West Bloomfield Township Public Library
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Books in Translation

Read across the world with these standout translated novels of the last decade.

The memory police : a novel by Ogawa, Yko

"A deft and dark Orwellian novel about the terrors of state surveillance, from the acclaimed author of The Housekeeper and the Professor On an unnamed island off an unnamed coast, things are disappearing. First, animals and flowers. Then objects--ribbons,bells, photographs. Then, body parts. Most of the island's inhabitants fail to notice these changes, while those few imbued with the power to recall the lost objects live in fear of the mysterious 'memory police,' who are committed to ensuring that the disappeared remain forgotten. When a young novelist realizes that more than her career is in danger, she hides her editor beneath her floorboards, and together, as fear and loss close in around them, they cling to literature as the last way of preserving the past. Part allegory, part literary thriller, The Memory Police is a stunning new work from one of the most exciting contemporary authors writing in any language"--

Drive your plow over the bones of the dead by Tokarczuk, Olga

Finalist for the 2019 Man Booker International Prize. A deeply satisfying thriller cum fairy tale, <i>Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead<i> is a provocative exploration of the murky borderland between sanity and madness, justice and tradition, and autonomy and fate

Flights by Tokarczuk, Olga

A seventeenth-century Dutch anatomist discovers the Achilles tendon by dissecting his own amputated leg. Chopin's heart is carried back to Warsaw in secret by his adoring sister. A woman must return to her native Poland in order to poison her terminally ill high school sweetheart, and a young man slowly descends into madness when his wife and child mysteriously vanish during a vacation and just as suddenly reappear. Through these brilliantly imagined characters and stories, interwoven with haunting, playful, and revelatory meditations, Flights explores what it means to be a traveler, a wanderer, a body in motion not only through space but through time. Where are you from? Where are you coming in from? Where are you going? we call to the traveler. Enchanting, unsettling, and wholly original, Flights is a master storyteller's answer

Convenience store woman by Murata, Sayaka

Keiko Furukura had always been considered a strange child, and her parents always worried how she would get on in the real world, so when she takes on a job in a convenience store while at university, they are delighted for her. For her part, in the convenience store she finds a predictable world mandated by the store manual, which dictates how the workers should act and what they should say, and she copies her coworkers' style of dress and speech patterns so that she can play the part of a normal person. However, eighteen years later, at age 36, she is still in the same job, has never had a boyfriend, and has only few friends. She feels comfortable in her life, but is aware that she is not living up to society's expectations and causing her family to worry about her. When a similarly alienated but cynical and bitter young man comes to work in the store, he will upset Keiko's contented stasis-but will it be for the better? Sayaka Murata brilliantly captures the atmosphere of the familiar convenience store that is so much part of life in Japan. With some laugh-out-loud moments prompted by the disconnect between Keiko's thoughts and those of the people around her, she provides a sharp look at Japanese society and the pressure to conform, as well as penetrating insights into the female mind. Convenience Store Woman is a fresh, charming portrait of an unforgettable heroine that recalls Banana Yoshimoto, Han Kang, and Amľie

Fever dream : a novel by Schweblin, Samanta

"A young woman named Amanda lies dying in a rural hospital clinic. A boy named David sits beside her. She's not his mother. Together, they tell a haunting story of broken souls, toxins, and the power and desperation of family

The vegetarian : a novel by Han, Kang

Deciding to go vegetarian in the wake of violent thoughts, Yeong-hye, a woman from an Asian culture of strict societal mores, is denounced as a subversive as she spirals into extreme rebelliousness that causes her to splinter from her true nature and risk her life.

