two precursors, which I also want to read. I am reading no. 2 (Galgut), with my reading group this month. I’m looking forward to it.

    Of course I’ve read Voss, and recommend it. I really should read Death in Venice.

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    • May 1, 2022 at 6:50 pm
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      I’m waiting for the Galgut to come out in paperback so I can suggest it to our book club.

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  • April 19, 2022 at 8:12 pm
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    I have time to comment. At last.

    Thanks a lot for mentioning my blog and I really, really recommend the Izzo trilogy. Such a sense of place, you cannot help get attached to Fabio Montale, the main character.

    The Nose is great and Dead Souls is fascinating for the first part and then it was a bit more tedious. But still, it’s worth reading, just for the concept under the “dead souls”.

    Death in Venice is great.

    I haven’t read the other ones, but happy reading!

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    • April 19, 2022 at 8:18 pm
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      i can sympathise Emma, I’m struggling to find enough time to comment on all the fabulous blog posts I see coming through my feed.

      Thanks for the insight regarding Gogol – sounds like starting with the Nose is a good plan

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      • April 19, 2022 at 8:19 pm
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        There’s a billet about Dead Souls on my blog. If you have time! 🙂

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  • April 15, 2022 at 7:15 pm
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    I’m afraid I haven’t heard of most of these, let alone read them, but I do hope you will be able to read and enjoy some of these soon. 😃

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    • April 17, 2022 at 5:58 pm
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      I hope so too Jessica though it looks like I’m not going to be able to make a start until next month

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  • April 15, 2022 at 7:32 am
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    The Promise is a very dark, but outstanding read. Galgut does not pull his punches! He is coming to Sydney for the annual writers festival at the end of May, and I’ve booked into two of his talks, one of which will deal with The Promise. I tried reading Patrick White – it’s too long ago to remember which book – and found the work so heavy that I had to put it down. Tim Winton is one of my favourite Aussie writers; he has an exquisite way with words and can take the simple things in life and turn them into all-absorbing writing. A classy story teller.

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    • April 17, 2022 at 6:02 pm
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      Lucky you to be able to see Galgut in person! I did try Winton but it was an audio book and I don’t think Cloudstreet was suited to that format so I’m going to try it in print form.

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  • April 14, 2022 at 3:36 am
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    I don’t blame you for needing a nudge to dig into Patrick White 😅 I briefly studied some of his work at uni, and it’s not light reading! Will be eager to hear what you make of him, though!

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    • April 17, 2022 at 6:06 pm
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      So now I’m suitably warned to read him when my brain can be fully engaged

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  • April 13, 2022 at 7:45 pm
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    I’ve got a Dover thrift edition of four stories by Gogol, including ‘The Nose’, which I’ve started to dip into and hopefully will finish in the next month as I complete other titles. I’ve only read one Mann (The Holy Sinner, many years ago) and have a copy of his Felix Krull novella waiting – my instinct is nearly always to start small until I’m comfortable with an author style and approach.

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  • April 13, 2022 at 4:20 pm
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    The only one I’ve read is Damon Galgut and I’d definitely recommend him, especially The Promise which I thought actually deserved the Booker for once.

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    • April 13, 2022 at 5:51 pm
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      Sometimes I see who won the prize and wonder how the judges could possibly have arrived at the conclusion this was the best book of the year. An article in the Sunday Times this weekend about prizes (literary, film and art) has made me even more questioning. The writer says he has been on a book prize panels where more than once another judge has said they never read the shortlisted book – just looked at the cover and author photo and decided they didn’t like the look of the author!

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    • April 17, 2022 at 6:23 pm
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      I’ve moved the book onto my bookcase where I keep the books I want to read next. So there is hope it will get attention this year

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    • April 13, 2022 at 5:51 pm
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      I’m debating whether to make this a summer where I read all these authors…

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    • April 13, 2022 at 5:52 pm
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      It’s through blogging that I have become more conscious of all the big name authors I’ve yet to read

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  • April 13, 2022 at 1:58 pm
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    I’ve read Death in Venice and although I can’t say that I loved it, I did like it enough to want to read more of his work – so yes, I think it’s probably a good place to start. Seishi Yokomizo’s books are very entertaining. I haven’t read The Inugami Curse yet but enjoyed The Village of Eight Graves.

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    • April 13, 2022 at 5:53 pm
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      Thanks so much for that insight Helen. I’m really curious about Yokomizo and how close they come to the British mystery story format

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  • April 13, 2022 at 12:39 pm
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    I love all of Gogol, but a short story is probably a good place to start and The Nose is very funny. The only Mann I’ve read is The Magic Mountain, which was wonderful! As for Saramago, I’ve read several and yes his prose does consist of long, flowing sentences with few full stops but once you get into the groove he’s wonderful. I’ve read Death at Intervals and All the Names and both were brilliant!!!

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    • April 13, 2022 at 5:54 pm
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      “very funny” is not a term I would expect to find applied to a Russian author. I’ve built up this idea in my head that they’re all very gloomy….

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  • April 13, 2022 at 10:27 am
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    I have to own up to not having read a single one of these either …

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    • April 13, 2022 at 5:55 pm
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      I feel better now, knowing that I am not alone

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  • April 13, 2022 at 10:20 am
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    The Spider King’s Daughter was a real page turner, that left enough of an impression for me to write a review four years after reading it; that means her descriptions were strong enough that reading a few reviews rekindled my memories. I hope her new one is just as good. When I read Saramago’s Blindness, it was in Dutch translation and I had no difficulties following it. Many people seem to have an issue with his lack of quotation marks, but that was a complete non-issue for me. As for Mann, I read Death in Venice many years ago and, again, don’t remember finding it difficult. You have some excellent books on that list!

