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Blasts from the Past: Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie (transl. by Ina Rilke) (2000)

This is the latest in a series of occasional posts featuring books I read years ago about which I was wildly enthusiastic at the time, wanting to press a copy in as many hands as I could. I’m ashamed to say that I read far less fiction in translation back in 2000 when I first

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Air and Love by Or Rosenboim: ‘Where are you really from?’

Migration is a theme I’m often drawn to, fascinated by the way in which people adapt and change, influencing their new culture and country even when it’s made clear they’re far from welcome. Or Rosenboim’s beautifully jacketed Air and Love promised an exploration of her family’s peripatetic history through their food, something I’m also keen

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Cover image for A Perfect Day to Be Alone by Nanae Aoyama

A Perfect Day to Be Alone by Nanae Aoyama (transl. Jesse Kirkwood): A poignant, funny coming-of-age story

Nanae Aoyama’s A Perfect Day to Be Alone is already a bestseller in several European countries, translated into German, French and Italian before Jesse Kirkwood’s English version. Spanning a year in which twenty-year-old Chizu lives with an elderly distant relative, it’s a quiet coming-of-age story. It turned out that when you put three people with

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