Book List: Women in Translation Reads

Hi and welcome to the reading world!

Today’s list is in celebration of Women in Translation Month! This is a book list filled with reads written by female authors across the world and translated into english. I love reading translated literature and celebrating this month is a great way to spotlight some reading recommendations here!

Let’s get into the list.

Book List: Women in Translation ReadsThe Woman in the Purple Skirt by Natsuko Imamura
Published by Penguin on June 14, 2022
Genres: Fiction / Thrillers / Psychological, Fiction / Women, Fiction / World Literature / Japan
Pages: 224

“A taut and compelling depiction of loneliness and obsession.” --Paula Hawkins, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Girl on the Train

“[It] will keep you firmly in its grip.” --Oyinkan Braithwaite, bestselling author of My Sister, the Serial Killer

“The love child of Eugene Ionesco and Patricia Highsmith.” --Kelly Link, bestselling author of Get in Trouble

A bestselling, prizewinning novel by one of Japan's most acclaimed young writers, for fans of Convenience Store Woman, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, and the movies Parasite and Rear Window

I think what I'm trying to say is that I've been wanting to become friends with the Woman in the Purple Skirt for a very long time...

Almost every afternoon, the Woman in the Purple Skirt sits on the same park bench, where she eats a cream bun while the local children make a game of trying to get her attention. Unbeknownst to her, she is being watched--by the Woman in the Yellow Cardigan, who is always perched just out of sight, monitoring which buses she takes, what she eats, whom she speaks to.

From a distance, the Woman in the Purple Skirt looks like a schoolgirl, but there are age spots on her face, and her hair is dry and stiff. She is single, she lives in a small apartment, and she is short on money--just like the Woman in the Yellow Cardigan, who lures her to a job as a housekeeper at a hotel, where she too is a housekeeper. Soon, the Woman in the Purple Skirt is having an affair with the boss and all eyes are on her. But no one knows or cares about the Woman in the Yellow Cardigan. That's the difference between her and the Woman in the Purple Skirt.

Studiously deadpan and chillingly voyeuristic, and with the off-kilter appeal of the novels of Ottessa Moshfegh, The Woman in the Purple Skirt explores envy, loneliness, power dynamics, and the vulnerability of unmarried women in a taut, suspenseful narrative about the sometimes desperate desire to be seen.

Book List: Women in Translation ReadsThere's No Such Thing as an Easy Job by Kikuko Tsumura
Published by Bloomsbury Publishing USA on March 23, 2021
Genres: Fiction / City Life, Fiction / General, Fiction / Literary
Pages: 416

"[A] 21st-century response to Herman Melville's 'Bartleby, the Scrivener.'" -NPR


“A thought-provoking, drily funny critique of capitalism and the systems of self-worth that are built around it.” -TIME, “Must-Read Books of the Year”

A young woman walks into an employment agency and requests a job that has the following traits: it is close to her home, and it requires no reading, no writing, and ideally, very little thinking.

Her first gig--watching the hidden-camera feed of an author suspected of storing contraband goods--turns out to be inconvenient. (When can she go to the bathroom?) Her next gives way to the supernatural: announcing advertisements for shops that mysteriously disappear. As she moves from job to job--writing trivia for rice cracker packages; punching entry tickets to a purportedly haunted public park--it becomes increasingly apparent that she's not searching for the easiest job at all, but something altogether more meaningful. And when she finally discovers an alternative to the daily grind, it comes with a price.

This is the first time Kikuko Tsumura--winner of Japan's most prestigious literary award--has been translated into English. There's No Such Thing as an Easy Job is as witty as it is unsettling--a jolting look at the maladies of late capitalist life through the unique and fascinating lens of modern Japanese culture.

Book List: Women in Translation ReadsBlood Feast by Malika Moustadraf
Published by Feminist Press at CUNY on February 8, 2022
Genres: Fiction / Feminist, Fiction / LGBTQ+ / General, Fiction / Short Stories (single author), Fiction / Women
Pages: 85

A cult classic by Morocco’s foremost writer of life on the margins.

Malika Moustadraf (1969–2006) is a feminist icon in contemporary Moroccan literature, celebrated for her stark interrogation of gender and sexuality in North Africa.

