August books in translation by women

August is Women in Translation month!

Read on for some of our favourite recent and upcoming releases celebrating the power of women’s voices all over the world.


Bright by Duanwad Pimwana

Thai writer Duanwad Pimwana has created a novel of urban and at times, gritty vignettes, balanced with a folktale-like feel and a charmingly wry sense of humour. When five-year-old Kampol is told by his father to sit in front of their run-down apartment building and await his return, the confused boy does as he’s told – he waits and waits and waits, until he realises his father isn’t coming back anytime soon. Adopted by the community, Kampol is soon being raised by various figures in the homes around. This is a charmingly wry and off-beat coming-of-age story from one of the finest Thai novelists around.


Tokyo Ueno Station by Yu Miri

Born the same year as the Emperor, Kazu’s life is tied by a series of coincidences to Japan’s Imperial family and to one particular spot in Tokyo; the park near Ueno Station – the same place his unquiet spirit now haunts in death. It is here that Kazu’s life in Tokyo began as a labourer, and later where he ended his days, living in the park’s vast homeless ‘villages', traumatised by the destruction of the 2011 tsunami and enraged by the announcement of the 2020 Olympics. Yu Miri is an award-winning Korean-Japanese writer who has crafted a novel of utmost importance to a significant moment in Japanese history, and an insightful, sensitive look into the lives of Japan’s most vulnerable.


10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World by Elif Shafak

Our brains stay active for ten minutes after our heart stops beating. In the last few moments of her life, Leila is flooded by memories, taking us from her birth to her untimely death, in a richly woven narrative. Each memory reminds Leila of the five friends she met along the way – the friends who are now desperately trying to find her. Our reviewer Julia calls author Elif Shafak’s writing ‘beautiful and complex, yet easy to read’. Read Julia’s full review of 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World here.


Celestial Bodies by Jokha Alharthi

Set in the village of al-Awafi in Oman, Celestial Bodies follows three sisters: Mayya, who marries Abdallah after a heartbreak; Asma, who marries from a sense of duty; and Khawla who rejects all offers while waiting for her beloved, who has emigrated to Canada. Celestial Bodies just won the 2019 Man Booker International Prize, and it’s not hard to see why. It is an elegantly structured and taut story; a coiled spring of a novel, telling of Oman’s coming-of-age through the prism of one family’s losses and loves.


Let’s Hope for the Best by Carolina Setterwall

It should have been like any normal night, but it wasn’t. When Carolina’s young husband, Aksel, dies unexpectedly in the night, her world is turned upside down. There should have been time – time to work on their relationship, to calm their nine-month-old son, to embark on a new chapter as a family. Told in two narratives that work towards the moment of Aksel’s death, Let’s Hope for the Best recounts the intensity of falling in love as Carolina unpacks the small details of life before tragedy, determined to find some explanation for the bad hand she’s been dealt.


The Memory Police by Yoko Ogawa

On an isolated island, things are disappearing. Ribbon, hat, bird. One by one, they all disappear, and soon, the locals forget they ever existed at all. The disappearances are enforced by the Memory Police, and those who can remember when they shouldn’t are taken away. When a young novelist discovers that her editor, R, can illegally remember the forgotten things, she fears for his life and secretes him away beneath the floorboards of her home with the help of her elderly neighbour. Award-winning Japanese writer Yoko Ogawa has created a stirring, evocative dystopian novel that completely refreshes the genre. Read our reviewer Georgia’s thoughts here.

For more recommendations of women in translation, see our full collection below.

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10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World

10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World

Elif Shafak

$32.99Buy now

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