Created by Diana @Writings on Papyrus (a now defunct blog), this book tag is fabulous for anyone who loves to read books in translation.
All the wonderful links on Diana’s blog have now, sadly, been lost. But hopefully we can start a new chain of favourite translated books for us to get excited about. Feel free to leave a link in the comments if you’d like to join in.
I. A translated novel you would recommend to everyone:
- The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree | Shokoofeh Azar. Not only does this book have one of the most colourful, enticing book covers ever, it contains a story that draws you into it’s dreamy, magical world of war, love and the search for peace.
- Bonus Recommendation: Perfume: The Story of a Murderer | Patrick Suskind. A slightly shocking, even subversive romp through Napoleonic Paris with a man who has a heightened sense of smell. This book will leave you bemused and confused, in a good way.
II. A recently read ‘old’ translated novel you enjoyed:
- Les Miserables | Victor Hugo. A successful year-long slow read was the ideal way to tackle this chunkster. With 365 chapters, it’s made for this kind of readalong – I highly recommend this approach. You’ll learn everything you ever needed to know about Waterloo, the sewers of Paris, and the barricades. And love. In all it’s guises.
III. A translated novel you could not get into:
- Don Quixote | Cervantes. Sorry to all the fans of this epic Spanish novel, but I got tired, so very, very tired of the joke that never ended, the cruel humour that seemed so pointless and the story line that never went anywhere and kept repeating. It wore me out completely. The only enjoyment came from researching certain sections and reading along with others (I’m looking at you Silvia & Nick in particular) who were devoted fans. For them, I kept on trying, as long as I could.
IV. Your most anticipated translated novel release:
- The Memory Police | Yōko Ogawa
- The Memory Police is a 1994 novel by Yōko Ogawa.
- Published in English by Pantheon Books and Harvill Secker August 2019
- Translated by Stephen Snyder.
- It is a science fiction novel set in a future of mass surveillance reminiscent of 1984, and written in a strange and dreamlike style influenced by Kafka.
On an unnamed island off an unnamed coast, objects are disappearing: first hats, then ribbons, birds, roses—until things become much more serious. Most of the island’s inhabitants are oblivious to these changes, while those few imbued with the power to recall the lost objects live in fear of the draconian Memory Police, who are committed to ensuring that what has disappeared remains forgotten.
When a young woman who is struggling to maintain her career as a novelist discovers that her editor is in danger from the Memory Police, she concocts a plan to hide him beneath her floorboards. As fear and loss close in around them, they cling to her writing as the last way of preserving the past.
V. A foreign-language author you would love to read more of:
- Banana Yoshimoto | Kitchen & Moonlight Shadow were enchanting short pieces that have me very curious about what else she can do.
VI. A translated novel which you consider to be better than the film:
- My choice works the other way round – a film of a translated book which was far superior to the book goes to Out of Africa | Karen Blixen.
VII. A translated ‘philosophical’ fiction book you recommend:
VIII. A translated fiction book that has been on your TBR for far too long:
- The Master and Margarita | Mikhail Bulgakov. I can’t even remember where or when I picked this book up now. But it’s Russian, there’s a cat and the title contains my favourite cocktail. I really should have embraced this years ago.
IX. A popular translated fiction book you have not yet read, but want to very soon:
- Norwegian Wood | Murakami. I’m overdue for another Murakami experience & I’ve decided this one should be next.
X. A translated fiction book (or author) you have heard a lot about and would like to find more about or read:
- Patrick Modiano
- Svetlana Alexievich