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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.
Set in Iceland, this novel introduces a new policing team in a tense and unsettling crime novel. Winner of Iceland’s Blackbird Award and translated by prizewinning Victoria Cribb The Creak on the Stairs marks the beginning of a new series. The prologue provokes a sense of unease, which lies in wait through the rest of the tale. Eva Bjorg Aegisdottir gradually introduces more characters, adding more layers of information and increasing the intrigue. We are allowed to see into the past, childhoods torn apart, still affecting the present. The policing team are an interesting bunch, with their outside lives altering their investigating ability. The setting in Iceland is fascinating, the descriptions creating a vivid picture of the reality of living in a small town. The Creak on the Stairs is a captivating tale with plenty of tension and a plot to really get your teeth into.
With short fast-moving chapters this is a piercing and riveting political thriller. Sitting within a time period of just over two weeks, former aid worker Ursula finds herself in deep water when she becomes Minister for the Interior in Iceland. Author Lilja Sigurdardottir and translator Quentin Bates team up again after the successful and fiercely intense Reykjavik Noir trilogy which I absolutely adored. The writing here is just as smart and powerful with dirty politics and corruption leading the charge and an otherwordly feel slinking around in the background. A number of characters are introduced, from Ursula who takes a high-profile role in government, to driver and bodyguard Gunnar, and cleaner Stella. A picture slows builds with a teetering edge of tension remaining in place throughout. I hovered on the edge of knowing and understanding, my focus sharp and waiting for what was to come. In summary, Betrayal is an edge-of-your-seat political thriller just brimming over with attitude.
An incredibly engaging, fascinating, and rather beautiful read, this book will stay with me for some time. A couple seek refuge after the Spanish Civil War and end up in Chile, where years later they again face exile. Covering the period from 1938 through to 1994, this is a story that crosses continents, examines topics such as fascism, war, and migration, yet is as intimate as intimate can be. I entered and thought no more about the fact that this was translated from Spanish by Nick Caister and Amanda Hopkinson, it is so clearly, simply, and fabulously done. Within the first few pages there were tears in my eyes. I couldn’t stop reading, thoughtful and sensitive, yet not afraid to focus on unbearable sorrow, this feels as though it could be a biography. As Isabelle Allende explains in the acknowledgments, while this is a novel, with fictional characters (though based on people she has known), the historical events and people are real. She says: “This book wrote itself, as if it had been dictated to me” and I truly felt that. A Long Petal of the Sea opened my eyes and my heart, and has left me wanting to know more. Coming as highly recommended by me, it has also been chosen as a LoveReading Star Book.
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.
Sharp, shrewd and incredibly intimate, this is a novel that explores the truth in family relationships. To celebrate Sverre’s 70th birthday his family travel to Italy, once there his children are shocked to the core when their mother and father announce they are divorcing. Novelist Helga Flatland makes her English debut with ‘A Modern Family’ which was the winner of the Norwegian Booksellers’ Award. The translation by Rosie Hedger is beautifully seamless. The three children, Liv, Ellen, and Hakon tell us their thoughts and feelings as the holiday and news hits home. As each person speaks, we not only see them as they see themselves, we are exposed to their quirks and differences as we then view them through the eyes of their siblings. The life cycle of relationships is explored with a transparent directness, this is a novel that prods and provokes. A fascinating read, incredibly profound, yet somehow tender, this really does encourage an exploration of a modern family.
March 2014 Book of the Month. An intriguing and beguiling read, told with great eloquence and understanding. Burma and the USA are unlikely bedfellows as a setting, however this juxtaposition helps focus on the different characters and their yearning for compassion and love. Part of the novel is set within a period of civil war, the hardships accentuate the spiritual and friendly nature of the community caught in this internal conflict and you feel that the author has a great love for Burma and its people. His lightness of touch, when dealing with heartache and sorrow, emphasise the intensity of feelings within the main characters. There is no discord or disharmony between the different stories being told and by the end the tales fit enchantingly together like two sides of the same jigsaw. Although this is a much anticipated sequel, you do not have to have read the award winning The Art of Hearing Heartbeats. This book stands resolutely in its own right, however there are suggestive hints, that if you haven't yet done so, will encourage you to explore the story of Julias father, the man who could hear heartbeats. ~ Liz Robinson In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion for A Well Tempered Heart a small number of Lovereading members were lucky enough to be invited to review this title - 'A beautifully written book about a beautiful country and culture. If you love a sensitive thoughtful book then this is the one for you.' Sarah Musk Scroll down to read more reviews. A 'Piece of Passion' from the publisher... Normally publishers are wary of sequels but Jan-Philipp Sendker’s follow up to the smash hit Art of Hearing Heartbeats does not disappoint. Everything is there: the mix of East and West, the pain of lives pulled apart by the bitter conflict of war and, most of all, the emotional pull of love, loss and forgiveness. All infused with Jan-Philipp’s spellbinding story-telling; you won’t be able to put it down.' - Neville Moir, Editor, Polygon Books
January 2010 Good Housekeeping selection. On My Bookshelf by Wendy Holden... Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy is the best in its class – I am a novelist, but for my money the writers of the19th century set the bar for the whole genre. The reason I love it isn’t so much the tragic Anna with ghastly Vronsky, but because of Princess Kitty and Levin. He’s cracked and she’s a bit cosy, but their love affair is just so transportingly romantic. The description of when they meet at the frozen pond, where she is skating and he can’t even look at her because he feels it would be like looking at the sun, gets me every time. It’s because of these two lovers that I’ve never understood the fuss about Jane Austen’s Elizabeth and Mr Darcy. Visit our '50 Classics Everyone Should Read' collection to discover more classic titles.
