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10 Wonderful Books By Women In Translation

It’s August so it must be Women in Translation month.

This year, founder and host of #WITMonth, Meytal at Biblibio, is building a list of the top 100 women in translation.

Although I haven’t read anywhere near as many women writers in translation as I’d like, I still managed to find 10 that I recommend.

The Murder Of Halland by Pia Juul (Danish)

An enigmatic novel that demonstrates how Nordic fiction isn’t all about “noir.” Though crime does features, the discovery of a body is simply a trigger for the dead man’s wife to re-evaluate her marriage, her relationship with friends and with her estranged daughter.

The Vegetarian by Han Kang (Korean)

A startling and disturbing novella of a Korean housewife who decides to stop eating meat. Her decision puts her at opposition to her family and her culture and on a path to mental collapse

Please Look After Mom by Shin Kyung-sook (Korean)

The children of one elderly Korean woman are forced to re-examine their relationship with their mother when she goes missing in a crowded metro station.

Fear and Trembling by Amélie Nothomb (Belgian)

An unusual novel of the difficulties faced by a young girl when she begins to work in a Japanese multinational company and doesn’t understand the rules.

The Blue Room by Hanne Ørstavik (Norwegian)

Another gem from Peirene. This one looks at the difficult relationship between a mother who likes to be in control and a daughter who wants her freedom.

Lullaby by Leïla Slimani (French)

Parents intent on building a successful career. A nanny who seems too perfect to be true. Two children in her care. What could possibly go wrong?

The Quest for Christa T by Christa Wolf (German)

A fascinating portrait of an East German woman from her childhood at the end of World War 2 until her early death in a 1960s Communist state. 

Beside The Sea by Veronique Olmi (French)

A mother’s love for her children and her fears of letting them go out into the world are brought vividly to life.

Goodbye Tsugumi by Banana Yoshimoto

Two old friends re-unite one summer. A chance to re-kindle their relationship and remember the idyllic times they spent together. But their lives are set on different courses.

The Housekeeper And The Professor by Yoko Ogawa

Quietly understated tale of a wise old man who leads a younger mind to enlightenment. 

What women in translation books would you recommend? I’m particularly interested in authors from Asia or South America.

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