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Subject: Recommend a book translated from a foreign language...
Date Posted: 8/25/2011 8:55 PM ET
Member Since: 6/21/2008
Posts: 6,571
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You all have been helping me find some really great books and I am stuck in this category also.  What do you think? 

I don't love heavy political stuff and I already have Girl.....dragon tattoo on my TBR.   What are some others?

ETA correct spelling!

Last Edited on: 8/25/11 8:56 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/25/2011 10:16 PM ET
Member Since: 9/8/2009
Posts: 626
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For me, hands down, Shadow of the Wind, by Ruiz Zafon.
Date Posted: 8/26/2011 5:45 PM ET
Member Since: 3/4/2007
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+1  Shadow of the Wind. 

Matt C. (mattc) - ,
Date Posted: 8/26/2011 6:44 PM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2008
Posts: 3,849
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You could try Haruki Murakami.  Sputnik Sweetheart is my favorite of his novels.

Barb S. (okbye) - ,
Date Posted: 8/26/2011 7:20 PM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2011
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Ever since the Millenium trilogy I have been enthralled with Scandanavian thrillers. There are quite a few good authors, Jo Nesbo, Hoeg, Theorin, Henning Mankell. If you like mysteries at all any of them will make good reads. Steig Larsson was a particularly political person, it's not indicative of Sandanavian thrillers.

Date Posted: 9/3/2011 10:39 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
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Anything by Boris Akunin.  Some of them are available on PBS.  He's a popular Russian author. 

Also maybe the Kurt Wallander books by Henning Mankell.  I think they're also originally in  Swedish. 

I think Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel was first published in Spanish.

Date Posted: 9/4/2011 10:26 AM ET
Member Since: 7/22/2009
Posts: 2,617
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The Count of Monte Cristo by Dumas (the unabridged translation by Buss) - it's long (1200+ pages) but so worth it! Set in the early 19th c. mostly in France, this is the riveting and thrilling story of Edmond Dantes, imprisoned for a crime that he didn't commit and who escapes after 14 years to wreak revenge on those responsible for his imprisonment. This is simply a must-read!

Date Posted: 9/5/2011 11:35 AM ET
Member Since: 5/7/2010
Posts: 185
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A great but lesser-known book is The Time of the Doves, by Merce Rodoreda, translated to English from the original Catalan by David Rosenthal. It's the story of a woman living in Barcelona, in part during the Spanish Civil War. Despite the setting, it's about the main character's life rather than war and the politics behind it. It's beautifully written, and while I read a translation to Spanish, my mother read the English translation and said that it was very well done. Definitely worth checking out.

Date Posted: 9/5/2011 1:01 PM ET
Member Since: 9/8/2010
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Ditto Count of Monte Cristo, and I would recommend Les Miserables (spelling?) too.

Date Posted: 9/5/2011 11:09 PM ET
Member Since: 2/18/2010
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I also recommend the Count of Monte Cristo and Les Miserables

Date Posted: 9/6/2011 2:36 PM ET
Member Since: 7/6/2007
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Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco

Captain Alatriste series (...or anything else) by Arturo Perez-Reverte

Date Posted: 9/8/2011 12:10 AM ET
Member Since: 8/28/2011
Posts: 91
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Hunting and Gathering by Anna Gavalda (translated from the French) I LOVED this book. Very contemporary, kinna literary - it's about the interconnected lives of four different people whose lives become enmeshed in the most unexpected of ways.

The Hottest Dishes of the Tartar Cuisine by Alina Bronsky (translated from the German) I thoroughly enjoyed this book, in all its dark quirkiness. Its about a woman, her daughter, and her granddaughter, how they survive all that was horrible about Russia in the 80s and immigrate to German. Rosa, the protagonist, is one of the most unique and well-crafted characters I've ever encountered in a book.

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie (translated from the French) It's about two boys living in China during the Cultural Revolution and their love for books. It's very enlightening and charming.

Just Like Tomorrow by Faïza Guène (translated from the French) A somewhat depressing, but nonetheless enjoyable, book about a teenage girl growing up in the slums of Paris.

Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (translated from the Spanish) The most incredible love story I've ever read, with plenty of Marquez's trademark magical realism.

Of Love and Shadows by Isabel Allende (translated from the Spanish) A little bit of love story, a little bit of mystery, and some of the most beautiful writing I've ever read.


Date Posted: 9/8/2011 8:46 AM ET
Member Since: 8/28/2011
Posts: 91
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Also, check out Europa Editions. About two-thirds of their publications are translated works, and I've always enjoyed their books.

Date Posted: 9/9/2011 3:40 PM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2006
Posts: 1,427
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The Waiting Years, by Fumiko Enchi, is a novel about the trials and tribulations of a wife of a bureaucrat in Japan of the Meiji Restoration period.  How, in the end,  this long-suffering lady secured her revenge on that monstrous husband is quite a story indeed.  I was glad to have found this "feminist" novel and to learn from it that Japanese women of that era were not totally 'submissive'.

Date Posted: 9/9/2011 11:17 PM ET
Member Since: 5/5/2011
Posts: 74
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If you like mystery/thrillers...

As mentioned above there are some great Scandinavian books that have been translated to English...Arnaldur Indriðason - Author of a good mystery series in Iceland...Jar City, Silence of the Graves, Voices are the first three in the series and there are several more.   Jo Nesbo - A good series about a Norwegian detective...Redbreast, Nemesis, Devil's Star and more.

I also just finished a good book, a winner of France's Grand Prix Award for Best Crime Novel ....Zulu by Caryl Ferey.  It was a very good book, even though I think the translation from French may have encumbered some of the prose a bit....just my opinion. Warning though...it is gritty and very violent and, if you are looking for an uplfting tale of crime detection in southern Africa that reminds you of Alexander McCall Smith's  delightful series set in Botswana...this book does not provide it. It is one of the Europa Editions books...the publishing company mentioned above by hro.



Date Posted: 9/10/2011 12:55 AM ET
Member Since: 8/5/2009
Posts: 8,077
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Blindness by Jose Saramago (he's Portuguese and won the Nobel prize for literature some years ago). It's a psychological thriller of sorts and  came out as a movie with Julianne Moore a few years ago.