Brazilian authorsCaribbean authorsFinnish authorsworld literature

Women in Translation month beckons

The third Women in Translation month is about to begin and I’m tempted, so very tempted. I haven’t made much progress on my reading of books in translation this year so this would give me a bit of a much needed nudge. Only question is how to fit it in with so many other reading plans.

But it’s only for one month so I should be able to manage at least one shouldn’t I?

With optimism in mind I trawled through my TBR spreadsheet in search of possible candidates and narrowed it down to three options.

When-the-Doves-DisappearedWhen the Doves Disappeared by Sofi Skansen. This is the fourth novel by the Finnish-Estonian writer and was much lauded when it was published last year for its chilling account of occupation in Eastern Europe in 1940s. I bought it as a Christmas present to myself but haven’t found the time to read it yet. Wish my cover was as stunning as the image above shows.

girl-in-the-photographGirl in the photograph by Lydia Fagundes Telles, translated from Spanish

Although the title says girl singular, this is actually about three young women, all college girls who live in a boarding house somewhere in Brazil. they have formed an intense friendship over the years which is tested by the political upheaval resulting from a coup in 1964. Publishing this was a brave move by Telles since it came out at the height of the country’s military dictatorship and is a strong critique of the country’s political repression.


Tree_of_Life,_A_Novel_of_the_CaribbeanMy third choice is a bit of a cheat since it’s already on my 20BooksofSummer reading list. But needs must if time is short. Tree of Life: A Novel of the Caribbean is a 1992 novel by the Guadeloupean writer, Maryse Condé. The novel tells a multigenerational story about the emergence of the West Indian middle class. The Chicago Tribune called Tree of Life “a grand account of the Caribbean, the politics of race and immigration, and the intricate, often sordid legacy of colonialism”.

I’ve you’ve read these do let me know what you thought so you can help me make up my mind which to choose. And if you are also going to join Women in Translation month don’t forget to tell me what books you’ll be reading.


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

18 thoughts on “Women in Translation month beckons

  • I hope you read the book by Maryse Conde, a beautiful writer. She also has a short story in The Haunted Tropics: Caribbean Ghost Stories by Martin Munro which I recommend you to take a look at. I am an upcoming author, and university student in Jamaica who will be giving the world an insight into the lives of Caribbean people. Please take a look at my blog and like to get updates. ——->

  • Pingback: #20booksofsummer wrap up | BookerTalk

  • Pingback: #20booksofsummer: story so far | BookerTalk

  • Handily, I’ve got Auður Ava Olafsdottir – Butterflies in November on my 20BooksOfSummer list, a book by an Icelandic author that I’m bound not to read by the end of this month, so …

  • I’ve read a few of Maryse Condé already (Tales of the Heart, Victoire, My Mother’s Mother, Segu) and love her work, I’ve added two more to my list of possibles for WIT Moth Crossing the Mangrove and A Season in Rihata. I hadn’t come across The Tree of Life, I do hope you read it, I’ll be interested to read what you think. It sounds excellent. I read the previous Sofi Oksanen book, Purge, which was taut and haunting.

    I’ve just put up my list of possibles that I already have on the shelf to choose from, here’s a quick link to it Claire’s #WITMonth List

    I’m looking forward to the Simone Schwarz-Bart (also Guadeloupean) and Maga Szabo’s The Door and Gohril Gabrielsen’s The Looking-Glass Sisters and the slim Argentinian memoir by Laura Alcoba, all of them really!

    • Those are authors I have never heard of – so will take a closer look at your post to get more info and then shall look forward to reading your thoughts on them..

  • I would go with the third one. Lots of people do crossover action in their challenges!

  • I love the cover of When the Doves Disappeared. It looks freaky when you first glimpse it…and I can imagine it will feel surreal to read about those experiences. Thanks for sharing.

  • May I suggest Danish Dorthe Nors. You’ll find one or two of her books in English translation, at least Karate Chop. She is quite a young writer and getting very popular in the USA. Her books are very short 😉

    • i don’t have any Danes on my world literature reading list so thank you for that recommendation

  • So glad you will be participating in Women in Translation Month! ‘When the Doves Disappeared’ disappeared looks like s fascinating book! I don’t think I have read a book by an Estonian writer before. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on it. I have heard of Maryse Conde, though I haven’t read any of her works. Happy reading!

  • I had already marked When the Doves Disappeared, but Tree of Life looks interesting, too, and since you were already planning to read it, why not? 🙂 Besides, I thought that “it’s only a month thing” about Bex’s Middlemarch Read-Along, and hopefully I’ll be able to catch up this weekend with the 24 in 48 Readathon! Yikes! Overcommitted yet again!

    • is this your first time reading Middlemarch? Does it help to read it along with others – i only once did a read-along and the problem i found was that i was out of synch with the pace of all the other readers

    • of course after pushing the publish button i realise that August is also Virago month so we’re going to be v busy…


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