I originally spotted the Translated Book Tag over at Laura’s blog (where she makes some great choices!) and although I don’t read as much translated fiction as I would like, I thought I would take part.
This Tag originated with Diana over at Thoughts on Papyrus – do check out her great blog.
- A translated novel you would recommend to everyone
Not only my favourite translated novel, but possibly one of my favourite novels of all time – I urge everyone to read Perfume by Patrick Süskind, translated by John E Woods. Perfume tells the story of Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, an unloved orphan in the 18th century who is blessed, or cursed, with an astonishing sense of smell. His attempt to capture stranger and stranger smells comes to a head when he becomes obsessed with the scent of a young virgin.
- A recently ‘old’ translated novel you enjoyed
Last year I read the hilarious Graveyard Clay (Cré na Cille) by Máirtín Ó’Cadhain translated by Liam Mac Con Iomaire and Tim Robinson from the original Irish. Long considered a classic of Irish literature, the new translation brought to life the dark humour of a novel, which is written entirely in dialogue between the dead inhabitants of a graveyard. I reviewed Graveyard Clay here.
- A translated novel you could not get into
I have read the first 30 pages of Blindness by José Saramajo at least 10 times. This does not bode well. Despite being intrigued by the premise and hearing great things about the book in general – I have been completely unable to get into it. Can anyone urge me to keep going?
- Your most anticipated translated novel release
Without a doubt, it has to be The Memory Police by Yoko Ogawa, translated by Stephen Snyder. I have read and loved all her work and am very much looking forward to this one too.
- A foreign language author you would love to read more of
I am going to cheat here and mention two. Firstly, Norwegian author Vigdis Hjorth whose new novel Will & Testament (translated by Charlotte Barslund) is an unsettling wonder, which has caused quite a stir in her home country. The other is Virginie Despentes. I very much enjoyed Vernon Subutex 1 (brilliantly translated by Frank Wynne) and am looking forward to catching up with Vernon in the rest of the trilogy.
- A translated novel you consider better than the film
I am going to flip this question and mention a film that I consider better than the translated novel. Although I enjoyed Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist (translated by Ebba Segerberg), the Swedish film adaptation – not the American remake! – is a stunning film that takes the source material and turns it into something superior.
- A translated ‘philosophical’ fiction book you would recommend
I am probably cheating a little here – but I would chose Life: A User’s Manual by Georges Perec (translated by David Bellos) in this category, despite it not being a philosophy book as such. I adored this novel when I read it last year – it encapsulates all that it means to be human in a sprawling tale of the inhabitants of one apartment block in Paris. You can read my review of this dazzling and dizzying book here.
- A translated fiction book that has been in your TBR too long
The Master And Marguerita by Mikhail Bulgakov has been on my TBR for a frightening number of years! I’ve lost count of the times I have put it on a reading challenge list in an attempt to make myself read it, but I never seem to get round to it, despite lots of people whose opinion I trust, raving about it. Karen, over at Kaggsy’s Bookish Ramblings has some great posts on Bulgakov for anyone else who is also interesting in checking out his work.
- A popular translated fiction book you have not yet read
I am one of the very few people not to have read anything by Elena Ferrante, despite the fact that these books sound exactly like something I would love. What is it that has stopped me? I have no idea, but I do think I need to get some Ferrante fever and see what all the fuss is about.
- A translated fiction book you have heard a lot about and would like to find out more about or read
I am very keen to read Territory of Light by Yūko Tsushima, translated by Geraldine Harcourt, which tells the story of a woman trying to build a life with her 2-year-old child following the breakdown of her marriage. I have loved what Japanese fiction I have read, and am a real sucker for interlinked stories, so this appeals to me very much. I was also swayed by Jacqui’s lovely review which convinced me that I will love this book.
If anyone else wants to have a go at this tag, please do – I’d love to see your answers!
I am a 40 something book buying addict trying to reduce the backlog one book at a time!