Tag Archives: Fiction In Translation

French Leave by Anna Gavalda

I know it was just the other day while reviewing The White Book that I mentioned I was never the one to wish for a sibling while growing up. As an only child, my childhood was a blast, and I loved (LOVE!) being the center of my parents’ universe. So I never had much time […]

Theory of Shadows by Paolo Maurensig

I was an enthusiastic chess player back when I was in high school. Those days I was living and breathing chess, and although it has been a while since I last played chess, I was thrilled to get my hands on Theory of Shadows, a novel based on Alexander Alekhine who became the World Chess […]

Sacred Darkness by Levan Berdzenishvili

Sacred Darkness, Levan Berdzenishvili’s semi-autobiographical novel begins at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington DC. Levan is a Georgian-Soviet politician who had landed in the hospital en route to Cancun, Mexico due to an infection, and after learning that Levan had been a prisoner in Soviet Gulag in the 1980s, his attending physician agrees to treat […]

Little Culinary Triumphs by Pascale Pujol

I’m glad I chose Little Culinary Triumphs to start my new reading year. Set in Montmartre, it’s a stellar novel both well-written and absorbing! The story’s protagonist is Sandrine Cordier, a civil servant who loves cooking. Sandrine’s childhood dream had been to open up her own restaurant. But with two grandmothers who had spent their […]

Like a Sword Wound by Ahmet Altan

Before I read Like a Sword Wound, the first volume in the Ottoman Quartet I knew very little of Turkey’s history or its present-day politics. So while I was reading this book, I spent a lot of hours on the internet researching this fascinating country. But, sadly, it seems like today people in Turkey, just […]

Fire in the Blood by Irène Némirovsky

Fire in the Blood‘s narrator, Silvio leads a quiet life in a small farming village in France. He had spent his youth traveling the world with his string of exotic lovers, but now he is old and lives by himself. The novella begins with a visit paid to Silvio by Helen, his distant cousin, with […]

Young Once by Patrick Modiano

In 2014 Patrick Modiano who is called “Marcel Proust of our time” won the Nobel Prize in Literature “for the art of memory with which he has evoked the most ungraspable human destinies and uncovered the life-world of the Occupation.” He was a well-known writer in France at the time, but he was not popular […]

The Fires of Autumn by Irène Némirovsky

In 1914 when WWI is declared, Bernard Jacquelain is only a young boy of seventeen. He is full of patriotism, and in the naive belief that the war would end in three months he voluntarily joins the war to fight for the honor of France. But three months turn into four years, and when Bernard […]

A Horse Walks into a Bar by David Grossman

A Horse Walks into a Bar is a clever novel, but reading it was a tiring experience. Dovaleh G is a veteran standup comedian who takes the stage at a comedy club in the small Israeli town of Netanya. Avishai Lazar, Dov’s childhood friend, and former District Court Justice is also in the audience, and […]

All Our Worldly Goods by Irène Némirovsky

All Our Worldly Goods is a story of love; love that comes in many forms. It begins with the romance between Pierre and Agnes, who were next door neighbors growing up in the provincial town of Saint-Elme in France. Their love and commitment to each other get tested very early on, as Pierre’s industrious, tyrannical […]

The Dogs and the Wolves by Irène Némirovsky

The Dogs and the Wolves is the story of two distantly related Jewish families: the Sinners. They live in a Ukranian city where the poor, ‘unsavory’ Jews lived in the ghetto while the wealthy Jews lived on top of a hill in “the realm of the blessed.” With Ada’s father working as a broker, Ada’s […]

Prometheus Bound by Aeschylus

I’ve never been a big fan of Greek mythology. But reading Prometheus Bound converted me! Prometheus Bound, which is probably the oldest book I’ve ever read (I am yet to read The Iliad and The Odyssey), is an ancient Greek tragedy. The play has been historically attributed to Aeschylus (525 – 456 BC, however, the […]

Jezebel by Irène Némirovsky

I’m falling behind my Irène Némirovsky year-long project. I’ve been crazy busy these days (more about it later), and I couldn’t read Jezebel which was supposed to be my June read. Hopefully, I’ll have time to read another Némirovsky this month, so I can be back on track with my project! In Jezebel, we see […]

Dancing Lessons for the Advanced in Age by Bohumil Hrabal

The novella Dancing Lessons for the Advanced in Age is written as a single (unfinished) sentence! Long sentences that run for pages are not my usual cup of tea. I still remember how daunting it was to read Gabriel García Márquez’s (he is one of my favorite authors) The Autumn Of The Patriarch. And that […]

The Wine of Solitude by Irène Némirovsky

It is said out of all Irène Némirovsky’s novels The Wine of Solitude is the most autobiographical. Dysfunctional mother-daughter relationships are a recurring theme in Némirovsky’s novels I have read, but none of them have examined those relationships up close like The Wine of Solitude. In The Wine of Solitude, Hélène Karol’s mother is a beautiful […]