Fiction in Translation

Cover image for Dog Park by Sofi Oksanen

Dog Park by Sofi Oksanen (transl. Owen F. Witesman): Fertility for sale

This is one of those instances when, rather than reading the novel by an author sitting unread on my shelf since I can’t remember when, I plumped for their bright, shiny and new book, although bright might not be the best way to describe Sofi Oksanen’s Dog Park. Opening in Helsinki in 2016, Oksanen’s novel …

Dog Park by Sofi Oksanen (transl. Owen F. Witesman): Fertility for sale Read More »

Cover image for The Woman from Uruguay by Pedro Mairal

The Woman from Uruguay by Pedro Mairal (transl. Jennifer Croft): One day in the life

I’m not sure what it was that attracted me to Pedro Mairal’s The Woman from Uruguay. Perhaps it was simply that it’s a novella or that I’ve not read anything by a Latin American writer for some time. Whatever it was I’m glad I decided to read it. This short piece of fiction reads almost …

The Woman from Uruguay by Pedro Mairal (transl. Jennifer Croft): One day in the life Read More »

Cover image for Friendship by Lars Saabye Christensen

Friendship by Lars Saabye Christensen (transl. Don Bartlett): ‘Can everything go back to how it was?’

Lars Saabye Christensen’s new novel is the second instalment of his Echoes of the City trilogy. The first, which gives the series its name, opened in 1947 telling the story of post-war Oslo through the Kristoffersen family. Spanning just over a year, Friendship picks up their story in 1956 with Maj still treasurer of the …

Friendship by Lars Saabye Christensen (transl. Don Bartlett): ‘Can everything go back to how it was?’ Read More »

Cover image for The Survivors by Alex Schulman

The Survivors by Alex Schulman (transl. Rachel Willson-Broyles): ‘Where are my brothers?’

It was its Swedish setting that attracted me to Alex Schulman’s The Survivors which came my way at a time when I was remembering holidays past, including one taken on the Gothenburg archipelago many years ago. It’s about a family who holiday every year at the same isolated lakeside cottage until, one summer, a dramatic …

The Survivors by Alex Schulman (transl. Rachel Willson-Broyles): ‘Where are my brothers?’ Read More »

Cover image for People Like Them by Samira Sedira (transl Lara Vergnaud

People Like Them by Samira Sedira (transl. Lara Vergnaud): An unthinkable crime

I wasn’t at all sure I’d read Samira Sedira’s People Like Them. It’s published under Bloomsbury’s crime imprint and I’m a crime watcher rather than a crime reader but it was the quote from Leila Slimani about its exploration of racism which made me think again. Based on a true story, Sedira’s novella is about …

People Like Them by Samira Sedira (transl. Lara Vergnaud): An unthinkable crime Read More »

Cover image for Grown Ups by Marie Aubert

Grown Ups by Marie Aubert (transl. Rosie Hedger): Life begins at forty

Families and their dynamics offer such fertile ground for fiction. Most of us have a family in one form or another, and many of us are mystified by the differences between them, not least when we’re introduced to them by our partners. Marie Aubert’s darkly funny Grown Ups explores that most febrile of family dynamics, …

Grown Ups by Marie Aubert (transl. Rosie Hedger): Life begins at forty Read More »

Cover image for Whereabouts by Jhumpa Lahiri

Whereabouts by Jhumpa Lahiri (transl. by the author): ’Solitude: it’s become my trade’

Four years ago, I was sent a book by Jhumpa Lahiri which had intrigued me when I saw it listed as a translated work. In Other Words is her account of a passion for the Italian language so intense she uprooted her family from the US so that she could immerse herself in it. The …

Whereabouts by Jhumpa Lahiri (transl. by the author): ’Solitude: it’s become my trade’ Read More »

Cover image for Love in Five Acts by Daniela Krien

Love in Five Acts by Daniela Krien (transl. Jamie Bulloch): Take five women

I was delighted to spot Daniela Krien’s gorgeously jacketed Love in Five Acts in my Twitter timeline towards the end of last year. I’d read the haunting Someday We’ll Tell Each Other Everything back in 2015 which feels like an age ago now – pre-Brexit, pre-Trump and pre-pandemic. Born in the GDR, Krien was a …

Love in Five Acts by Daniela Krien (transl. Jamie Bulloch): Take five women Read More »

Cover image for Fidelity by Marco Missiroli

Fidelity by Marco Missiroli (transl. Alex Valente): ‘I am happy right here’

I was attracted to Marco Missiroli’s Fidelity by its title thinking it might make an interesting companion to Sue Miller’s Monogamy which I so enjoyed last year. That and its jacket with those eyes staring so directly at the camera. Set in Milan, it spans nine years in the lives of a husband and wife, …

Fidelity by Marco Missiroli (transl. Alex Valente): ‘I am happy right here’ Read More »

Cover image for The Field by Robert Seethaler

The Field by Robert Seethaler (transl. Charlotte Collins: Giving voice to the dead

Back in 2015, I reviewed Robert Seethaler’s A Whole Life, a beautifully written novella about a man who’d barely left his mountain hamlet, revealing the richness of even the simplest of lives. The following year’s The Tobacconist, set in Vienna in the months before Hitler annexed Austria, was equally striking raising high hopes for his …

The Field by Robert Seethaler (transl. Charlotte Collins: Giving voice to the dead Read More »