Blood Feast is the complete collection of Moustadraf’s published short fiction: haunting, visceral stories by a master of the genre. A teenage girl suffers through a dystopian rite of passage​,​ a man with kidney disease makes desperate attempts to secure treatment​, and a mother schemes to ensure her daughter passes a virginity test.

Delighting in vibrant sensory detail and rich slang, Moustadraf takes an unflinching look at the gendered body, social class, illness, double standards, and desire, as lived by a diverse cast of characters. Blood Feast is a sharp provocation to patriarchal power and a celebration of the life and genius of one of Morocco’s preeminent writers.

Book List: Women in Translation ReadsTerminal Boredom by Izumi Suzuki
Published by Verso Books on April 20, 2021
Genres: Fiction / Absurdist, Fiction / Science Fiction / Apocalyptic & Post-Apocalyptic, Fiction / Short Stories (single author)
Pages: 224

Named a Most Anticipated Book of 2021 by Thrillist, The Millions, Frieze, and Metropolis Japan

The first English language publication of the work of Izumi Suzuki, a legend of Japanese science fiction and a countercultural icon

At turns nonchalantly hip and charmingly deranged, Suzuki's singular slant on speculative fiction would be echoed in countless later works, from Margaret Atwood and Harumi Murakami, to Black Mirror and Ex Machina. In these darkly playful and punky stories, the fantastical elements are always earthed by the universal pettiness of strife between the sexes, and the gritty reality of life on the lower rungs, whatever planet that ladder might be on.

Translated by Polly Barton, Sam Bett, David Boyd, Daniel Joseph, Aiko Masubuchi, and Helen O'Horan.

Book List: Women in Translation ReadsConvenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata
Published by Grove Press on June 12, 2018
Genres: Fiction / City Life, Fiction / Cultural Heritage, Fiction / Literary
Pages: 176

The English-language debut of one of Japan’s most talented contemporary writers, selling over 650,000 copies there, Convenience Store Woman is the heartwarming and surprising story of thirty-six-year-old Tokyo resident Keiko Furukura. Keiko has never fit in, neither in her family, nor in school, but when at the age of eighteen she begins working at the Hiiromachi branch of “Smile Mart,” she finds peace and purpose in her life. In the store, unlike anywhere else, she understands the rules of social interaction—many are laid out line by line in the store’s manual—and she does her best to copy the dress, mannerisms, and speech of her colleagues, playing the part of a “normal” person excellently, more or less. Managers come and go, but Keiko stays at the store for eighteen years. It’s almost hard to tell where the store ends and she begins. Keiko is very happy, but the people close to her, from her family to her coworkers, increasingly pressure her to find a husband, and to start a proper career, prompting her to take desperate action...

A brilliant depiction of an unusual psyche and a world hidden from view, Convenience Store Woman is an ironic and sharp-eyed look at contemporary work culture and the pressures to conform, as well as a charming and completely fresh portrait of an unforgettable heroine.

Book List: Women in Translation ReadsKiki's Delivery Service by Eiko Kadono
Published by Random House Children's Books on June 8, 2021
Genres: JUVENILE FICTION / Action & Adventure / General, Juvenile Fiction / Classics, Juvenile Fiction / Fantasy & Magic
Pages: 208

Soar into the modern classic about a young witch and her clever cat--the inspiration for the Hiyao Miyazaki film that became a phenomenom!

Half-witch Kiki never runs from a challenge. So when her thirteenth birthday arrives, she's eager to follow a witch's tradition: choose a new town to call home for one year.

Brimming with confidence, Kiki flies to the seaside village of Koriko and expects that her powers will easily bring happiness to the townspeople. But gaining the trust of the locals is trickier than she expected. With her faithful, wise-cracking black cat, Jiji, by her side, Kiki forges new friendships and builds her inner strength, ultimately realizing that magic can be found in even the most ordinary places.

Blending fantasy with the charm of everyday life, this enchanting new translation will inspire both new readers and dedicated fans.

"A gentle story of magic-tinged independence."--The Wall Street Journal

"An enchanting, gently humorous all-ages family read-aloud."--Kirkus Reviews

"Young readers will delight in Kiki's humorous experiences."--School Library Journal

What are some translated reads by women you would recommend? Feel free to let me know in the comments!

Thanks for stopping by!

Rae

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