Literary return | Translations to discover

Among all the foreign novels that will soon arrive in French, here are 10 translations to escape to distant lands and explore other universes this winter.

Paradis

Abdulrazak Gurnah

The work of this writer from Zanzibar was little known in French when he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature last fall. It is thanks to this instant notoriety that two of his novels, which have not been found since, are republished simultaneously. Paradis, which was originally published in 1995, tells how, in an East African country, a teenager is sold by his parents to pay off a debt. Near the sea retraces the journey of an African asylum seeker who arrives in London.

Translated from English by Anne-Cécile Padoux, Denoël, 288 pages

January

The Island of Lost Trees

Elif Shafak

The author of 10 minutes and 38 seconds in this strange world, published last year in French, returns with a novel that she dedicates to emigrants and exiles like her, Turk having fled his country to take refuge in London. Through a teenager who tells an impossible love story between a Greek and a Turkish woman – that of her parents – she brings to life the climate of hatred and violence that tore Cyprus apart during the civil war in 1974. .

Translated from English by Dominique Goy-Blanquet, Flammarion, 432 pages

January

The Nine Lives of Rose Napolitano

Donna Freitas

The first adult title of this American academic and author, who has written many novels for teenagers. It is said that this accolibre (page-turner) that it is all intended for fans of Liane Moriarty. With the same story declined in nine scenarios – centered around a married couple, their quarrels about becoming parents and the outcome of these disputes – it explores the question of the absence of the desire for children as well as all the surprises that motherhood can bring.

Translated from English by Lori Saint-Martin and Paul Gagné, NiL, 448 pages

February

Your absence is only darkness

Jón Kalman Stefánsson

Undoubtedly one of the most remarkable Icelandic writers, this poet had made himself known with his trilogy begun with Between heaven and earth and his magnificent two-part family saga (begun with Besides, fish don’t have feet.). This story is that of a family whose origins date back to the 19e century and which, over nearly two centuries, has seen individuals whose quest for happiness is marked by misdeeds, weaknesses and renunciations.

Translated from Icelandic by Éric Boury, Grasset, 608 pages

February

The child who wanted to disappear

Jason Mott

This is a daring novel about racism, oppression and police violence that won the National Book Awards when it was released in English in the United States last year. Passing through a big hotel, an African-American writer meets a boy with such dark skin that he is nicknamed Charcoal. This one will follow him throughout his tour and will tell him how his parents tried to make him invisible, in the hope of saving him from the fate that his skin color has in store for him.

Translated from English by Jérôme Schmidt, Otherwise, 432 pages

February

small boxes

Yôko Ogawa

In a place where everything is small, where the children, the museum and the maternity ward have disappeared, the narrator becomes the guardian of a room set up at school so that the parents come to deposit small boxes that remind them of their child. lost. She also copies letters that only she still manages to read. A novel that echoes previous titles by the prolific Japanese author, such as The Museum of Silence and Secret crystallization.

Translated from Japanese by Sophie Refle, Actes Sud, 208 pages

February

Mr. Loverman

Bernardine Evaristo

After the success achieved by girl, woman, other, the bar is high for the new novel by this Briton who won the Man Booker Prize tied with Margaret Atwood in 2019, and who has often been associated with Zadie Smith. She builds here a singular character who has lived a lie all his life in his marriage to his wife, while he has been in love with a man for 60 years. At 74, he sees his last chance to be happy approaching.

Translated from English (UK) by Françoise Adelstain, Globe, 304 pages

Mars

Sang trouble

Robert Galbraith

We are promised a thrilling plot in this brick signed JK Rowling, under the pseudonym she uses for her series with Cormoran Strike. In this fifth title, the private detective looks into a closed case for the first time, still in the company of his partner, Robin Ellacott, mired in a complicated divorce. Their investigation leads them on the trail of a serial killer who turns out to be more dangerous than they could have thought.

Translated from English by Florianne Vidal, Grasset, 928 pages

Mars

Call Us What We Carry (working title)

Amanda Gorman

This is Amanda Gorman’s first collection of poetry, released in English in December, and includes the famous poem The hill we climb, declaimed during the inauguration of Joe Biden, a year ago. The 22-year-old poet, from a modest background in Los Angeles, explores themes of identity, mourning and memory, while revealing her unique and unforgettable voice, which had earned her notice. by the President’s wife during a public reading.

Translated from English by Lous and the Yakuza, Fayard

Mars

1000 years of joys and sorrows

Ai Weiwei

In these memoirs written during his incarceration in 2011, the committed artist Ai Weiwei looks back for the very first time on his childhood, his years in the labor camps where he was sent with his family, his awareness of the revolutionary power of art, its formation in New York and its artistic influences. Alongside 50 unpublished drawings, while he has become a symbol of the fight against repression, he also lifts the veil on his exile and his fight against the Chinese system.

Translated from English and Chinese by Louis Vincenolles, Buchet-Chastel, 380 pages

Mars

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