New translated fiction

Brief loves that live forever#Book of the week is  Jo Nesbo’s The Son Model prisoner Sonny listens to the confessions of other inmates at Oslo jail, and absolves them of their sins. Some people even whisper that Sonny is serving time for someone else: that he doesn’t just listen, he confesses to their crimes. Inspector Simon Kefas has worked for the Oslo police force for years. Now he’s assigned to a new murder investigation and a new partner on the same day. Both knew Sonny’s father. To Sonny he was the man he idolised, to Simon he was his best friend. Both were devastated when his corruption was revealed. But neither of them knew the truth. Translated from Norwegian. Crime.

Jonasson The girl who saved the king of Sweden On June 14th, 2007, the King and Prime Minister of Sweden went missing from a gala banquet at the Royal Castle. Later it was said that both had fallen ill: the truth is different. The real story starts  in 1961, with the birth of Nombeko Mayeki in a shack in Soweto. Fated to grow up fast and die early in her poverty-stricken township, she takes a different path, finds work as a housecleaner and eventually becomes chief advisor for one of the world’s most secret projects. Here the story merges with, then diverges from reality. South Africa developed six nuclear missiles in the 1980s, then voluntarily dismantled them in 1994. This is a story about the seventh missile – the one that was never supposed to have existed. Translated from Swedish

Kallentoft -The fifth season It’s early May when a young family out on a forest walk stumble upon a heavily mutliated body. The female corpse is in eerily good condition, and signs of torture are all too visible. Inspector Malin Fors immediately draws parallels between this case and that of Maria Murvall, the young woman who was found raped and brutally beaten in the forest several years ago. She has been living as a mute in the local psychiatric hospital ever since the attack, and Malin is haunted by her inability to help her. In the course of her investigation, Malin meets with a psychologist who tells her about another similar case, and suddenly Maria appears to be a small piece of a much bigger puzzle. Translated from Swedish. Crime

Theorin – The Asylum  A dark passageway leads from the nursery to Saint Patricia’s asylum. Those who enter are innocents: children visiting their parents. Those inside are some of the most dangerous psychopaths in the country. Translated from Swedish. Suspense/thriller

Gerhardsen – Cinderella girl  – Rated 5 * already. When detective Petra Westman finds an unconscious child in an undergrowth, and shortly after stumbles upon the mother’s dead body hidden inside a grit bin, the Hammarby Police team is shocked by the gruesomeness of this case. And the strangest thing is that nobody seems to be missing the victims. Soon chief investigator Conny Sjøberg is faced with another murder. A teenage girl has been killed aboard cruise ship Cinderella and her younger sister will be next if Sjøberg can’t uncover the killer. Translated from Swedish. Crime

Laub – Diary of the fall – A schoolboy prank goes horribly wrong, and a 13-year-old boy is left injured. Years later, one of the classmates relives the episode as he tries to come to terms with his demons Translated from PortugeseThe girl who saved the king of Sweden

Ma -The dark road Meili, a young peasant woman is married to Kongzi, a village school teacher, and a distant descendant of the great sage Confucius. They have a daughter, but desperate to carry on his illustrious line, Kongzi gets Meili pregnant without waiting for official permission. When family planning officers storm into the village to arrest violators of the population control policy, mother, father and daughter are forced to make a fugitive life on the river Translated from Chinese

Hwang -The hen who dreamed she could fly  A fable about a hen named Sprout. No longer content to lay eggs on command only to have them carted off to the market, she glimpses her future every morning through the barn doors, where the other animals roam free, and comes up with a plan to escape into the wild and to hatch an egg of her own. Translated from Korean

Truc – Forty days without shadow     When a priceless local relic is stolen from Kautokeino, Lapland, detectives Klemet Nango – a familiar face in the rural community – and Nina Nansen, fresh out of the local police academy, are called to investigate. There are just a few days until the locals will host a UN World Heritage conference, and they are under pressure to retrieve the artefact, due to be presented to a world-renowned French scientist as part of the celebrations. When a local reindeer herder is found brutally murdered, they immediately suspect that the two events are linked. But the villagers don’t take too kindly to having their secret histories stirred up and the duo are forced to cross the icy landscapes alone in search of the answers that will lead them to a killer. Suspense/thriller

