November 4, 2020

Books in Translation

Today's Top 5 Wednesday topic is Books In Translation. This is a cool topic. And one I actually have answers for!

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman - This little cinnamon roll of a book was translated from the Swedish. Ove is a grumpy old man at only 59. He gets into arguments with his neighbors about the rules. He hates a little dog that pees on his garden. He's really upset with his new next door neighbors who keep foiling his plans to commit suicide. It doesn't sound sweet, but it truly is heartwarming.

A Winter's Promise by Christelle Dabos -  This is the first in a series originally written in French. I have read the second, which I thoroughly enjoyed, and the third just came out. It's about a girl who is sent to different world to marry a high-standing official. It's purely a marriage of convenience and when she gets there, she finds a world so unlike her own, she has no idea how to survive. The second one is better in my opinion, but you have to get through the first one to understand what's going on.

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez - I read this in 2009. Actually, I listened to it. I don't remember the details of the story, but it was rife with magical realism. I'm sure I don't have to outline this one for you. It's pretty much a classic.

Snow by Orhan Pamuk - This might be the one from the most far-flung location. This one is translated from the Turkish and is set in Turkey. That's pretty cool. Lots of people don't like this one because it's very slow. I kind of liked it's meandering pace. I remember none of the plot, but I liked the tone.

The Memory Police by Yoko Ogawa -  And maybe the most recently read translated work here is this one originally in Japanese. This book is slightly reminiscent of Orwell's 1984 in that there was a police force that would come and take you away. It's slightly different though because in this world things would randomly disappear and people would forget they ever existed within days. Except some people. And those people who remembered were the ones whose homes were raided and their families lives upended while they were ferreted away for interrogation. It was very good.

So there you have 5 books I've read that have been translated from other languages. I have many more on my list. It looks like most of them are from Spanish, French, and Japanese. There is one Korean and one Portuguese but mostly those main three.

What are your favorite translated books?