Did you know that August is Women in Translation Month? I just discovered this yesterday via Europa Editions latest email update. I love Europa Editions (two books in reading progress currently--see sidebar--and one at the ready to begin soon), love reading women authors and am always looking to expand my reading horizons by reading books in translation. So, what's not to love about this?
I only wish I had learned about this sooner and could have prepared. Better (a little) late than never and I am a quick planner. I'm already reading Andrea Japp's historical mystery, The Lady Agnes Mystery. Not only is it translated from the French, but the translator, Lorenza Garcia, is also a woman. The book was kindly passed on to me from the folks at Gallic Books. If you've not discovered them, do take a look--I have a number of their other titles on my reading pile as well.
You can read all about WITMonth at Biblio: Life in Letters. This is the second year Meytal has organized this with the aim of bringing women authors to the front--not just women authors in general, but world literature. WITMonth is very laid back--read a book or many or just pass along the word and learn more about the lack of representation of women writers being translated, reviewed and receiving awards. If you read books in translation regularly, you will already know how few books (comparatively speaking) are translated into English, so it's rather sad to think that of that 3% only 30% is made up of women authors.
Biblio is a wonderful resource to use to orient yourself and get started. Read more about it here, and if you need help deciding what to read you can check out her database of authors/books. I am always on the look out for new-to-me books, so I look forward to exploring the list. Since I have acquired quite a few of my own books, which sit here as yet unread--a quick glance around to see what I can come up with myself.
To get started here are ten books from my own shelves of books written by women and translated into English:
Hunting and Gathering by Anna Gavalda, translated by Alison Anderson (French) "in her epic new novel of intimate lives-and filled with the "humanity and wit" (Marie Claire) that has made it a bestselling sensation in France-Gavalda explores the twists of fate that connect four people in Paris."
You Are Not Like Other Mothers by Angelika Schrobsdorff, translated by Steven Rendall (German) "the story of Else Krischner, a free spirited mother of three sons. The novel spans the first half of the 20th century, from World War I through the Jewish Else’s exile in Bulgaria during World War II. Multi-layered and epic in scope, the narrative incorporates numerous sub-plots and secondary characters to provide a richly rendered portrait of 20th century Europe."
The Devil's Whisper by Miyuki Miyabe, translated by Deborah Iwabuchi (Japanese) "Three deaths come in quick succession: one girl jumps from the roof of a six-story building; another falls in front of a train; and a third is hit by a late-night taxi. But how are they related? And are they accidents, suicides -- or murder?"
All Our Yesterdays by Natalia Ginzburg, translated by Angus Davidson (Italian) "This powerful novel is set against the background of Italy from 1939 to 1944, from the anxious months before the country entered the war, through the war years, to the allied victory with its trailing wake of anxiety, disappointment, and grief."
The American Girl by Monika Fagerholm, translated by Katarina Tucker (Swedish) "Crime mystery and gothic saga, social study and chronicle of the late sixties and early seventies, a portrait of the psyche of young girls on the cusp of sexual awakening, The American Girl is a bewitching glimpse of the human capacity for survival and for self-inflicted wounds."
One Night, Markovitch by Ayelet Gundar-Goshen, translated by Sondra Silverstein (Hebrew) "In the late 1930s, two men - Yaacov Markovitch, perennially unlucky in love, and Zeev Feinberg, virile owner of a lustrous moustache - are crossing the sea to marry women they have never met. They will rescue them from a Europe on the brink of catastrophe, bring them to the Jewish homeland and go their separate ways. But when Markovitch is paired with the beautiful Bella he vows to make her love him at any cost, setting in motion events that will change their lives in the most unexpected and capricious of ways."
Another Love by Erzsebet Galgoczi, translated by Ines Rieder and Felice Newman (Hungarian) "A woman journalist who exposes the hypocrisy of the Soviet-dominated press is found murdered. With a plot that could have been ripped from today’s headlines, Another Love offers “a finely balanced blend of entertainment and political commentary” (Publishers Weekly). A great novel of the 1956 Hungarian uprising against the Soviets, Another Love is a classic of Eastern European literature."
The Japanese Lover by Isabel Allende, translated by Nick Caistor and Amanda Hopkinson (Spanish) This is actually due to be released in November but I have a review copy loaded onto my tablet as an ebook. "an exquisitely crafted love story and multigenerational epic that sweeps from San Francisco in the present-day to Poland and the United States during the Second World War."
Butterflies in November by Audur Ava Olafsdottir, translated by Brian FitzGibbon (Icelandic) "a blackly comic, charming, and uplifting tale of friends and lovers, motherhood, and self-discovery."
The Jasmine Isle by Ioanna Karystiani, translated by Michael Eleftheriou (Greek) "A modern love story with the force of an ancient Greek tragedy. Set on the spectacular Cycladic island of Andros, The Jasmine Isle one of the finest literary achievements in contemporary Greek literature, recounts the story of the beautiful Orsa Saltaferos, sentenced to marry a man she doesn't love and to watch while the man she does love weds another."
I've not forgotten about my own summer reading project (and the book I'll get to choose-as yet undecided-as soon as I finish a couple on my nightstand), but I can't pass up an opportunity of reading a book in translation by a woman author. I have lots of other books on my shelves that would work nicely, but this list is a taste and perhaps a starting place. If I can finish Lady Agnes and read one other book this month, perhaps from this list or maybe something else, I'll be very happy indeed.
Will you be reading along? If so, what's on your nightstand?