The Mermaid of Black Conch

Title: The Mermaid of Black Conch Writer: Monique Roffey Publishing House: Peepal Tree Press Ltd Date of Publication: April 2nd 2020 Rating: 5 stars ‘’That morning David played her soft hymns he’d learnt as a boy, praising God. He sang holy songs for her, songs which brought tears to his eyes, and there they stayed,…

Strange Weather in Tokyo

Title: Strange Weather In Tokyo (original title: センセイの鞄) Writer: Hiromi Kawakami (translated by Allison Markin Powell) Publishing House: Granta Date of Publication: August 6th 2020 (first published 2001) Rating: 5 stars ‘’In the autumn there are dead leaves all over the place and in winter the bare branches are bleak and dreary.’’ A woman and…

Miss Brill

Title: Miss Brill Writer: Katherine Mansfield Publishing House: Penguin Classics Date of Publication: February 26th 2015 (first published 1920) Rating: 5 stars ‘’God forbid, my darling, that I should be a drag on your happiness.’’ Marriage a la Mode: The loving relationship of a young married couple changes when Isabel falls under the influence of…

Shoko’s Smile

Title: Shoko’s Smile (original title: 쇼코의 미소) Writer: Choi Eunyoung (translated by Sung Ryu) Publishing House: John Murray Press Date of Publication: August 19th 2021 (first published July 7th 2016) Rating: 5 stars “I dig my hands into the cold sand and gaze at the black, shimmering sea. It feels like the edge of the…

Hurricane Season

Title: Hurricane Season (original title: Tempradas De Huracanes) Writer: Fernanda Melchor (translated by Sophie Hughes) Publishing House: Fitzcarraldo Editions Date of Publication:  February 19th 2020  (first published May 12th 2017) Rating: 3 stars ‘’They called her the Witch, the same as her mother; the Young Witch when she first started trading in curses and cures,…

Earthlings

Title: Earthlings (original title: 地球星人) Writer: Sayaka Murata (translated by Ginny Tapley Takemori) Publishing House: Granta Date of Publication: September 29th 2020 (first published August 31st 2018) Rating: 5 stars ‘’Magical powers. I have to summon my magical powers. The power of darkness, the power of wind – any magical power will do, but I…

Things We Lost In the Fire

Title: Things We Lost In the Fire (original title: Las cosas que perdimos en el fuego) Writer: Mariana Enríquez (translated by Megan McDowell) Publishing House: Hogarth Press Date of Publication: February 21st 2017 (first published February 10th 2016) Rating: 5 stars ‘’The gaucho is good,’’ he said. ‘’But the other one isn’t.’’  He said it…

This One Sky Day

Title: This One Sky Day Writer: Leone Ross Publishing House: Faber & Faber Date of Publication: April 15th 2021 Rating: 5 stars ‘’When people die alone, without proper burial rites, the carcass wandered for years, rudderless, rotting and shrinking. They had all seen these ghosts, rebuilding their bodies with bits of rubbish, hanging on, half-maddened….

Jerusalem Beach

Title: Jerusalem Beach (original title: חוף הים של ירושלים) Writer: Iddo Gefen (translated by Daniella Zamir) Publishing House: Astra House Date of Publication: August 17th 2021 (first published August 2017) Rating: 5 stars ‘’A month and a half later, he packed a bag, stuffing it with four undershirts, five pairs of underwear, a flashlight, two…

Women In Translation Month

August is already preparing to knock on our doors and we know what this means, right? It’s Women In Translation Month, the time when we discover – and re-read (he, he, he!) outstanding women whose work has been translated into English from every corner of our beautiful planet. These are the books I’ve read and…

The Master of Chaos

Title: The Master of Chaos Writer: Pauline Melville Publishing House: Sandstone Press Date of Publication: July 1st 2021 Rating: 5 stars ‘’All I wanted to do was hurt him. Death was my way of reviving his love for me, punishing him and finally gaining victory in the contest.’’ In Pauline Melville’s stories, chaos comes in…

Before You Knew My Name

Title: Before You Knew My Name Writer: Jacqueline Bublitz Publishing House: Allen & Unwin Date of Publication: May 4th 2021 Rating: 4 stars ‘’Maybe the people who appear brave are merely doing the thing they have to do. It’s not a matter of courage, then, to pack up and leave a life. Just a lack…

The Woman in the Purple Skirt

Title: The Woman in the Purple Skirt Writer: Natsuko Imamura (translated by Lucy North) Publishing House: Faber & Faber Date of Publication: June 3rd 2021 (first published June 30th 2019) Rating: 4 stars ‘’Some people would pretend they hadn’t seen her, and carry on as before. Others would quickly move aside, to give her room…

Before the Coffee Gets Cold: Tales from the Café

Title: Before the Coffee Gets Cold: Tales from the Café (original title: 在謊言拆穿之前) Writer: Toshikazu Kawaguchi (translated by Geoffrey Trousselot) Publishing House: Picador Date of Publication: September 17th 2020 (first published April 27th 2018) Rating: 5 stars ‘’That night… Around the station there stood many Christmas trees, decorated with lights that shone and sparkled. The…

The Dangers of Smoking in Bed

Title: The Dangers of Smoking In Bed (original title: Los peligros de fumar en la cama) Writer: Mariana Enriquez (translated by Megan McDowell) Publishing House: Hogarth Press Date of Publication: January 12th 2021 (first published November 2009) Rating: 5 stars ‘’Or she’d hear a rooster crow in the middle of the night and remember –…

Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982

Title: Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 (original title: 82년생 김지영) Writer: Cho Nam-Joo (tr. by Jamie Chang) Publishing House: Scribner UK Date of Publication: February 20th 2020 (first published October 14th 2016) Rating: 5 stars ‘’Help out? What is it with you and ‘’helping out?’’ You’re going to ‘’help out’’ with chores. ‘’Help out’’ with raising…

Lonely Castle In the Mirror

Title: Lonely Castle In The Mirror (original title: かがみの孤城) Writer: Mizuki Tsujimura (translated by Philip Gabriel) Publishing House: Doubleday Date of Publication:  April 22nd 2021 (first published May 11th 2017) Rating: 2 stars ‘’You are all Little Red Riding Hoods.’’ A lonely castle no one defends, a castle standing alone. A young girl is being…

What It Means When A Man Falls From the Sky

Title: What It Means When A Man Falls From the Sky Writer: Lesley Nneka Arimah Publishing House: Riverhead Books Date of Publication: April 4th 2017 Rating: 5 stars ‘’Girls with fire in their bellies will be forced to drink from a well of correction till the flames die out.’’ In this outstanding collection by the…

Untold Night and Day

Title: Untold Night and Day (original title: 알려지지 않은 밤과 하루) Writer: Bae Suah (translated by Deborah Smith) Publishing House: Jonathan Cape Date of Publication: January 30th 2020 (first published April 20th 2013) Rating: 5 stars ‘’By the time the heatwave came to an end, nothing remained of the people but ash. They became fused…

Then A Wind Blew

Title: Then A Wind Blew Writer: Kay Powell Publishing House: Weaver Press Date of Publication: January 26th 2021 Rating: 4 stars ‘’She loved to be out in the stoep at night, her only companions the wind that sang in the long grass and the nights calls of distant animals. And the crickets, with their non-stop…