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Exploring books that have been translated from a different language can lead to a really special reading experience. The skill of a translator is of course key, they need to be able to truly feel the book in order to successfully and seamlessly translate it. A great translator has the ability to make you feel right at home, while also letting you experience the wonders of a different culture. These books all encourage you to discover the sense of a different place, so we invite you to step forward and broaden your horizons.
May 2016 Book of the Month. What do you get if you add together one receptionist, one priest, one very hard to control hitman, and 19 criminals on the warpath… you get an unholy, riotous whirlwind of a read, that’s what! Jonas Jonasson has done it again, ‘Hitman Anders and the Meaning Of It All’ is a wonderfully quirky and amusing must read tale. Jonasson’s trademark gentle yet sharply observant humour, balances out the criminal element of this story beautifully. Hitman Anders is going to join my list of favourite characters of distinction, I wonder what dastardly deeds he’ll get up to when he meets the one-hundred-year-old man, who also resides on that list! From the first paragraph, right through to the last, this is a gorgeously readable walk on the darker and lighter side of life.
April 2016 Book of the Month. Totally and utterly and completely gorgeous in every way, the thought of having to put this book down for even a second is inconceivable. The first few pages make you smile, make you laugh and charm you, there is a hint though, of the difficulties that seven (nearly eight) year old Elsa is experiencing. Elsa’s shrewd, wonderful bonkers of a Granny tells her fairy tales, and like all good fairy tales there's more than a dollop of truth and reality mixed in, so ensure you're sitting comfortably and the tale can begin. There is a beautiful simplicity to the writing, yet this is not a simple book by any means, there is a complexity to the emotions it evokes and explores. Elsa and her Granny are two of the most astonishingly different characters to ever appear in print (and that’s a compliment by the way). Set aside some quality time, so you can laugh and cry undisturbed, as the author is able to enchant, to capture your imagination and hold it spellbound from the first to the last page; this is a must have, must read, must treasure book. Explore our '80+ Books That Deliver a Hug' listicle for more feel-good or uplifting books.
A startling, clever and intensely dark tale set in a small Swedish town. This is the ninth novel with Detective Patrik Hedstrom and his crime writing wife Erica at the helm. Although you could read this as a standalone, it really is best to start at the beginning of the series with The Ice Princess. In ‘The Ice Child’ a number of girls have gone missing, one suddenly reappears with horrific injuries, Patrik and his team try to piece together the scant information they have. Right from the offset Camilla Lackberg allows insidious whispers and suggestions to creep into your mind, to set you thinking and considering possibilities. The writing is matter of fact, yet feelings and thoughts sit on the surface, to be tasted and explored. This feels like a jigsaw puzzle with the last piece sitting within sight but just out of reach. With cunning writing waiting to trip you up, ‘The Ice Child’ is a dramatic, sinister and enthralling tale.
Siglufjordur: an idyllically quiet fishing village on the northernmost tip of Iceland, accessible only via a small mountain tunnel. Ari Thor Arason: a local policeman, whose tumultuous past and uneasy relationships with the villagers continue to haunt him. The peace of this close-knit community is shattered by the murder of a policeman - shot at point-blank range in the dead of night in a deserted house. With a killer on the loose and the dark arctic winter closing in, it falls to Ari Thor to piece together a puzzle that involves tangled local politics, a compromised new mayor, and a psychiatric ward in Reykjavik, where someone is being held against their will. Then a mysterious young woman moves to the area, on the run from something she dare not reveal, and it becomes all too clear that tragic events from the past are weaving a sinister spell that may threaten them all. Dark, chilling and complex, Nightblind is an extraordinary thriller from an undeniable new talent.
A beautifully crafted and heartbreaking novel about friendship, love and loss from an award winning author. This was originally published in Canada in 2001 as L’iguane and was Denis Theriault’s debut. Once I knew it was written by the author of the beautifully haunting The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman my expectations soared, and rightly so; The Boy Who Belonged to the Sea is as deeply touching, descriptive and is a truly distinctive read. Theriault has such a beautiful melodic way with words, his sentences have the ability to raise an eyebrow, to dazzle, as they simultaneously speak to the soul and are daubed vividly across your imagination. Joy and sorrow walk closely, touching hand to hand, shoulder to shoulder and the intriguing mix of the magic of childhood exploration combined with the agonising tragedy of loss, ambushes your senses and constantly surprises. This really is a book to recommend, it deserves high praise and to sit within easy reach on the bookshelf, with well worn covers and much loved pages. ~ Liz Robinson
Surprising, deliciously quirky and amusing, this gem of a book is one to treasure. Quite literally climbing out of his window, one hundred year old Allan disappears on an adventure, but this isn't his first. Alternating between the present and the past is extremely entertaining, nothing is lost but everything gained in discovering what makes Allan, Allan! While he is one of the most captivating characters to ever appear in print, Allan accrues some truly fascinating travelling companions. You get the feeling that Jonasson really enjoyed writing this novel and let his imagination run riotous rings onto the page. This is a book for adults of any age, with a reminder that to reach a century you are likely to have some pretty remarkable stories to tell (if not quite to this level of creativity). This is most definitely a must, must read… and once you’ve read it, The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden should be next on your list. The film version of The Hundred-year-old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared was released in UK cinemas on Friday 4 July 2014. Click below to view the trailer. Explore our '80+ Books That Deliver a Hug' listicle for more feel-good or uplifting books.
