We all know that books aren’t just in English. They come in many languages, and some are translated into English. The oldest novel is Genji Monogatari (The Tale of Genji) by Murasaki Shikibu in early 11th century Japan. While I have not read the book, I have seen an animated adaptation of the book. But what about our authors? What have they read?
Question 5: Have you read any foreign language novels, translated or not? What would you recommend?
I mostly read Japanese translated literature and usually of the darker nature – After Dark by Haruki Murakami and Audition by Ryū Murakami (no relation). I have a few more on my TBR (such as just about everything by Haruki Murakami but specifically 1Q84 that I can recall) as well as some others I haven’t gotten memorized. Oh, and the Bible, obviously. I recommend trying it out – other cultures’ literature are so different from our own as well as the language used, it provides insight into minds that aren’t formed like our own. I wanna read more, from other languages of course, as well.
I don’t know any foreign languages well enough to read a novel in them, alas; I probably shouldn’t have switched language courses between high school and college. But I know that Albert Camus’ The Stranger was originally in French, and I wrote a post including that recently — it was both philosophically interesting and one of the books that I think set the tone for some of my own writing. (If you can imagine it translated into action-fantasy.) Anyway, it’s always been a favorite.
The two that immediately come to mind are Solaris and All You Need Is Kill. Both are good stories.
This is going to be a quick answer, because I’m almost positive that the answer is no. It is possible that I’ve read something that was translated, but I’m pretty confident that I would know if that had happened, so I’m going to just go ahead and assume that it’s a no. I guess I’ll have to see what the other authors say so I can broaden my horizons!
I just finished reading Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s Love in the Time of Cholera (in translation). It occurred to me when this year’s Nobel Prize for Literature was announced that I’ve read very little award-winning literature from other countries, so this was my first step to remedying that situation. It was very clear from the opening sentence why this novel is considered a treasure: “It was inevitable: the scent of bitter almonds always reminded him of the fate of unrequited love.” The novel is broad in scope, focusing on the many different shapes, sizes, and ages of love—but it’s so much more than a love story. Although Gabriel Marquez seems to have an unusual need to explain far too much about the main character’s bodily functions, this is definitely a novel worth reading.
I’ve never read a novel in a language other than English, and not that many that had been translated. I know there are some that I should read, but out of the ones that I actually have, I suppose the one to recommend is 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.
I think the only non-classic novels I’ve read that were originally in a foreign language were a Gundam novelization and a Fullmetal Alchemist tie-in.
I do read a couple authors for whom English is not their first language, though they are written in English. Jo Raven writes good steamy YA romance.
I had trouble with this question. Beyond the Bible, my non English book education is sad. Does non-Southern books count? I didn’t think so. After lots of research I’ve only found a few non-English books. “Like Water for Chocolate” by Laura Esquivel and I loved it. I’ve read a few children’s books, but I’m not sure if they were originally written in English or not. I’ve read “The Reader” by David Kross. The best I can say is, it was very well written, but it really disturbed me. I don’t read many non-English books. I just don’t, or if I have I don’t know it. Gabriel García Márquez is on my TBR list, but that’s all I have. Please send recommendations!
While not examples of novels, I have read Friedrich Durrenmatt’s play The Visit. I’ve also read The Inferno, The Iliad, and The Odyssey (one of my favorites.) All of these were translated versions.
Oops! Linda’s a bit busy this month, but should be back next month!
As far as novels go, I don’t believe I’ve read any from another language. However, I have read some short stories in Japanese (that’s right, not translated). One of them is the famous Momotaro. I do have Homer’s The Iliad and The Odyssey in my to be read list. I’d also like to read some Haruki Murakami and more. One of my challenges is to read a book from every country, most of which would be translated.
How about you?
Have you read any foreign books translated into English or in their original language? Recommend some here!