It’s been a while since I’ve done a TBR post as I’ve been mainly focusing on blog tours of late, some of which have been a little last minute, however I wanted to try and step back from that a little to avoid getting burned out. So, I was thrilled when I found out that August is Women in Translation month, as I have many books that have been starting from me from my physical shelves and my kindle ones for quite some time and I’m very excited to finally pick them up! My TBR for this month is a little ambitious, and I know I might not read all of them, but I also wanted to make this post to help out anyone who wants to broaden their reading!
(ARC) The Woman in the Purple Skirt by Natsuko Imamura
The Woman in the Purple Skirt is being watched. Someone is following her, always perched just out of sight, monitoring which buses she takes; what she eats; whom she speaks to. But this invisible observer isn’t a stalker – it’s much more complicated than that.
(ARC) I’m Waiting for You by Kim Bo-Young
Two worlds, four stories, infinite possibilities
In this mind-expanding work of speculative fiction, available in English for the first time, one of South Korea’s most treasured writers explores the driving forces of humanity—love, hope, creation, destruction, and the very meaning of existence—in two pairs of thematically interconnected stories.
In “I’m Waiting for You” and “On My Way,” an engaged couple coordinate their separate missions to distant corners of the galaxy to ensure—through relativity—they can arrive back on Earth simultaneously to make it down the aisle. But small incidents wreak havoc on space and time, driving their wedding date further away. As centuries on Earth pass and the land and climate change, one thing is constant: the desire of the lovers to be together. In two separate yet linked stories, Kim Bo-Young cleverly demonstrate the idea love that is timeless and hope springs eternal, despite seemingly insurmountable challenges and the deepest despair.
In “The Prophet of Corruption” and “That One Life,” humanity is viewed through the eyes of its creators: godlike beings for which everything on Earth—from the richest woman to a speck of dirt—is an extension of their will. When one of the creations questions the righteousness of this arrangement, it is deemed a perversion—a disease—that must be excised and cured. Yet the Prophet Naban, whose “child” is rebelling, isn’t sure the rebellion is bad. What if that which is considered criminal is instead the natural order—and those who condemn it corrupt? Exploring the dichotomy between the philosophical and the corporeal, Kim ponders the fate of free-will, as she considers the most basic of questions: who am I?
(ARC) Odin’s Child by Siri Pettersen
15-year-old Hirka has always been an outsider in the world of Ym: she’s the only person without a tail, and the only one unable to access the Might, a current of power that runs through the earth.
Her differences become more and more of a concern as the date approaches for the Rite—the ceremony where everyone is to be blessed by the all-knowing Seer and the Council of powerful families who rule in His name. With only a few weeks until the Rite, Hirka discovers the shocking secret behind why she is tailless and Mightless: she is not from this world. As an infant, she was brought through an ancient stone circle known as a Raven Ring, and as long as she’s in Ym, the passageway between worlds remains open inviting terrifying creatures called the blind to follow.
No one can know the truth of Hirka’s identity, especially not Rime, her childhood friend who just might become something more. But is Rime is hiding secrets of his own?
The first in a trilogy, Odin’s Child is a thrilling modern fantasy epic.
At the End of the Matinee by Keiichiro Hirano
Classical guitarist Satoshi Makino has toured the world and is at the height of his career when he first lays eyes on journalist Yoko Komine. Their bond forms instantly.
Upon their first meeting, after Makino’s concert in Tokyo, they begin a conversation that will go on for years, with long spells of silence broken by powerful moments of connection. She’s drawn by Makino’s tender music and his sensitivity, and he is intrigued by Yoko’s refinement and intellect. But neither knows enough about love to see it blooming nor has the confidence to make the first move. Will their connection endure, weaving them back together like instruments in a symphony, or will fate lead them apart?
The Beast Warrior by Nahoko Uehashi
A companion to The Beast Player, this is the conclusion of an epic YA fantasy about a girl with a special power to communicate with magical beasts and the warring kingdom only she can save.
Ten years after the fateful clash between two opposing sides of the Divine Kingdom of Lyoza, Elin lives a peaceful life with her family. She tries to stay as far away from her past as possible—the girl who communicated with creatures and befriended a Royal Beast wants no part in the power struggles of humans. But when Elin is called upon to investigate a mysterious illness that’s stricken the Toda, she uncovers a startling plot—one that could threaten everything she holds dear.
In this thrilling sequel to The Beast Player, Elin must confront her destiny and the dire warnings of history. Is a final battle between the Toda and the Royal Beasts inevitable? Or will it mean destruction for all?
Bødy by Asa Nonami
As indicated by the title, Bødy is a collection of horror stories, all thematically linked to people’s perception of their bodies, and the consequences of vanity and low self-esteem. In the vein of the psychological suspense of the Twilight Zone, each story ends with a shock, leaving the reader unsettled with the old adage, “Be careful what you wish for,” echoing in their bones.
Appropriately, each of the five stories in Bødy gets its title from the body parts featured, buttocks, blood, face, hair and chin.
The Dangers of Smoking in Bed by Mariana Enriquez
Welcome to Buenos Aires, a city thrumming with murderous intentions and morbid desires, where missing children come back from the dead and unearthed bones carry terrible curses. These brilliant, unsettling tales of revenge, witchcraft, fetishes, disappearances and urban madness spill over with women and girls whose dark inclinations will lead them over the edge.
The Little House by Kyoko Nakajima
The Little House is set in the early years of the Showa era (1926-89), when Japan’s situation is becoming increasingly tense but has not yet fully immersed in a wartime footing. On the outskirts of Tokyo, near a station on a private train line, stands a modest European style house with a red, triangular shaped roof. There a woman named Taki has worked as a maidservant in the house and lived with its owners, the Hirai family. Now, near the end of her life, Taki is writing down in a notebook her nostalgic memories of the time spent living in the house. Her journal captures the refined middle-class life of the time from her gentle perspective. At the end of the novel, however, a startling final chapter is added. The chapter brings to light, after Taki’s death, a fact not described in her notebook. This suddenly transforms the world that had been viewed through the lens of a nostalgic memoir, so that a dramatic, flesh-and-blood story takes shape.
Nakajima manages to combine skillful dialogue with a dazzling ending. The result is a polished, masterful work fully deserving of the Naoki Prize.
Killing Kanoko / Wild Grass on the Riverbank by Hiromi Ito
A landmark dual collection by Ito Hiromi, one of the most important contemporary Japanese poets, in a “generous and beautifully rendered” translation by Jeffrey Angles.
Now widely taught as a feminist classic, Killing Kanoko is a defiantly autobiographical exploration of sexuality, community, and postpartum depression, featuring some of Ito’s most famous poems.
Set simultaneously in the California desert and Japan, Wild Grass on the Riverbank focuses on migration, nature, and movement. At once grotesque and vertiginous, this later collection interweaves mythologies, language, sexuality and place into a genre-busting narrative of what it is to be a migrant.
There Once Lived a Mother Who Loved Her Children, Until They Moved Back In by Ludmilla Petrushevskaya
‘Love them they’ll torture you; don’t love them they’ll leave you anyway’
In these three darkly imagined novellas of family life, both cruelty and love dominate relationships between husband and wife, mother and child. Here an ageing poet exploited by her own children struggles for survival; a young nurse fears murder at the hands of her brutal husband. A devoted mother commits a terrible crime against her own son in order to save him. Blending horror with satire, fantasy with haunting truth, Ludmilla Petrushevskaya’s newly translated tales create a cast of unlikely heroines in a carnivalesque world of extremes.
What’s on your TBR this month? Are you taking part in Women in Translation month? Let me know what you’re reading!