Of the 101 books I’ve read so far in 2016, 23 have been translated books. I’m not counting the books I read in the original language, because I’m curious just how much gets translated and how far I stray beyond my obvious comfort zones of French/German/Romanian literature. Here are my favourites so far:
The Young, the Aimless, the Self-Absorbed (by turns funny and poignant):
- Knausgard: Some Rain Must Fall
- Mircea Eliade: Diary of a Short-Sighted Adolescent
- Olja Savicevic: Adios, Cowboy – to be reviewed on Necessary Fiction
- Tatiana Salem Levy: The House in Smyrna
Those Who Qualified for Next Round of the Euro:
- Pascal Garnier: Too Close to the Edge (France)
- Javier Marias: Your Face Tomorrow (Part 1) (Spain) – infuriatingly, still not up to date with a review for this one. I might as well read the whole trilogy and review it afterwards.
- Peter Gardos: Fever at Dawn (Hungary)
Non-Fiction Which Really Made Me Think:
- Asne Seierstad: One of Us – about Norway’s most notorious mass shooting
- Elif Shafak: Black Milk – about motherhood and creativity
Do you notice one big omission on this list? Elena Ferrante. Yes, because although I devoured her Neapolitan tetralogy and enjoyed it, it did not capture my heart and mind as much as some of her other work.
Huge thanks to Hande Zapsu, Alison Entrekin, Don Bartlett, Sarah Death, Emily Boyce, Elizabeth Szász, Margaret Jull Costa, Christopher Moncrieff, Celia Hawkesworth and all the other translators who labour in the shadows (still), so we can have access to a wider world out there.