Translated books we loved in 2019

Our staff share some of their favourite translated books from the past year.

“One of the biggest books of this year was The Eighth Life (For Brilka) by Nino Haratischvili, translated into English by Ruth Martin and Charlotte Collins. If you want to read one 900+ page book this year, please make it this sprawling family saga set in the Soviet Union.”

Mark Rubbo

“Two of my most engrossing reads this year have been works in translation. The read that continues is The Eighth Life (For Brilka), a sweeping history of 20th century Georgia through the eyes of one family. It is immense and also incredibly intimate and I haven’t even made it to WW2 yet.

The other is – by comparison – an almost invisibly thin tome. Lost Time – Lectures on Proust in a Soviet Prison Camp by Josef Czapski is an exquisite translation and reproduction of the lectures given by Czapski, a Polish artist and officer from memory to other prisoners during WW2 as a way of keeping busy. Each participant chose a topic, Czapski chose to recount Proust’s In Search of Lost Time. It carries so much more than its limited page number suggests.”

Marie Matteson

The Godmother, by Hannelore Cayre and translated by Australian Stephanie Smee, is an enthralling, chaotic tale of a hard-done-by woman turning from translating for the police to selling drugs only she knows the location of. This is smart, sharp, very French, and extremely readable.”

Fiona Hardy

Lie With Me by Philippe Besson. Utterly beautiful, heartbreaking and hopeful. Lie With Me is an extraordinary read, skillfully translated by none other than Molly Ringwald. A near perfect writing of how love shapes who we become.”

Tye Cattanach

The Little Virtues brings together eleven essays written by Italian writer Natalia Ginzburg between 1944 and 1960. It’s an evocative and immensely readable book. Opening with the incredibly moving ‘Winter in the Abruzzi’ and closing with her titular essay about raising children, this is a brilliant work of feminist writing with a devastatingly light touch.

Tove Jansson is one of my all-time favourite writers and just this month saw the release of Letters from Tove – a curated collection of letters the artist wrote to her family and friends throughout her life. This is such a gorgeously packaged book, and it’s ideal for dipping in and out of.”

Bronte Coates

Glory and its Litany of Horrors by Fernanda Torres and translated from the Portuguese by Eric M. B. Becker. This is a magnificent piece of original writing by Brazilian actress Torres which follows the ambition of Mario Cardosa; a soap opera actor who now wishes to try his hand at Shakespeare. The translation successfully captures the outrageousness of the opening chapter through to the more meaningful self realization near the end of the book.”

Amanda Rayner

Find even more favourites from the year by browsing the collection below.

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The Eighth Life (For Brilka)

The Eighth Life (For Brilka)

Nino Haratischvili, Ruth Martin, Charlotte Collins

$35.00Buy now

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