It’s no secret that we’re big fans of women in translation around here. And with only half as many women writers than men translated into English, Women In Translation Month is worthy of celebration. We read women in translation all year round, but we hope you’ll agree now’s the perfect time to share a list of our top five translated reads.
A Little Luck by Claudia Pinero, translated by Frances Riddle
It was a tough choice between this and Elena Knows, but I’ve already been thrusting copies of the latter into the hands of unsuspecting customers since I read it last December. A Little Luck is Claudia Pinero’s second novel to be translated into English by Frances Riddle, and it’s just as gripping as the first. It’s a story about the choices we make, and the butterfly effect that shapes our entire lives.
Strega by Johanne Lykke Holm, translated by Saskia Vogel
Reading Strega is to give in to uncertainty. Is this place real? Who are these young women living and working in tandem, sharing everything from a bedroom to cigarettes? And what’s going to happen to them? A sense of foreboding lurks beneath the exquisite, precise prose that gives us Strega. To sink in to Strega is to fall under its spell, and you may not want to emerge.
Ultramarine by Mariette Navarro, translated by Cory Stockwell
I read this short book in one sitting and would recommend anyone else do the same. We follow a female ship's captain for a day in her life. Mist rolls across the water. Waves swell. The fog thickens. Atmospheric, eerie, and oddly calming, the writing and translation of this book are as comforting as a cloud drifting across the sky.
This Is Not Miami by Fernanda Melchor, translated by Sophie Hughes
A series of reportage-style stories set in Veracruz, a major port city in Mexico, This Is Not Miami delves into the lives of murderers and misfits. Spare, impactful writing is translated perfectly – and it includes the most brilliant ghost story.
Mild Vertigo by Mieko Kanai, translated by Polly Barton
Mild Vertigo is a vivid portrait of life as a Japanese housewife, Natsumi, and Polly Barton has translated it beautifully. Mesmerising, page-long sentences, illuminate the minutia of life, down to the aisles of Natsumi’s local supermarket. A commentary on late-stage capitalism and the realities of motherhood and marriage, Mild Vertigo is just as relevant today as it was when it was first published in the 90s.
Love the sound of these?
If you’d like to read more women in translation all year round, joining Good Book Club is an easy way to do it. We send out a book a month celebrating under-represented authors, especially women. Our choices so far have spanned South America, Korea, Mauritius, and many more countries around the world. We’re always looking for the freshest contemporary fiction by women the world over. Irresistible, right?