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    • April 13, 2022 at 6:02 pm
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      That’s good to know about the Saramango. I’ve picked up a few contemporary authors where they also made limited use of punctuation and I did find it hard. But you’re the second person here to comment that it wasn’t an issue. So Saramango here I come….

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  • April 13, 2022 at 10:07 am
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    I highly recommend Galgut. The Promise is fantastic and I also loved The Good Doctor. Like you I also want to read Patrick White

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  • April 13, 2022 at 8:59 am
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    Galgut is one of my favourite authors and The Promise is a very accomplished work—an absolutely brilliant narrative voice. Van Niekerk’s Agaat is also a monumental work—not an easy read, but so powerful and an excellent translation. I must read Patrick White and Thomas Mann myself and have several books by each sitting on my shelves.

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    • April 13, 2022 at 6:03 pm
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      Very few people seem to have heard of Van Niekerk – I hadn’t until I went into a bookshop during a trip to south africa and asked for recommendations.

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  • April 13, 2022 at 6:59 am
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    What a great selection, I liked how you made your choices, I don’t think I’ve read any of these, but several caught my eye.

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    • April 13, 2022 at 6:05 pm
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      It was quite a challenge to keep to just 10 names Rosie.

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  • April 13, 2022 at 2:31 am
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    Two of the authors on your list are also on my TBR; Izzo and Yokomizo. But both Gogol and Saramago are wonderful. If the collection of Gogol’s short stories you have also includes The Overcoat, you might want to try that one. Don’t be too daunted by Saramago’s sentences, there’s a fluidity to them that can pull a reader in to his work.

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    • April 13, 2022 at 6:06 pm
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      Thanks for the recommendation – I shall have to look at what else is in the Gogol collection (it’s ages since I bought it).

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  • April 12, 2022 at 11:32 pm
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    I haven’t read any of these authors yet, this is an impressive and diverse list. I’ve been interested in Gogol since I read The Namesake (my reading of Russian authors is pretty limited). Saramago is another author I’d like to read.

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    • April 13, 2022 at 6:08 pm
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      My knowledge of the Russians isn’t extensive either – I read Anna Karenina, War and Peace decades ago, read Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment a few years ago and was bowled over by it though haven’t read anything else by him. I did try Turgenev but found him dull

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  • April 12, 2022 at 11:26 pm
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    I also need a nudge to read Patrick White so I will unearth away my copy Voss that has been sitting lurking in my tbr pile for years!! Great idea

    Also keen to check out Sankofa, as you say it’s got a vibe right now.

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    • April 13, 2022 at 6:09 pm
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      Did Bill get in touch with you about doing the Voss readalong?

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    • April 13, 2022 at 6:09 pm
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      Thanks Lydia. Off to check out your version now

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  • April 12, 2022 at 10:50 pm
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    I have read four from your excellent list and would rank these four as follows:
    1. Voss by Patrick White – a life-changer to read
    2 The Nose by Gogol – more a short story than a novel, but an absolute must-read from Gogol
    3 The Promise by Damon Galgut – To put this in only third place shows how strong these four are
    4. Death in Venice by Thomas Mann – This was my first Thomas Mann, but I much preferred ‘The Magic Mountain’ and ‘Buddenbrooks’ later.

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    • April 13, 2022 at 6:50 pm
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      Thanks so much for giving your insight. You’re definitely making me wish it was time to start the Voss readalong but I’m going to have to be patient for a few months more …

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    • April 13, 2022 at 6:52 pm
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      Now you have roused my curiosity. I can’t see being able to fit it in this month but am definitely adding it to my May reading

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  • April 12, 2022 at 10:02 pm
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    So many titles here that I want to get to! Also the perfect reminder that Sankofa has been unread on my kindle for far too long!!

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    • April 13, 2022 at 6:53 pm
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      Yep it’s been on my Kindle for a while too. That’s the problem with e books, because I can’t physically see them I forget I have them

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  • April 12, 2022 at 10:01 pm
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    I will admit to several things:

    I feel guilty that my reading is not more diverse. I am aware of it, and meanwhile, my TBR is getting bigger whilst I read fewer books. If I’m ready, I read more stories from women, occasionally authors from India/Far East.

    I love the books of Andrea Camilleri (his translator has won awards), I subscribe to Peirene Press, (though I have been lax in reading their books),

    A couple of Far East writers to be added to the mix:

    Akimitsu Takag (he wrote crime thrillers in the 1940, absolutely fascinating)

    Natsuo Kirino – books like “OUT” are women led crime dramas

    I’ve probably mentioned both to you before, but I like to add to the mix 🙂

    Reply
    • April 13, 2022 at 6:56 pm
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      I was in a similar situation several years ago, recognising that I was reading predominantly authors from USA and UK. So I set myself a target to read books by authors from 50 different countries. It’s taken me longer than expected but I’ve got to 48 and some of them have been wonderful discoveries. I’d read hardly any Japanese authors until then but am now getting to really enjoy them. Bless you for adding to my list for the future, I shall definitely explore these two

      Reply

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