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5 Translated Works of Fiction You Should Try Out


Every year, the world celebrates International Translation Day to highlight the work of language professionals. The day hails the role of language professionals like translators in facilitating communication, bringing together different societies and contributing to world peace and security. The United Nations marks International Translation Day on the feast of St Jerome, who is considered to be the patron saint of translators. The occasion also draws attention towards the vital role of languages in education, ensuring intercultural dialogue, promoting diversity and building knowledgeable societies. The theme for the celebrations this year is ‘A World Without Barriers’.

The increasing interconnectedness of the world has led to a wide variety of translated novels being available for our consumption. These stories not only teach us how human experiences can transcend the barriers of language and culture, but also provide a way for us to experience different places. And what better way to honour translators and other people working with languages than reading some translated fiction?

Tomb Of Sand by Geetanjali Shree (Hindi)

This was the first Hindi novel to win the International Booker Prize this year. Written by Geetanjali Shree and translated by Daisy Rockwell, the novel follows the experiences of an 80-year-old woman who surprises her family when she gets a new lease on life after the death of her husband. The woman even decides to travel to Pakistan to confront her lingering trauma from the Partition.

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante (Italian):

The first part of the acclaimed Neapolitan Quartet, the novel follows the relationship of Elena and Lila as they grow up in Naples, Italy. Ann Goldstein has translated the entire series, which follows the two girls and the troubled relationship from their childhood to old age. The novel is an ode to complicated friendships and what growing up means.

Kafka On The Shore by Haruki Murakami (Japanese):

Philip Gabriel’s translation of Murakami’s famous novel is one of the writer’s best loved works. The story follows the adventures of Kafka Tamura, who runs away from home to avoid a prophecy. As the novel follows Kafka’s journey, it also focuses on Nakata, who can talk to cats. Interested? Well, read the book to find out how Kafka and Nakata’s lives intersect.

Delhi: A Soliloquy by M Mukundan (Malayalam):

Translated by Fathima EV and Nandakumar K, the plot is centred around Sahadevan, a young Malayali who settles in Delhi during the 1960s. The novel is a love letter to the complicated city and the people who make it up. Delhi: A Soliloquy was awarded the 2021 JCB prize for Literature.

Things We Lost In The Fire by Mariana Enriquez (Spanish):

A set of short stories that have been brilliantly translated by Megan McDowell, this one is for all horror fans.. The stories bring out Argentina as a violent, corrupt and grotesque place, where the biggest monsters are the ones that might be standing next to you. This is a must-read if you are looking for something spooky.

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