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Belletrista - A site promoting translated women authored literature from around the world

New & Notable
Whether you are a seasoned reader of international literature or a reader just venturing out beyond your own literary shores, we know you will find our New and Notable section a book browser's paradise! Reading literature from around the world has a way of opening up one's perspective to create as vast a world within us as there is without. Here are more than 80 new or notable books we hope will bring the world to you. Remember—depending on what country you are shopping in, these books might be sold under slightly different titles or ISBNs, in different formats or with different covers; or be published in different months. However, the author's name is always likely to be the same!


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Alicia Yánez Cossío
Translated from the Spanish by Amalia Gladhart

"Alicia Yánez Cossío is known for turning upside down history and long-standing traditions that have devalued large sectors of society. Through satire, parody, and fantasy, Yánez Cossío takes her readers to new horizons that generally lie beyond one's routine expectations and perceptions of the past and present. Such is the case with Beyond the Islands, a short novel immersed in the enchanted world of the Galápagos where time and space flow freely and unbridled, much like the prose fiction of Alicia Yánez Cossío." —Michael Handelsman, Ph.D.

Univ. of New Orleans, paperback, 9787608010431

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Ana Menéndez

In this follow-up to her beloved, prize-winning debut, In Cuba I Was a German Shepherd, Ana Menéndez delivers a liberating, magical, and modern take on the idea of migration and flight.

Adiós, Happy Homeland! is a wildly innovative collection of interlinked tales that challenge our preconceptions of storytelling. This critical look at the life of the Cuban writer pulls apart and reassembles the myths that have come to define her culture, blending illusion with reality and exploring themes of art, family, language, superstition, and the overwhelming need to escape—from the island, from memory, from stereotype, and, ultimately, from the self. We're taken into a sick man's fever dream as he waits for a train beneath a strange night sky, into a community of parachute makers facing the end in a windy town that no longer exists, and onto a Cuban beach where the body of a boy last seen on a boat bound for America turns out to be a giant jellyfish. Menéndez puts a contemporary twist on the troubled history of Cuba and offers a wry and poignant perspective on the conundrum of cultural displacement. Smart, accessible, and literary, it is a captivating portrayal of how stories are translated, (mis)interpreted, and shaped across time and traditions.

Read our review in this issue.

Black Cat, paperback, 9780802170842

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Claudia Piñeiro
Translated from the Spanish by Miranda France

Inés is conviced that every wife is bound to be betrayed one day, so she is not surprised to find a note in her husband Ernesto's briefcase with a heart smeared in lipstick crossed by the words All Yours. Following him to a park in Buenos Aires on a rainy winter evening, she witnesses a violent quarrel between her husband and another woman. The woman collapses; Ernesto sinks her body in a nearby lake.When Ernesto becomes a suspect in the case Inés provides him with an alibi. After all, hatred can bring people together as urgently as love. But Ernesto cannot bring his sexual adventures to an end, so Inés concocts a plan for revenge from which there is no return.

Claudia Piñeiro was a journalist, playwright and television scriptwriter and in 1992 won the prestigious Pléyawed journalism award. She has more recently turned to fiction and is the author of literary crime novels that are all bestsellers in Latin America and have been translated into four languages.

Bitter Lemon Press, paperback, 9781904738800 (UK: August. US: Jan 2012)

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Kapka Kassabova

As Ute and her husband Jerry travel to a remote area on the west coast of South America, they decide to visit a recently established eco-retreat called Villa Pacifica. The resort, run by a group of eccentric expatriates, offers a luxuriant refuge—in the middle of an arid and poverty-stricken region— to an exotic menagerie of large cats, monkeys, giant turtles and birds of paradise which have been rescued from traffickers.

When a huge storm descends on the coast, travelers and locals are left to fend for themselves. The hot-house world that teems below the surface of Villa Pacifica rises to engulf everyone. Madness begins to take hold, and everybody starts questioning themselves and their own sanity. Brilliantly written, hauntingly atmospheric, Villa Pacifica, Kapka Kassabova's stunning new novel, will leave a lasting impression in the minds of its readers.

Kapka Kassabova was born in Bulgaria in 1973 and learned to speak English at the age of sixteen, when her parents emigrated to England and later to New Zealand. She now lives in Edinburgh, and is the author of two novels, four poetry collections and two travel guides.

Alma Books, paperback, 9781846881510 (August)

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Doris Meyer

The "first lady of Argentine letters," Victoria Ocampo is best known as the architect of cultural bridges between the American and European continents and as the founder and director of Sur, an influential South American literary review and publishing house.

