10 foreign books we should all read

10 foreign books we should all read

Ann Morgan embarked on a quest to read a book from every country in the world over the course of a year, and write a blog about it.

To coincide with her article in today's Independent about her journey, here are 10 foreign books we should all read:

1. Foucault’s Pendulum by Umberto Eco

Translated from Italian by William Weaver

This riff on the paranoia thriller is a joy, blowing The Da Vinci Code sky-high years before Dan Brown could even write it.

2. My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante

Translated from Italian by Ann Goldstein

This and its fellow “Neapolitan” novels mix the pleasures of the family saga with an icily modern take on love and friendship.

3. A Time to Every Purpose Under Heaven by Karl Ove Knausgaard

Translated from Norwegian by James Anderson

Before he wrote his quasi-memoir My Struggle, the writer produced this odd novel about angels and the Bible.

4. Your Face Tomorrow by Javier Marías

Translated from Spanish by Margaret Jull Costa

A huge three-volume novel that tracks its themes of betrayal and the uses of violence back to the Spanish Civil War

5. Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami

Translated from Japanese by Jay Rubin

I prefer his quieter, nostalgic books to his determinedly off-beat novels. This tale of first and lost love is a melancholy charmer.

6. Rituals by Cees Nooteboom

Translated from Dutch by Adrienne Dixon

A novel about three suicides might not seem the cheeriest proposition, but this beautiful, thoughtful book about finding your way in the world is life-affirming.

7. Hotel Iris by Yoko Ogawa

Translated from Japanese by Stephen Snyder

A perverse novel about a young woman who has a sado masochistic affair with an older man. It lingers longer in the mind for its calm other-worldliness.

8. The Year of the Hare by Arto Paasilinna

Translated from Finnish by Herbert Lomas

This starts with a car hitting a hare. One of the passengers nurses the animal, and off they go on a series of wild adventures.

9. Wizard of the Crow by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o

Translated from Gikuyu by the author

A satire on the venality of African politics that rejoices in the power of the oral tradition and in gleefully poking targets.

10. The Chalk Circle Man by Fred Vargas

Translated from French by Siân Reynolds

The most subtle and humane of any of the international detective series.

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