Take a fascinating and oh so readable journey into the darker side of life, where you need to be able to see in the dark to have an understanding of it. This is the second in the ‘Chastity Riley series’, the first book Blue Night was one of my favourites from last year, so I was waiting for this with huge anticipation, and I can confirm that Beton Rouge is another wonderfully compelling read. State Prosecutor Chastity Riley is teamed with a new partner after a manager of a German magazine is found unconscious in a cage suffering torture wounds. The chapter headings are little lightening bolts of fabulous. Simone Buchholz, with Rachel Ward as translator, creates in less than 200 pages the most taut, incredible intensity. I adore her writing as it takes you into the misty half world between lyrical beauty and raw, grim necessity. Beton Rouge is a killer read, original, unusual and yet I felt that a part of it, in fact a part of Chastity, lodged itself deeply within my soul, it’s quite simply fabulous.
Varg Veum receives a surprise visit in his office. A woman introduces herself as his half-sister, and she has a job for him. Her god-daughter, a 19-year-old trainee nurse from Haugesund, moved from her bedsit in Bergen two weeks ago. Since then no one has heard anything from her. She didn't leave an address. She doesn't answer her phone. And the police refuse to take her case seriously. Veum's investigation uncovers a series of carefully covered-up crimes and pent-up hatreds, and the trail leads to a gang of extreme bikers on the hunt for a group of people whose dark deeds are hidden by the anonymity of the Internet. And then things get personal... Chilling, shocking and exceptionally gripping, Big Sister reaffirms Gunnar Staalesen as one of the world's foremost thriller writers.
One of Our Books of the Year 2017 | April 2017 Book of the Month. Simply superb, ’Black Water Lilies’ has leapt straight into my heart and soul. Thirteen days in the heart of Claude Monet’s homeland, where murder, death, lies, and deceit stalk the village of Giverny. Three women and two investigators dance through a weaving, magical, almost dreamlike story. The prologue sent a thrilling chill coursing through me, I was immediately captivated and remained that way for the entire tale. This is most definitely a crime novel, yet it is also a mystery, and a story about love, I almost feel as though it shouldn't be categorised, but enjoyed instead for what it is, a stunning piece of literature. Michel Bussi is an award-winning French novelist, this is the second of his novels to be translated into English. Descriptions are so immediate and evocative I felt as though I was about to step into a Monet painting. The plot kept me on the edge of the frame, just on the edge of understanding as I viewed the scenes in front of me. The unexpected ending made me weep, not through sadness, but because, as my brain raced to catch up with the shock of awareness, my feelings were affected at a basic level, and I’m still affected by it now. As soon as I had finished, I just wanted to start reading again from the beginning. ‘Black Water Lilies’ has been a bestseller in France, and it deserves to be a bestseller here, it is, without doubt, a must read. ~ Liz Robinson A 'Piece of Passion' from the Publisher... 'I have to ’fess up, I did a French degree and am predisposed to love all things French. But that’s not why I love this book. Why I love it is that it is such a clever and compelling read – mystery after mystery is revealed as the story unfolds, and at every turn you meet a new and fascinating character. For me, one of the best ‘characters’ is the village of Giverny itself – by day, a mecca for tourists from all around the world; by night a place where decades-old rivalries and secrets play out behind closed doors. And then there’s the twist . . . I immediately wanted to go back and read the whole thing again!' ~ Kirsty Dunseath, Weidenfeld & Nicolson
This truly is a crime novel to tamper with your thoughts and send them skittering off in all directions. ‘Blackout’ takes place in June 2010, following on from ‘Snowblind’, the first in the ‘Dark Iceland’ series. A fascinating murder investigation by police and a reporter takes place during the time the ash cloud from a volcanic eruption affected the country and air travel, ensuring a heightened sense of foreboding and tension. A number of main characters feature, including self reliant Ari Thor Arason, who polices the most northerly village in Iceland, and Isrun, a TV news reporter. I have to admit it did take me a little time to get to know all of the characters, however I do believe ‘Blackout’ works well as a standalone novel. Ragnar Jonasson writes with a bitingly sparse, to the point style, and Quentin Bates has translated his words skilfully, ensuring the story flows. The first part of the novel sews confusion and encourages questions, it almost feels as though two or three jigsaws of information have been thrown into the air to land in one jumbled pile. With several menacing stories, creeping and melding into one, ‘Blackout’ is a wonderfully gripping and gritty novel.
