2024 WRC: Translated from another language

A banner showing five book covers from the list on this page.

If you’ve participated in the Winter Reading Challenge before, you likely already know to check the Classics section and our manga collection for this category. Click this link to see the wide array of materials in our catalog with “translated from” in its record, check out old friends Fredrik Backman and Elena Ferrante or peruse the list of suggestions below-

The Wind Knows My Name: A Novel by Isabel Allende, translated from the Spanish by Frances Riddle – Traces the ripple effects of war and immigration on two children—5-year-old Samuel, whose mother puts him on a Kindertransport train out of Nazi-occupied Austria to England in 1938, and 7-year-old Anita, who boards another train eight decades later to the U.S., where she’s separated from her mother.

The Postcard by Anne Berest, translated from the French by Tina Kover – Fifteen years after the arrival of an anonymous postcard with the names of her maternal great-grandparents and their children—all killed at Auschwitz—Anne Berest is moved to discover who sent it and why and embarks on a journey to learn the fate of the Rabinovitch family.

How to Love Your Daughter by Hila Blum, translated from the Hebrew by Daniella Zamir – Weaving back and forth in time, this novel tells the story of a mother’s struggle to come to terms with her estrangement from her only child.

Ghost Town: A Novel in 45 chapters by Kevin Chen, translated from the Mandarin (and the Taiwanese) by Darryl Sterk – Fleeing the oppression of his village in Berlin to find acceptance as a gay man, Chen Tien-Hong, the only son of a traditional Taiwanese family, returns home after 10 years and a prison sentence to find his family gone.

The Night Travelers: A Novel by Armando Lucas Correa, translated from the Spanish by Nick Caistor and Faye Williams, additional translation by Cecilia Molinari – Separated by time but united by sacrifice, four women experience love, loss, war, and hope from the rise of Nazism to the fall of the Berlin Wall as they embark on journeys of self-discovery and find themselves to be living testaments to the power of maternal love.

Our Share of Night: A Novel by Mariana Enriquez, translated from the Spanish by Megan McDowell – United in grief after the death of the wife and mother they both loved, a young father and son travel to confront the terrifying legacy she bequeathed—a family called the Order that commits unspeakable acts in search of immortality.

Kairos by Jenny Erpenbeck, translated from the German by Michael Hofmann – Tells the story of the romance begun in East Berlin at the end of the 1980s when nineteen-year-old Katharina meets by chance a married writer in his fifties named Hans. Their passionate yet difficult long-running affair takes place against the background of the declining GDR, through the upheavals wrought by its dissolution in 1989 and then what comes after.

High: A Journey Across the Himalaya, Through Pakistan, India, Bhutan, Nepal and China by Erika Fatland, translated from the Norwegian by Kari Dickson – The Himalayas weave through five very different countries, where the world religions of Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism are mixed with ancient shamanic religions. Countless languages and vastly different cultures live in the secluded mountain valleys. Modernity and tradition collide, while the great powers fight for influence. We have read about mountain climbers on their way up Mount Everest and about travelers on the spiritual quest for Buddhist monasteries. But how much do we know about the people living in the Himalaya? Fatland invites us into close encounters with the many peoples of the region, and at the same time takes us on a dizzying journey at altitude through incredible landscapes and dramatic, unknown world histories–all the way to the most volatile human conflicts of our times.

A Shining by Jon Fosse, translated from the Norwegian by Damion Searls – A man starts driving without knowing where he is going. He alternates between turning right and left, and ultimately finds himself stuck at the end of a forest road. It soon grows dark and begins to snow. But instead of searching for help, he ventures, foolishly, into the dark forest. Inevitably, the man gets lost, and as he grows cold and tired, he encounters a glowing being amid the obscurity.

Every Man for Himself and God Against All: A Memoir by Werner Herzog, translated by Michael Hofmann – Spanning the seven continents and encompassing both documentary and fiction, the legendary filmmaker and celebrated author reflects on his epic artistic career as he unravels and relives his most important experiences and inspirations, telling his story for the first time.

The Iliad by Homer, translated by Emily R. Wilson – Wilson, who previously translated The Odyssey, has returned with an equally revelatory translation of Homer’s other great epic―the most revered war poem of all time. The Iliad roars with the clamor of arms, the bellowing boasts of victors, the fury and grief of loss, and the anguished cries of dying men. It sings, too, of the sublime magnitude of the world―the fierce beauty of nature and the gods’ grand schemes beyond the ken of mortals. In Wilson’s hands, this thrilling, magical, and often horrifying tale now gallops at a pace befitting its legendary battle scenes, in crisp but resonant language that evokes the poem’s deep pathos and reveals palpably real, even “complicated,” characters―both human and divine.