Makine -Brief loves that live forever In Soviet Russia the desire for freedom is also a desire for the freedom to love. Lovers live as outlaws, traitors to the collective spirit, and love is more intense when it feels like an act of resistance. Now entering middle age, an orphan recalls the fleeting moments that have never left him – a scorching day in a blossoming orchard with a woman who loves another; a furtive, desperate affair in a Black Sea resort; the bunch of snowdrops a crippled childhood friend gave him to give to his lover Translated from French

Ammaniti – Let the games begin Satire.  The world is in the throes of a global recession but when an author on the brink of despair, an enigmatic musician, a supermodel, and a Satanic sect meet with the cream of Italian high society at the home of a Roman property tycoon, the world outside the mansion’s walls is soon forgotten. There’s going to be one hell of a party. And you’ve got a VIP ticket. Translated from Italian

 Fante -The Bandini quartet This quartet of novels rated 5 * by 2 readers tells of Fante’s fictional alter-ego Bandini, an impoverished young Italian-American escaping his suffocating home in Colorado for Depression-era Los Angeles. Bandini struggles under the triple of weights of poverty, father and Church. Italian/American

The new translated fiction in libraries this week

This week there are more French crime / thrillers than Scandanavian!The year of the hare

Paasilinna  The year of the hare  cover opposite – A journalist and a photographer set out on an assignment, but as they drive along they hit a hare. The hare then adopts the journalist, and together the two scamper through farcical adventures and political scandal Translated from Finnish

Deville  Plague and cholera Paris, May 1940. Nazi troops storm the city and at Le Bourget airport, on the last flight out, sits Dr Alexandre Yersin, his gaze politely turned away from his fellow passengers with their jewels sewn into their luggage. He is too old for the combat ahead, and besides he has already saved millions of lives. When he was the brilliant young protégé of Louis Pasteur, he focused his exceptional mind on a great medical conundrum: in 1894, on a Hong Kong hospital forecourt, he identified and vaccinated against bubonic plague, later named in his honour Yersinia pestis. Swiss by birth and trained in Germany and France, he is the son of a European tradition of endeavour; but he has a romantic hunger for adventure, fuelled by tales of Livingstone and Conrad, and sets sail for South-East Asia Translated from French, Biographical fiction

Loubiere  The stone boy  When the elderly Madame Preau returns to her own house after several years spent in a convalescent home, she immediately notices that the neighbourhood has changed. A new family has moved in next door and, from her window, she watches their three children playing in the garden after school. Two of the children seem perfectly healthy, but Madame Preau is struck by the third child, who seems listless and stands apart from the others. When she reports this to social services, they refuse to believe her. Cut off some years ago from her own grandson, she begins a mission to help this boy, even when those around her start to fear for her sanity. Thriller/suspense translated from French

Marias  The infatuations Every day, María Dolz stops at the same cafe. And every day she watches a couple following the same routine. Then one day they aren’t there. She comes across a photograph of the man, lying stabbed in the street. When the woman returns with her children, who are then collected by a different man, a new McFarlane  The night guest  Ruth is widowed, her sons are grown, and she lives in an isolated beach house outside of town. One day a stranger arrives at her door, looking as if she has been blown in from the sea. She claims to be a care-worker and Ruth lets her in. But who exactly is she letting in? Australian fiction

Nevo Neuland  Dori’s father has gone travelling in South America and, suffering from some kind of breakdown, following the death of his wife, he goes missing. Dori sets out to find him, leaving his wife and young son at home in Israel. Inbar is escaping from her life – from the grief that she can’t shake after her brother’s death, from the boyfriend she doesn’t love – and impulsively sets out for South America. While she’s there she meets a man who is searching for his father Translated from Hebrew

