By MaryGrace McGovern
Hollywood Library supervisor
We don’t always have to miss a fascinating literary journey just because we don’t speak its language. With my first foray into translated literature – Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie, a historical fable and love story originally in French – I became hooked. Translated books can take us on mindful experiences around the world, and there are many available at the library.
I’ve recommended some translated works here and paired each with coffee, tea or spirit suggestions favored by the author’s country of origin. Of course, a glass of lemonade is suitable with all novels during the sizzling summer weather.
by Yoel Hoffmann
Psychological/autobiographical fiction, translated from Hebrew, set in Galilee.
Fiction lovers of poetry may like this small marvel of a book filled with pockets of joy, feelings, and tales of family losses and loves. Available in print only.
Pair this poetic read with the flavorful, delicious plum drink Tuica, or sip some Turkish coffee made Romanian-style.
War, So Much War
by Mercé Rodoreda
Action adventure, translated from Catalan, set in Catalonia.
Rodoreda is considered by many to be the most important Catalan novelist of the post-war period. She tells a coming-of-age story for the contemplative reader, set during the Spanish Civil War. Available in print only.
Couple this read with some sherry or, for coffee lovers, order a café con hielo, black espresso over ice.
A General Theory of Oblivion
by José Eduardo Agualusa
Historical fiction, translated from Portuguese, set in Portuguese Angola West Africa.
A nominee for the Man Booker Prize, this is considered a perfectly crafted novel, playing on the love of storytelling and fable while examining the upheavals of political structures. E-book only.
Pair this with the national beer of Portugal, the Super Bock, a classic strong pale lager. Coffee drinkers, try a cup of strong espresso, for the intense and full-bodied flavor.
by Per Petterson
Male friendship fiction/dysfunctional families, translated from Norwegian, set in Norway.
Leads the reader through time and friendship, and packs an emotional punch in the end. Available in print, audiobook CD and e-book.
Try this with Aquavit, a flavored spirit that has been produced in Scandinavia since the 15th century. Prefer a cup of tea? The current national favorite is Lipton Green Gunpowder.
To find a list of translated books in the library catalog, do a keyword search for “translated from.” You can get more recommendations from My Librarian. Or stop in and talk to us at Hollywood Library. We love to help!