Red Queen by Juan Gómez-Jurado, translated from the Spanish by Nick Caistor – After a personal trauma, Antonia Scott, whose ability to reconstruct crimes and solve baffling murders is legendary, refuses to continue her work until she is drawn into a macabre, ritualistic murder investigation by a desperate police officer with his own agenda.

The Mantis: A Novel by Kotaro Isaka, translated from the Japanese by Sam Malissa – A skilled assassin eager to escape his profession and the hold of his handler, The Doctor, Kabuto, when The Doctor agrees to let him pay his way out of his contract, finds his final assignment putting him and his family-who have no idea about his double life-in danger.

Grey Bees by Andrey Kurkov, translated from the Russian by Boris Dralyuk – Little Starhorodivka, a village of three streets, lies in Ukraine’s Grey Zone, the no-man’s-land between loyalist and separatist forces. Thanks to the lukewarm war of sporadic violence and constant propaganda that has been dragging on for years, only two residents remain: retired safety inspector turned beekeeper Sergey Sergeyich and Pashka, a rival from his schooldays. With little food and no electricity, under constant threat of bombardment, Sergeyich’s one remaining pleasure is his bees. As spring approaches, he knows he must take them far from the Grey Zone so they can collect their pollen in peace. This simple mission on their behalf introduces him to combatants and civilians on both sides of the battle lines: loyalists, separatists, Russian occupiers and Crimean Tatars. Wherever he goes, Sergeyich’s childlike simplicity and strong moral compass disarm everyone he meets. But could these qualities be manipulated to serve an unworthy cause, spelling disaster for him, his bees and his country?

Stolen: A Novel by Ann-Helén Laestadius, translated from the Swedish by Rachel Willson-Broyles – As hatred and threats against the Sámi reindeer herders escalate, resulting in more reindeer being tortured and killed, Elsa, a young Indigenous woman, decides to push back on the apathetic police force, making her the target of a devious hunter who wants to silence her forever.

The Bird Tattoo: A Novel by Dunya Mikhail, translated from the Arabic – A young Yazidi woman living in the mountain village of Sinjar in northern Iraq finds her life forever changed when her husband goes missing after ISIS infiltrates the area and she is kidnapped and enslaved before escaping her captors and being reunited with some of her family.

Kibogo by Scholastique Mukasonga, translated from the French by Mark Polizzotti – In four beautifully woven parts, Mukasonga spins a marvelous recounting of the clash between ancient Rwandan beliefs and the missionaries determined to replace them with European Christianity.

The Night House by Jo Nesbø, translated from the Norwegian by Neil Smith – When he is sent to live with his aunt and uncle in the remote, insular town of Ballantyne, 14-year-old Richard Elauved, when he is suspected in the disappearances of two classmates, must prove his innocence and preserve his sanity as he grapples with the dark magic that is possessing the town.

Secrets We Tell the Sea by Martha Riva Palacio Obón, illustrations by Dana SanMar, translated by Lourdes Heuer – When hard truths come out after a tragedy, ten-year-old mermaid Sofâia must learn how to forgive herself and others. (Children’s fiction)

In a Flight of Starlings: The Wonders of Complex Systems by Giorgio Parisi in collaboration with Anna Parisi, translated by Simon Carnell – The 2021 Nobel Prize winner in Physics looks at how observing the flight patterns of birds can help us understand complex systems of all kinds as well as the surprising kinship between physics and other disciplines.

Tomb of Sand: A Novel by Geetanjali Shree, translated from the Hindi by Daisy Rockwell – In Northern India, when her grandson brings her a seemingly magical cane to lift her spirits after the death of her husband, 80-year-old Ma, with a new lease on life, embarks on a series of adventures that turn the family’s understanding of themselves upside down.

Days at the Morisaki Bookshop: A Novel by Satoshi Yagisawa, translated from the Japanese by Eric Ozawa – After a young Japanese woman’s life falls apart, she moves into a flat above her eccentric uncle’s bookshop, staying rent-free in exchange for working at the store and developing a passion for Japanese literature.

The Only Daughter: A Novel by A.B. Yehoshua, translated from the Hebrew by Stuart Schoffman – Rachele Luzzato is twelve years old when she learns her father is gravely ill. While her family plans for her upcoming Bat-Mitzvah, Rachele finds herself cast as the Madonna in her school’s Christmas play. Caught between spiritual poles, struggling to cope with her father’s mortality, Rachele feels as if the threads of her everyday life are unravelling. A diverse circle of adults are there to guide young Rachele as she faces the difficult passing of childhood, including her charismatic Jewish grandfather, her maternal Catholic grandparents, and even an old teacher who believes the young girl might find solace in a nineteenth-century novel. These spiritual tributaries ultimately converge in Rachele’s imagination, creating a fantasy that transcends the microcosm of her daily life with one simple hope: an end to the loneliness felt by an only daughter.