Translated fiction to read this month

If you enjoy broadening your cultural horizons through the power of literature, here are some of our favourite recent translated novels from around the world.


Fog by Kaja Malanowska (translated by Bill Johnston)

When a woman is found murdered in her Warsaw apartment, the investigating detectives - Marcin Sawicki and his new colleague, the talented Ada Rochniewicz - are under pressure to close the case quickly. As the investigation proceeds, we meet the victim’s jilted lover; her cleaner, a Chechen refugee in desperate circumstances; the man who broke her heart and joined a cult; and Ada’s eccentric sister, Kasia. Getting to the truth becomes a darker and more complex matter than Marcin and Ada can imagine, as they confront a corrupt political and religious establishment.


The Art of Losing by Alice Zeniter (translated by Frank Wynne)

Born and raised in France, Naima’s knowledge of Algeria is limited to what she’s learned tangentially from her grandparents: the food cooked for her, the few precious things they brought with them when they fled their homeland. On the past, her family is silent. Why was her grandfather Ali forced to leave? Naima’s father, Hamid, says he remembers nothing. But now, for the first time since they left, Naima will see Algeria for herself and will ask questions about her family’s history. Spanning three generations across seventy years, Alice Zeniter’s The Art of Losing tells the story of how people carry on in the face of loss.


Olga by Bernhard Schlink (translated by Charlotte Collins)

Olga is an orphan raised by her grandmother in a Prussian village around the turn of the 20th century. Smart and precocious, she fights against the prejudices of the time to find her place in a world that sees her as second-best. When she falls in love with Herbert, a local aristocrat obsessed with the era’s dreams of power, glory and greatness, her life is irremediably changed. Theirs is a love against all odds, entwined with the twisting paths of German history, leading us from the late 19th to the early 21st century, from Germany to Africa and the Arctic, from the Baltic Sea to the German south-west.


Long Live the Post Horn! by Vigdis Hjorth (translated by Charlotte Barslund)

Ellinor, a 35-year-old media consultant, has not been feeling herself; she’s not been feeling much at all lately. She picks through an old diary and fails to recognise the woman in its pages, seemingly as far away from the world around her as she’s ever been. But when her coworker vanishes overnight, an unusual new task is dropped on her desk. Off she goes to meet the Norwegian Postal Workers Union, setting the ball rolling on a strange and transformative six months. This is an existential scream of a novel about loneliness (and the postal service!), written in Hjorth’s trademark spare, rhythmic and cutting style.


The Tower of Fools by Andrzej Sapkowski (translated by David French)

Reynevan is a doctor, a magician and, according to some, a charlatan. When his indiscretions cause him to flee across Europe, he encounters the chaos of the Hussite Wars. Pursued by the vengeful Stercza brothers and the Holy Inquisition, and with strange forces gathering in the shadows, Reynevan finds himself in the Narrenturm, the Tower of Fools - an asylum for ‘patients’ who dare to challenge the prevailing order, including the young Copernicus. This is the first book in an epic new trilogy by the bestselling Polish fantasy author of the The Witcher series, and once again Sapkowski’s work has been translated by David French.


Bullet Train by Kotaro Isaka (translated by Sam Malissa, released 16 March)

Five killers find themselves on a bullet train from Tokyo to Morioka, competing for a suitcase full of money. Satoshi looks like an innocent teenage schoolboy, but he is really a cunning psychopath. Kimura’s young son is in a coma thanks to Satoshi, and he’s tracked him onto the train to exact his revenge. Nanao, the self-proclaimed ‘unluckiest assassin in the world’, and the deadly partnership of Tangerine and Lemon are also on board. Why are they all on the same train? A bestseller in Japan, Bullet Train is an original and propulsive thriller that defies predictions, all the way to the last station.


The Last Snow by Stina Jackson (translated by Susan Beard, released 16 March)

Early spring has its icy grip on Odesmark, a small village in northern Sweden, abandoned by many. Liv Bjornlund lives in a derelict house together with her teenage son, Simon, and her ageing father, Vidar. They make for a peculiar family, and Liv knows that they are cause for gossip among their few remaining neighbours. Just why has Liv stayed by her domineering father’s side all these years? And is it true that Vidar is sitting on a small fortune? His questionable business decisions have made him many enemies over the years, and in Odesmark everyone knows everyone, and no one ever forgets…



Kaja Malanowska

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