Visitation by Erpenbeck, Jenny

By the side of a lake in Brandenburg, a young architect builds the house of his dreams - a summerhouse with wrought-iron balconies, stained-glass windows the color of jewels, and a bedroom with a hidden closet, all set within a beautiful garden. But the land on which he builds has a dark history of violence. Reaching far into the past, and recovering what was lost and what was buried, Jenny Erpenbeck tells an exquisitely crafted, stealthily chilling story of a house and its inhabitants, and a country and its ghosts

Beauty is a wound by Kurniawan, Eka

"The English-language debut of Indonesia's greatest young novelist, Eka Kurniawan: "without a doubt the most original, imaginatively profound, and elegant writer of fiction in Indonesia today: its brightest and most unexpected meteorite" (Benedict Anderson). One afternoon on a weekend in May, Dewi Ayu rose from her grave after being dead for twenty-one years. So begins Beauty Is a Wound, an epic, sweeping, compulsively readable novel, combining history, satire, family tragedy, legend, humor, and romance in a sweeping polyphony. It is also a highly political book. Revolving around the beautiful Indo prostitute Dewi Ayu and her four daughters, various plotlines incorporate incest, murder, bestiality rape, insanity, monstrosity, and the often vengeful undead. Kurniawan's gleefully grotesque hyperbole functions as a scathing critique of his young nation's troubled past. The rapacious offhand greed of colonialism; the chaotic struggle for independence; the 1965 mass murders of perhaps a million "Communists," and the three decades of Suharto's despotic rule that followed. The bravura resilience on display here makes Beauty Is a Wound a luscious yet astringent product of the art blossoming since the fall of Suharto. Kurniawan's distinctive West Javanese voice will be entirely new to American readers, and its local sources (the all night shadow puppet plays, with their bawdy wit and epic scope; the famous local folk tales) will astonish, but Kurniawan draws as well on his favorite world writers, Melville, Gogol,Hamsun, and Marquez"--

The door by

Magda is a writer, educated, married to an academic, public-spirited, with an on-again-off-again relationship with Hungary's Communist authorities. Emerence is a peasant, illiterate, impassive, abrupt, seemingly ageless. She lives alone in a house that no one else may enter, not even her closest relatives. She is Magda's housekeeper and she has taken control over Magda's household, becoming indispensable to her. And Emerence, in her way, has come to depend on Magda. They share a kind of love--at least until Magda's long-sought success as a writer leads to a devastating revelation

Frankenstein in Baghdad : a novel by Saʻdw, Amad

After he constructs a corpse from body parts found on the street, Hadi wants the government to prepare a proper burial, but when the corpse goes missing, a series of strange murders occur and Hadi realizes he has created a monster.

Death is hard work by Khalīfa, Khālid

Abdel Latif, an old man from the Aleppo region, dies peacefully in a hospital bed in Damascus. His final wish, conveyed to his youngest son, Bolbol, is to be buried in the family plot in their ancestral village of Anabiya. Though Abdel was hardly an ideal father, and though Bolbol is estranged from his siblings, this conscientious son persuades his older brother Hussein and his sister Fatima to accompany him and the body to Anabiya, which is--after all--only a two-hour drive from Damascus. There's only one problem: Their country is a war zone. With the landscape of their childhood now a labyrinth of competing armies whose actions are at once arbitrary and lethal, the siblings' decision to set aside their differences and honor their father's request quickly balloons from a minor commitment into an epic and life-threatening quest. Syria, however, is no longer a place for heroes, and the decisions the family must make along the way--as they find themselves captured and recaptured, interrogated, imprisoned, and bombed--will prove to have enormous consequences for all of them

The story of my teeth by Luiselli, Valeria

"Bon vivant, world traveler, auctioneer-the story of Highway and his teeth is like Johnny Cash meets Robert Walser in Mexico"--

Dark constellations by Oloixarac, Pola

"Canary Islands, 1882: Caught in the 19th-century wave of scientific classification, explorer and plant biologist Niklas Bruunis researches Crissia pallida, a species alleged to have hallucinogenic qualities capable of eliminating the psychic limits between one human mind and another. Buenos Aires, 1983: Born to a white Argentinian anthropologist and a black Brazilian engineer, Cassio comes of age with the Internet, and demonstrates the skills and personality that will make him one of the first great Argentine hackers. The southern Argentinian techno-hub of Bariloche, 2024: Piera, on the same research group as Cassio, studies human DNA. When the Estromatoliton project comes to fruition, the Argentine government will be able to track every movement of itscitizens without their knowledge or consent, using censors that identify DNA at a distance"--

