Six Translated Fiction Novels I Recommend
I realised in 2020 that I had read a shockingly low amount of books not originally written in English. I’ve made strives to correct this over the last twelve months, and so far found six translated fiction novels (and plays, technically) I would recommend.
My latest read is The Phantom of the Opera, a horror/romance novel set in the Opera district of France. This story has famously been adapted for screen and stage, but the novel itself is fairly different from both adaptations, although the premise and characters remain the same.
From a book that was adapted into a play, to a play that was adapted into a book. Before the Coffee Gets Cold was originally a play before the author decided to turn it into a book, although elements of stage direction remain somewhat. It’s a warm book, and it gives you the feeling like a cup of proper decent coffee before a long day.
A few years ago Convenience Store Woman was the talk of the publishing town. It was a revelation in literary fiction and was the beginning of my translated fiction journey. It’s really short and easy to read, and the characters are great. It’s all about a woman who doesn’t fit in society because she loves her job at the Convenience Store.
If lyrical prose is more you thing then I highly recommend In Paris With You by Clementine Beauvais. It’s a beautiful story about two teenagers who have a short-lived romance and then reconnect as adults. Kind of the YA version of Normal People by Sally Rooney.
I had to study A Doll’s House at school, and whilst I found it a little dull at the time – it’s about a woman with no control over her own life – now I find it a lot more interesting. It’s a sad yet powerful story about a woman taking control and ownership of her own self.
And finally, an ancient classic. I did Antigone at school as well, when I acted as the sister Ismene in drama class. It’s the story of one of the children of Oedipus and Jocasta, who buries her brother against the demands of her uncle who is now the ruler of the land. She commits suicide after being left to die in a tomb, only for her uncle to rescind his punishment upon realising his mistakes. It’s the epitome of a Greek Tragedy.
What translated fiction novels would you recommend? I’m always looking for new suggestions to add to my reading list. Let me know in the comments below.