Must-Read Books by Women Not Originally Written in English ...


Must-Read Books by Women Not Originally Written in English ...
Must-Read Books by Women Not Originally Written in English ...

If you only read books written by English writers you’re missing out on some incredible literature. Thanks to translations it doesn’t matter what language a book is written in – you can enjoy it just as much in English regardless of its original language. If you want to broaden your literary horizon, why not try one of these books. All are written by women but not originally in English.

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Last Train to Istanbul by Ayse Kulin

text, poster, pattern, advertising, document, A gripping tale of a couple who escape from Turkey only to be greeted by the Nazi invasion of France on their travels. (I read this last week and loved it)

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The True Deceiver by Tove Jansson

document, advertising, THE, TRUE, DECEIVER, The Moomins were among my childhood favorites and this book by their Finnish author is next on my reading list. Light years away from those funny Moomins, this is the story of a social outcast and the woman she manipulates.

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My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante

person, text, human action, religion, One, This is the first in a wonderful series about a friendship between two women in mid-20th century Italy.

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So Long a Letter by Mariama Ba

text, biology, document, advertising, Copyrighted, This is a semi-autobiographical novella that shows a Senegalese woman struggling to support her family after the death of her husband.

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Rain Girl by Gabi Kreslehner

soldier, document, AENL, GIRL, GABI, Originally written in German, this Austrian crime novel is just as gripping as anything you’ve read written in English. Credentials? It topped the Kindle best-sellers.

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A True Novel by Minae Mizumura

brown, document, TRUE, NOVEL, Minae, This is a rather extraordinary retelling of Wuthering Heights, with Heathcliff becoming Taro, a Japanese immigrant trying to make a life in post war New York.

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Minae Mizumura's reinterpretation of the classic tale weaves in uniquely Japanese elements and addresses complex themes of identity, cultural dislocation, and belonging. A True Novel moves the brooding intensity of Bronte's moorlands to the vibrant, contrasting backdrop of the Showa Era. Mizumura's layered narrative pays homage to the original while adding profound depth through its examination of societal change and personal ambition within different cultures, making this an essential read for those who appreciate nuanced storytelling and rich character development.

Discover this compelling bridge between literatures of the East and West. A True Novel awaits your keen eyes.

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Panty by Sangeeta Bandyopadhyay

clothing, font, crowd, t shirt, pattern, This is an awesome collection of stories, with the titular tale being about a piece of lingerie inherited by an apartment owner, whose love life begins to mirror that of the panties’ previous tenant!

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The Vegetarian by Han Kang

text, poster, document, illustration, THE, This is a quirky novel that won a Man Booker Prize in 2016, about a housewife whose life is changed when she decides to go vegetarian.

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The Land of Green Plums by Herta Muller

poster, document, HERTA, MULLER, NOBEL, This amazing book explores the lives of four young adults who are faced with living under the regime of totalitarian Nicolae Ceaușescu.

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The Last Lover by Can Xue

modern art, font, poster, illustration, document, The winner of the 2015 Best Translated Book award is a sprawling Chinese tale of love, life and loss filled with a group of diverse characters.

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The Tree of Life by Maryse Conde

Kotak Life Insurance, text, document, area, book, This is the perfect novel for you if you like to get stuck in to a really dramatic family saga type narrative, in this instance about a Central American family’s travels across the world.

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Wild Thorns by Sahar Khalifeh

book, document, textile, bag, Sahar, A very timely and gripping novel about a Palestinian who returns to his home land only to find that his neighbors have accepted the Israeli occupation.

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Sphinx by Anne Garreta

nose, diagram, poster, logo, document, This is an interesting novel that explores the protagonist’s affections and objects of love without ever revealing the gender or identity of the narrator.

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Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel

oblate, Monthly, Installments, wit, Remedies, This is a family drama set in turn of the century Mexico that received lots of success in the 1990s and was turned in to a successful big screen adaptation.

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The Ten Thousand Things by Maria Dermout

text, biology, document, book, ritual, This is a really poetic novel about a woman who is sent away to school but returns to her native Dutch East Indies in adulthood with one son and no husband.

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The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende

Inspiration Cruises, Fabindia, blond, ighted, Material, Another gripping family saga type story, this time about the Trueba family, a powerful political force who are faced with the sins of their past.

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The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

The Complete Persepolis, Persepolis - French Style, Persepolis, turquoise, poster, This is very cool graphic memoir about the author’s childhood in Iran that leads to Vienna and back in a journey to find her identity.

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The Complete Stories by Clarice Lispector

purple, magenta, modern art, costume, natural material, This collection of stories, originally written in Portuguese, was shortlisted for the Best Translated Book award in 2016.

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The Piano Teacher by Elfriede Jelinek

text, turquoise, Achieves, haunting, power, A well-known novel (also adapted into a movie) about a sexually frustrated piano teacher who looks for a way to live out her fantasies by beginning an affair with one of her students.

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I hope you give some of these a try. If you know of other great translations, please share them.

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