Fifth Post

Translated Fiction – Anomaly in the UK

What is Translated Fiction?

This question has absorbed me for some time as a wonderful philosophical question when I studied for a Translation MA and also on a practical level when I have worked in bookshops and libraries.

Is it a separate category? Should it be treated as a separate category when shelving books and creating displays? A case can definitely be argued for putting translated fiction in its own curated space. If you create an interesting display in a bookshop you are performatively asking your customers to consider and recognise that the book is translated, perhaps raising your customers’ awareness that they can choose books from other cultures, increasing the visibility of the translator and broadening the experience of those who come into contact with it.

This task of curation is made easier in the UK due to the relatively low levels of translated fiction in the UK compared with other EU countries for example.

It is an amazing experience to read an author in their own language (I can only manage this in French) but for most of us most of the time we read translations and form opinions of the writer based on the words and language used by the translator. They are writers and creators in their own right. Do you agree? The translators of this selection of Translated French Fiction are listed in the reviews below.

Try some of the best French fiction around! From prize-winning crime to light and quirky short novels there is something for every Francophile! Black Water Lilies is a heady mix of murder, mystery and Monet and do not let anyone give you any spoilers! The Godmother is a uniquely dark and comic story about a middle-aged interpreter becoming unintentionally involved in a life of crime. The Girl Who Reads on the Metro is a delightful love story about reading and books while Vintage 1954 is a sweet, frothy and charming fable of Paris. Bon appetit!

Vintage 1954

Antoine Laurain

More like a frothy, sparkling Blanquette de Limoux! Pour a glass and leave your preconceptions and logic behind and come to Paris and see the young Parisians. Francophiles rejoice and enjoy this sweet and charming tale of wine, magic and mystery. Translators: Jane Aitken and Emily Boyce

Black Water Lilies: ‘A dazzling, unexpected and haunting masterpiece’ Daily Mail

Michel Bussi

I literally cannot and will not praise this book enough! it needs to be read without even the hint of a clumsy or unintentional spoiler….. Suffice to say it is a masterpiece of murder, mirage, mystery and Monet. Ridiculously good and original! Translator: Shaun Whiteside

The Godmother

Hannelore Cayre

Dark edgy humour and desperation as a woman of a certain age sets out on a life of crime with style and verve. Formidable! Translator: Stephanie Smee

The Girl Who Reads on the Metro

Christine Feret-Fleury

Find out how Juliette walks away from her old life in order to follow her love of literature and books. This delightful novel is a love story to reading and choosing books and makes a perfect gift. Spread the joy! Translator: Ros Schwartz

The List of my Desires

Gregoire Delacourt

An enchanting fable of love, loss, hopes and dreams. Joyous and inspiring and the perfect length to read in one sitting. Translator: Anthea Bell