Men without Women: Haruki Murakami

Translated from Japanese by Philip Gabriel and Ted Goosen “Here's what hurst the most," Kafuku said. "I didn't truly understand her—or at least some crucial part of her. And it may well end that way now that she's dead and gone. Like a small, locked safe lying at the bottom of the ocean. It hurts …

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The Shadow of the Wind: Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Translated from Spanish by Lucia Graves “This is a place of mystery, Daniel, a sanctuary. Every book, every volume you see here, has a soul. The soul of the person who wrote it and of those who read it and lived and dreamed with it. Every time a book changes hands, every time someone runs …

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Podcast: Reading for our times—Reading around the world

Some years ago, a friend and fellow bookworm, Kristine Goulding, suggested on this blog that we read a book from every country in the world. And so the reading challenge was born, with only one rule: the writer has to be from the country. We've taken our time over it, but we are now up …

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The Bickford Fuse: Andrey Kurkov

Translated from Russian by Boris Dralyuk This is a strange, dreamlike book. Four men are on journeys across the Soviet Union that make no sense, in a landscape where the laws of physics don’t seem to exist anymore. The journeys start sometime around the end of the Second World War and last for decades. The …

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Celestial Objects: Jokha Alharthi

Translated from Arabic by Marilyn Booth Celestial Objects is a novel by Omani writer Jokha Alharthi that won the Man Booker International Prize in 2019. This makes it unusual—there aren’t a lot of books by Omani writers translated into English, and this is the first novel written originally in Arabic to win the prize. The …

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The Memory Police: Yoko Ogawa

Translated from Japanese by Stephen Snyder “‘Things go on disappearing, one by one. … It doesn’t hurt, and you won’t even be particularly sad. One morning you’ll simply wake up and it will be over, before you’ve even realized. … People gather in little groups out in the street to talk about their memories of …

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Beyond the Rice Fields: Naivo

Translated from French by Allison M. Charrette This is the first novel from Madagascar to be translated into English. It tells the story of Rafa, a young woman, and Tsito, the boy her father buys her for a slave. Their relationship is closer than mistress and slave—they are around the same age and they grow …

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Babylon: Yasmina Reza

Translated from French by Linda Asher “The world isn’t tidy. It’s a mess. I don’t try to make it neat.” This epigraph from Garry Winograd, an American street photographer, opens the book. The story is narrated by Elisabeth, a sixty-year-old woman looking back at a particular day in her life. When we first meet her, …

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Beauty is a Wound: Eka Kurniawan

Translated from Indonesian by Annie Tucker “One afternoon on a weekend in March, Dewi Ayu rose from her grave after being dead for twenty-one years. … She had passed away at fifty-two, rose again after being dead for twenty-one years, and from that point forward nobody knew exactly how to calculate her age.” This novel …

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A Man Called Ove: Fredrick Backman

Translated from Swedish by Henning Koch “Ove is fifty-nine. He drives a Saab. He’s the kind of man who points at people he doesn’t like the look of, as if they were burglars and his finger a policeman’s flashlight.” When we meet him, Ove is trying to buy an iPad and driving the salesman crazy. …

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