The OF Blog: Best of 2014: Foreign Language Releases

Monday, December 29, 2014

Best of 2014: Foreign Language Releases

I read 18 books this year that were published in a language other than English.  The majority of these were nominated for prestigious national awards such as the Premio Strega, Premio Alfaguara, Prix Médicis, and the Prix Goncourt.  Others were SF anthologies published in Spanish and Portuguese.  Overall, it was a very strong group of books read and while only five are listed below, the others are not far behind in terms of quality.

5.  Hedwige Jeanmart, Blanès

Nominated for the Prix Médicis, this tale of disappearance that evokes Roberto Bolaño's life in the town and his novel The Savage Detectives is excellently executed.

4.  Jorge Franco, El mundo de afuera

Winner of the 2014 Premio Alfaguara, this tale based on a 1971 Medellin kidnapping is a slow-building yet thrilling read.

3.   Claudie Hunzinger, La langue des oiseaux

Finalist for the 2014 Prix Médicis, this tale reflects upon the nature of and uses of language to construct meaning for one's life.  Beautifully written.

2.  Antoine Volodine, Terminus radieux 

Winner of the 2014 Prix Médicis, this post-apocalyptic tale set in Siberia might be the best post-apocalyptic/collapse novel that I've read this year in any language.

1.  Lydie Salvayre, Pas pleurer

Winner of the 2014 Prix Goncourt, this novel mixes personal recollection of the author's mother's experiences during the Spanish Civil War with the change in French writer George Bernanos's views on the war to create a powerful story of loss and suffering in the midst of a cruel and devastating war.

No comments:

Add to Technorati Favorites