In this first biographical study in English of "la superbe Argentine," originally published in 1979, Doris Meyer considers Victoria Ocampo's role in introducing European and North American writers and artists to the South American public—through the pages of her review, through translations of their work, and through lecture tours and recitations. She examines Ocampo's personal relationships with some of the most illustrious writers and thinkers of this century—including José Ortega y Gasset, Rabindranath Tagore, Count Hermann Keyserling, Virginia Woolf, Adrienne Monnier, Vita Sackville-West, Gabriela Mistral, and many others. And she portrays an extraordinary woman who rebelled against the strictures of family and social class to become a leading personality in the fight for women's rights in Argentina and, later, a steadfast opponent of the Perón regime, for which she was sent to jail in 1953.

Fifteen of Victoria Ocampo's essays, selected from her more than ten volumes of prose and translated by Doris Meyer, complement the biographical study.

Univ. of Texas Press, paperback, 9780292787100

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Esmeralda Santiago

As a young girl growing up in Spain, Ana Larragoity Cubillas is powerfully drawn to Puerto Rico by the diaries of an ancestor who traveled there with Ponce de León. And in handsome twin brothers Ramón and Inocente—both in love with Ana—she finds a way to get there. She marries Ramón, and in 1844, just eighteen, she travels across the ocean to a remote sugar plantation the brothers have inherited on the island.

Ana faces unrelenting heat, disease and isolation, and the dangers of the untamed countryside even as she relishes the challenge of running Hacienda los Gemelos. But when the Civil War breaks out in the United States, Ana finds her livelihood, and perhaps even her life, threatened by the very people on whose backs her wealth has been built: the hacienda's slaves, whose richly drawn stories unfold alongside her own. And when at last Ana falls for a man who may be her destiny—a once-forbidden love—she will sacrifice nearly everything to keep hold of the land that has become her true home.

Esmeralda Santiago is the author of the memoirs When I Was Puerto Rican, Almost a Woman, which she adapted into a Peabody Award-winning film for PBS's "Masterpiece Theatre", and The Turkish Lover; the novel América's Dream; and a children's book. Born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, she lives in New York.

Knopf, hardcover, 9780307268327 (July)

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Inés María Martiatu
Translated from the Spanish by Emmanuel Harris II

Appearing for the first time outside of Cuba when it was published in 2009, this bold collection of short stories provides an intimate and critical view of Afro-Cuba. Inés María Martiatu's stories—presented here in the original Spanish, with facing-page English translations—span postcolonial Cuba of the early twentieth century, the First Republic, the "victorious revolution," and contemporary life in the streets of Havana. Taking real risks as an Afro-Cubana, Martiatu confronts conflicts about identity, race, marginalization, and discrimination.

The history of the Caribbean, as part of the African diaspora, is reflected in the textures of life in Cuba, its music, rituals and myths, the Church and Santería, past and present. While race is unquestionably fundamental to the stories, they are at the same time rooted in the universality of the human experience. The vantage is that of an unflinching, yet compassionate observer of society—one who simultaneously turns an introspective mirror on the complicated layers of self.

Inés María Martiatu is a writer, theater critic, and cultural historian. Her other published works include Rite as Representation. Caribbean Ritual Theatre, and Something Good and Interesting. She lives in Havana.

Swan Isle Press, hardcover, 978097888156

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Christine Redfern, Illustrated by Caro Caron

Who Is Ana Mendieta? is a cultural biography of a Cuban American feminist artist working on the cusp of rebellion and regression. Jackson Pollack careens into a tree, killing his lover and himself; Frida Kahlo begins to be received as a significant painter, not only the muse of Diego Rivera; William Burroughs plays William Tell with an apple on his wife's head; Carolee Schneemann pulls a feminist screed out of her vagina and reads it aloud at a performance; Valerie Solanas shoots Andy Warhol. Ana Mendieta, whose bold work about the female body and violence was changing the course of art history, "went out the window" of the New York City apartment she shared with her husband, sculptor Carl Andre, at the height of her career. Andre was tried and acquitted of her murder, and the legacy of Mendieta has been shrouded ever since.

"Ana's death is one of millions that, despite four decades of feminist struggle, remain underestimated—social crimes that have yet to be fully confronted…. The very directness of the graphic novella is an ideal vehicle for the outrage women feel about the extent of domestic and general violence against us. May there be many more visual outcries like this one, to avenge the loss of women like Ana Mendieta."—Lucy Lippard, from the introduction.

The Feminist Press, hardcover, 9781558617032