Simenon  The carter of ‘la providence’ Maigret is sent to investigate the murder of a woman found in a stable at a canal lock. While carrying out his investigation, he gets acquainted with the eccentric crew of the yacht ‘Southern Cross’. Sir Lampson, the owner of the yacht and husband of the victim, Mary, and also his boatswain, Willy, attract Maigret’s suspicions as Willy was also Mary’s lover. However, the autopsy of Mary’s body reveals certain details that point Maigret’s attention to a barge called ‘The Providence’

Vargas  The ghost riders of Ordebec ‘People will die,’ says the panic-stricken woman outside police headquarters. She has been standing in blazing sunshine for more than an hour, and refuses to speak to anyone besides Commissaire Adamsberg. Her daughter has seen a vision: ghostly horsemen who target the most nefarious characters in Normandy. Since the middle ages there have been stories of murderers, rapists, those with serious crimes on their conscience, meeting a grizzly end following a visitation by the riders. Crime translated from French


Do you like translated fiction? These are new this week

image-medium (91)We love books in translation and here’s some great titles that have arrived this week in Leeds Libraries. A wide variety from Scandinavian, Dutch and Italian to Chinese, Hebrew and more.

Grossman, David – Falling out of time translated fromHebrew

A genre-defying story of bereaved parents setting out to reach their lost children. It begins in a small village, in a kitchen, where a man announces to his wife that he is leaving, embarking on a journey in search of their dead son. The man – called simply the ‘Walking Man’ – paces in ever-widening circles around the town. One after another, all manner of townsfolk fall into step with him (the net mender, the midwife, the elderly maths teacher and even the duke), each enduring his or her own loss

Kong, Chi-yong – Our happy time translated from Chinese

Yujeung – beautiful, bright, wealthy – is lying in her hospital bed, recovering from her third suicide attempt, when she receives a visit that will change her life. Her no-nonsense aunt, a nun, appears and suggests she accompany her on a charitable visit to death row. She meets Yunsu, a convicted murderer, and finds herself drawn into his world

 Mander, Marina The first true lie  translated from Italian

Luca and his mum are like two peas in a pod in their special, fragile world. Then, one winter morning, his mother doesn’t wake up, and Luca suddenly finds himself alone for the first time. Terrified of what telling the truth might bring, he decides to keep the biggest secret of his life. Luca goes along to school every day, pretending everything is as it always has been. But he returns home every night to a cold, dark house. So he begins to build a protective bubble with the memories of his mother, the words and stories he so loves – and his cat Blue – against the truth on the other side of the bedroom door

Neuman, Andres Talking to ourselves  translated from Spanish

Lito is ten years old and dreams about trucks. Mario is terminally ill with cancer and is beginning to doubt his own memory. Before it’s too late they take their first, and likely final, road trip together as father and son, in which they share much more time and space. Meanwhile, Elena – mother and wife – immerses herself in a cathartic and risky love affair that tests her moral limits, even as she plunges more deeply into literature, encountering herself again and again in books

Shalev, TRemains of love Israeli

Hemda Horovitz is nearing the end of her life. As she lies in bed in Jerusalem, the present flickers in and out and memories from the past flood her thoughts. Zeruya Shalev’s new novel is at once a meditation on the state of modern Israel and a profound exploration of family, yearning, compromise and the insistent pull of the past

Tuomainen, AnttiThe healer, suspense, thriller translated from Finnish

People are fleeing to the far north where conditions are still tolerable. Social order is crumbling. Tapani Lehtinen, a struggling poet, is among the few still willing and able to live in the city. When Tapani’s wife Johanna, a journalist, goes missing, he embarks on a frantic hunt for her

Verhulst, DimitriChrist’s entry into Brussels  translated from Dutch

This novel by Dimitri Verhulst resembles a quirky pamphlet and a moral fable. The narrator considers himself part of the ‘lost generation’, which has no illusions about the state of the world – both in absurd Belgium and in the distressingly imperfect world beyond. He puts a finger on the symptomatic fever blisters of contemporary society, of the so-called ‘malcontent mass’. With his bizarre imaginings, harsh criticisms and stylistic verve, he exposes an embarrassing reality, which often makes you laugh conspiratorially, and then cry