A 2016 World Book Night selection. ‘Whispering Shadows’ may be classed as a murder mystery, however it is one with true heart and soul, and is a sincerely beautiful read. The first in a trilogy, Jan-Philipp Sendker has departed from the format of The Art of Hearing Heartbeats and A Well-Tempered Heart, yet the enticing mix of East and West again weaves its magic touch. Paul Leibovitz has spent 30 years living in Hong Kong, he has experienced tragedy and has cut himself off from the rest of the world; a chance meeting sets him on a collision course with his feelings, his past and a possible future. Sendker obviously has a profound connection with China, his writing not only allows you to open your eyes in a different land, but also to feel, to touch, to think with consideration and compassion. Ranging from delicate and thoughtful to commanding and persuasive ensures this a convincing and fascinating read. ~ Liz Robinson
It sometimes feels as if everyone in Iceland is writing crime novels but the first appearance of Ragnar Jonasson in English translation (itself a fluid adaptation by British mystery writer Quentin Bates) is cause for celebration. Previously known as a major Agatha Christie translator, he brings that experience to bear on the clever way he weaves the intricacy of small village activities into life, with a slightly darker hue, in his dead Iceland series of which this is the first to be issued here. Ari Thor Arason is a young policeman on his first out of city posting, in a small fishing village in Northern Iceland accessible only by a tunnel. When murder hits the small knit community, Ari, a fish out of water, pining for his distant girlfriend, has to summon his inner fibre and unthread the complex strands of the enquiry amongst a bout of harsh weather that is as much a character in the book as the village's inhabitants. First class classic detection with a frozen twist. ~ Maxim Jakubowski A Maxim Jakubowski selected title.
Discover one of the best Scandinavian crime series since Jo Nesbo's Harry Hole. It's the call every officer dreads. Stockholm Criminal Investigator Conny Sjoberg finds a mother and her two young children lying peacefully in bed, their throats coldly and efficiently cut and no signs of a struggle. As Conny and his team get to work they draw a blank on both motive and suspect for these cruel, senseless murders. The only lead they have is a mysterious benefactor of the family - who eludes their every search. Distracted and hampered by the mysterious disappearance of one of their officers, Conny's squad struggles on - until an astonishing discovery turns the case upside down and threatens to tear his team apart...
59-year old Ove is quite possibly one of the grumpiest people you’ll meet but, he has been an upstanding pillar of the community for decades. The last six months have taken their toll and he decides perhaps that life is not worth living. Ove lives in a residential area of which he is fanatical about maintaining and keeping to the rules. A family of a pregnant mother, two daughters and an IT consultant dad move in next door. Ove resents them. He resents everything and everyone and so he plans his death but each attempt is thwarted mostly by people needing help. Ove is a very practical man and so he helps, yet he remains exasperated that other people’s lives are beginning to intrude upon him. Quirky, uplifting, charming, sad, life-affirming and totally irresistible, this is a perfect gem that will leave you with a spring in your step. ~ Sarah Broadhurst One of the Top 10 books in the Lovereading Readers’ Choice Book of the Year 2014. One of our Books of the Year 2014. Explore our '80+ Books That Deliver a Hug' listicle for more feel-good or uplifting books.
'Strangely enough, I mistook it for a gentleman at first. Fortunately I had my spectacles with me so I could see it was really a nose.' With this pair of absurd, comic stories Gogol indulges his imagination and delights readers. Introducing Little Black Classics: 80 books for Penguin's 80th birthday. Little Black Classics celebrate the huge range and diversity of Penguin Classics, with books from around the world and across many centuries. They take us from a balloon ride over Victorian London to a garden of blossom in Japan, from Tierra del Fuego to 16th-century California and the Russian steppe. Here are stories lyrical and savage; poems epic and intimate; essays satirical and inspirational; and ideas that have shaped the lives of millions. Nikolay Gogol (1809-1852). Gogol's works available in Penguin Classics are Dead Souls, Diary of a Madman, The Government Inspector & Selected Stories and The Night Before Christmas.
At the end of a deadly bear hunt across the wilderness of Northern Sweden, the successful hunters are shaken by a grisly discovery. Across in Kurravaara, a woman is murdered with frenzied brutality: crude abuse scrawled above her bloodied bed, her young grandson nowhere to be found. Only Rebecka Martinsson sees a connection. Dropped from the case thanks to a jealous rival, she now stands alone against a killer who brings death to young and old, spawned by a horrifying crime that festers after one hundred years on ice.