Such small hands by Barba, Andrés

Life changes at the orphanage the day seven-year-old Marina shows up. She is different from the other girls: at once an outcast and object of fascination. As Marina struggles to find her place, she invents a game whose rules are dictated by a haunting violence. Written in hypnotic, lyrical prose, alternating between Marina’s perspective and the choral we of the other girls, Such Small Hands evokes the pain of loss and the hunger for acceptance

Disoriental by Djavadi, Négar

"Kimiâ Sadr fled Iran at the age of ten in the company of her mother and sisters to join her father in France. Now twenty-five and facing the future she has built for herself as well as the prospect of a new generation, Kimiâ is inundated by her own memories and the stories of her ancestors, which come to her in unstoppable, uncontainable waves. In the waiting room of a Parisian fertility clinic, generations of flamboyant Sadrs return to her, including her formidable great-grandfather Montazemolmolk, with his harem of fifty-two wives, and her parents, Darius and Sara, stalwart opponents of each regime that befalls them."--Amazon

The three-body problem by Liu, Cixin

A secret military project sends signals into space to establish contact with aliens. An alien civilization on the brink of destruction captures the signal and plans to invade Earth. Meanwhile, on Earth, different camps start forming, planning to either welcome the superior beings and help them take over a world seen as corrupt, or to fight against the invasion

Space invaders : a novel by Fernández, Nona

Former childhood friends reflect on their shared experiences, including a mutual obsession with a video game, while wondering about the fate of one of their number, a government officer’s daughter who disappeared after leaving school

That hair by Almeida, Djaimilia Pereira de

""The story of my curly hair," says Mila, the narrator of Djaimilia Pereira de Almeida's autobiographically inspired tragicomedy, "intersects with the story of at least two countries and, by extension, the indirect story of the relations among several continents: a geopolitics." Mila is the Luanda-born daughter of a black Angolan mother and a white Portuguese father. She arrives in Lisbon at the tender age of three, and feels like an outsider from the jump. Through the lens of young Mila's indomitably curly hair, her story interweaves memories of childhood and adolescence, family lore spanning four generations, and present-day reflections on the internal and external tensions of a European and African identity. In layered, intricately constructed prose, That Hair enriches and deepens a global conversation, challenging in necessary ways our understanding of racism, feminism, and the double inheritance of colonialism, not yet fifty years removed from Angola's independence. It's the story of coming of age asa black woman in a nation at the edge of Europe that is also rapidly changing, of being considered an outsider in one's own country, and the impossibility of "returning" to a homeland one doesn't in fact know"--

Kim Jiyoung, born 1982 by Cho, Nam-ju

"The runaway bestseller that helped launch Korea's new feminist movement, Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 follows one woman's psychic deterioration in the face of rigid misogyny. In a small, tidy apartment on the outskirts of the frenzied metropolis of Seoul, KimJiyoung-a millennial "everywoman"-spends her days caring for her infant daughter. Her husband, however, worries over a strange symptom that has recently appeared: Jiyoung has begun to impersonate the voices of other women-dead and alive, both known and unknown to her. Truly, flawlessly, completely, she became that very person. As she plunges deeper into this psychosis, Jiyoung's concerned husband sends her to a psychiatrist, who listens to her narrate her own life story-from her birth to a family who expected a son, to elementary school teachers who policed girls' outfits, to male coworkers who installed hidden cameras in women's restrooms and posted the photos online. But can her doctor cure her, or even discover what truly ails her? Rendered in eerie prose, Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 announces the arrival of a major international writer"--

The 100-year-old man who climbed out the window and disappeared by Jonasson, Jonas

"After a long and eventful life, Allan Karlsson ends up in a nursing home. The only problem is that he's still in good health, and in one day, he turns 100. A celebration is in the works, but Allan isn't interested (and he'd like a bit more control over his vodka consumption). So he decides to escape. He climbs out the window in his slippers and embarks on a hilarious and entirely unexpected journey."--from inside front cover.
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