A truly stunning debut both powerful and disturbing by a UK-based French author, set in London, the West Coast of Sweden and, worryingly, during WW2 in the Buchenwald concentration camp. The use of such a harrowing location and era might in other less-skillful hands smack of exploitation, but here it just anchors an already scary serial killer investigation in reality with a series of heart-jumping twists you never see coming. When similar mutilations appear in the murder of a female Swedish jewellery designer in Falkenberg and the discovery of young children's bodies on Hampstead Heath, Scotland Yard call on the services of seconded Canadian profiler Emily Roy, and true crime author Alexis Castells who knew the initial victim and feels compelled to become involved. The contrasting couple's investigation alongside both police forces slowly uncovers layers of horror and surprises. The first in a series, winner of several awards in its native France, this heralds the English language debut of a major new talent and will have people talking (DISCLAIMER: I am the translator of this book, which I was pleased to bring to the attention of its British publishers). ~ Maxim Jakubowski The LoveReading view... As the start to a new series, this is a truly menacing, striking and powerful read. Profiler Emily Roy, and Alexis Castells a true crime writer, join forces as mutilated bodies are discovered in Sweden and London. The tale begins in 2013, as a body is hidden and thoughts are revealed in chilling focus. Roy and Castells make a fascinating duo, each adding their own distinct style. Short chapters provoke interest, and set feelings whirling, before moving swiftly on. Buchenwald concentration camp squats with loathing intensity in 1944, breaking into the middle of the story, just how do the atrocities committed there link to the investigation? Maxim Jakobowski ensures a seamless translation as Johana Gustawsson releases evil behind a stark and deceptively simple writing style. ‘Block 46’ left me shuddering as it reached a dramatic conclusion, and yet I couldn’t turn away, oh what a clever and very shocking tale this is! ~ Liz Robinson A 'Piece of Passion' from the Publisher... As sometimes happens, Block 46 was recommended to me by a number of authors and reviewers, whose opinion I trust, and I was very excited to meet with Johana’s French publisher at the London Book Fair last year. My eldest son read it in the original French, as did an outside reader, and both come back with stars in their eyes, and a You MUST publish this book message! Maxim Jakubowski was already a fan, and we hired him to translate Block 46. Six months on and I still hadn’t read it. I flew through the first draft of the translation in less than a day, and knew exactly why everyone was raving – exactly why this book has won so many awards in Johana’s native France. This is a stunning piece of crime fiction, with a plot that twists and turns and leaves the reader both breathless and gasping for more. At its heart is a study of the nature of evil that is eye-opening and also terrifying, and the two main protagonists are fresh, never stereotypical, and hugely engaging. I am thrilled and honoured to be publishing such a fabulous series, with its sweeping plot and timelines. In all honesty, it is probably the best Noir to come out of France for a decade, by a young writer with a massive future ahead of her. ~ Karen Sullivan, Orenda Books Click here to read a Q&A with the author. Books in The Roy & Castells Series: 1. Block 46 2. Keeper 3. Blood Song Serial Reader? Check out our 'Fall in Love With a Book Series' collection to find amazing book series to dive in to.
Blood Song continues in truly wonderful style what is an enthralling, astute, and absolutely cracking series. In 2016, members from a wealthy family are murdered in Sweden. With Profiler Emily Roy and true crime writer Alexis Castells on the case, the investigation heads into the past. This is the third in the Roy and Castells books, the plotting is fairly intricate, so it isn’t a series you can join half way through. My advice if you haven't met them before is to go back to the beginning and start with the equally fabulous Block 46 followed by Keeper. As with previous books, we have multiple settings and time frames, this time the past focuses on the horrific civil war in Spain. The Author’s Note sits well at the beginning, with information about Franco’s regime, which I felt I needed before I started to read. Johana Gustawsson wields a seriously eloquent pen, she creates an acutely vivid picture while tackling the most difficult of subjects with a beautiful balance. David Warriner the translator ensured the thought of translation didn’t cross my mind while I was reading but I really appreciated the skill afterwards. Blood Song caught and has held onto my thoughts, it is clever, provocative, and a seriously good read.
This was a dream of a read for me, relatively short, different, beautifully written, and full of jarring, jolting impact. Blue Night is the first in the Chastity Riley series, was a number one bestseller in Germany, and has been fabulously translated by Rachel Ward. After a particularly difficult case (which involved in-house corruption) Chastity Riley, state prosecutor in Hamburg, has been transferred to witness protection. Chastity’s next case propels her straight back into the main ring, she has to throw her guard up and come out fighting. The introduction surprised me, raw and gritty, yet written with a lyrical beauty, it really sets the tone. Simone Buchholz shoots abrupt, short sentences across the page, her writing is sparse and to the point, yet connected deeply within my heart and mind. I adored the sections which freeze-framed the characters in time, they burst with energy and information, almost popping with intensity. It feels as though you are on a collision course with the ending, which exploded in dramatic style. Constantly surprising, Blue Night is an original, firecracker of a read, it will undoubtedly be one of my books of the year, I absolutely loved it. Books in The Chastity Riley Series: 1. Blue Night 2. Beton Rouge 3. Mexico Street Serial Reader? Check out our 'Fall in Love With a Book Series' collection to find amazing book series to dive in to.