Think about how many books you hear buzzed about in your literary circles, and how many others might be slipping under your radar. Then think about the number of incredible translated titles trickling into the US market from other countries or those reads that gain popularity abroad, and the additional effort it might take to make sure these cross your path as well. Seem a little overwhelming? Don’t panic! If you want to open your TBR lists to these works, we are here for you. Read on for a list of nine novels spectacular enough to transcend cultures and oceans and reach international acclaim.
This title really hit me hard, especially once I realized it was fiction tackling the climate crisis. I appreciated witnessing the state of the world through the eyes of four very different people from various walks of life, each with their own agendas, hurts, and mistakes. Discovering how each of the four was connected—Didrik, a father shepherding his family away from wildfires, including his teenage daughter Vilja; Melissa, a social media influencer tucked away in a luxury building; André, the son of an esteemed tennis star—added an extra level of intrigue and expectation, delivering sets of typical interpersonal relationships and circumstances that didn’t vanish simply because the land around them was crumbling.
Life goes on in the face of a climate crisis in this astonishing and unforgettable debut novel that follows four characters as they struggle to survive in a burning world.
Even when the climate crisis escalates beyond our worst nightmares and people become refugees, the world keeps turning and life carries on as usual: teenaged love stories, marital collapses, identity crises, and revolts against hopeless parents continue to play out.
Didrik is a forty-year-old media consultant whose misguided efforts to become the family hero render him a pathetic vision of masculine incompetence. Melissa is an influencer with a suitcase full of lost dreams after denying climate change for years. André is the nineteen-year-old loser son of an international sports star who uses the erupting violence around him to orchestrate his own personal vengeance on his negligent father. And Vilja is Didrik’s teenaged daughter who steps into a leadership role in the face of adult ineptitude.
“Simultaneously nerve-wracking, astute, and consumedly entertaining” (Sydsvenskan, Sweden) and through these four related stories, Even If Everything Ends eloquently illustrates a picture of a very near future that is at once extraordinary and entirely realistic.
I can’t say that I’ve read anything set in a remote Armenian mountain village before, and I was excited to dig into such an interesting backdrop. A journey of unlikely romance and surprises begins when Anatolia is sure she will die; of course, expectations for an organized end don’t always result in said death (these things can’t be planned!), and so Anatolia must move on and the story must unfold. In this novel told in three parts, we learn the intricate stories of families and a small town, with a very memorable cast of characters.
An unforgettable story of friendship and feuds in a remote Armenian mountain village
In an isolated village high in the Armenian mountains, a close-knit community bickers, gossips and laughs. Their only connection to the outside world is an ancient telegraph wire and a perilous mountain road that even goats struggle to navigate.
As they go about their daily lives – harvesting crops, making baklava, tidying houses – the villagers sustain one another through good times and bad. But sometimes all it takes is a spark of romance to turn life on its head, and a plot to bring two of Maran's most stubbornly single residents together soon gives the village something new to gossip about...
Three Apples Fell from the Sky is an enchanting fable that brilliantly captures the idiosyncrasy of a small community. Sparkling with sumptuous imagery and warm humour, this is a vibrant tale of resilience, bravery and the miracle of everyday friendship.
Winner of the 2022 International Booker Prize, this story of love, loss, perseverance, and a magical cane in northern India is a special one. It begins with eighty-year-old Ma deeply grieving the loss of her husband, and a grandson uncharacteristically offering a sparkling, seemingly magical cane that changes everything. The cane is Ma’s ticket to a new path—filled with new friendships, a journey to Pakistan, surprising acts of understanding—that becomes a work of experimental fiction with memorable twists and turns.
Two women, two decades, and three locales in a novel inspired by Greek mythology? There’s so much going on here in the best, most full-bodied way. Characters feel conflicted and real, captivated by love, risking the lives they know for ones that could bring them greater happiness. Seventeen-year-old Calista is suddenly a wife leaving Dublin for Cyprus, and Pilar meets a promising man in her new home of Madrid; yet relationships are not always what they first appear to be, and the novel’s explosive opening that pulls back to show how events unfolded is a gripping literary device.
Acclaimed international bestseller Catherine Dunne’s thrilling US debut is the story of two wronged women bent on revenge at all costs, and “a page-turner that’s both poignant and satisfying” (Booklist).
Revenge is sweeter than regret…
Dublin. Calista is young, beautiful, and headstrong. When she falls in love with the charming, older Alexandros and moves to his native Cyprus, she could never imagine that her whirlwind courtship would lead to a dark and violent marriage. But Calista learns to survive. She knows she will find peace when she can finally seek retribution.
Madrid. Pilar grew up with very little means in rural Spain and finally escaped to a new life. Determined to leave poverty behind her, she plunges into a life of working hard and saving money. Enchanted by an older man, Pilar revels in their romance, her freedom, and accruing success. She’s on the road to achieving her dreams. Yet there is one thing that she is still searching for, the one thing she knows will make her truly happy.
Sweeping across the lush European backdrops of Spain, Greece, and Ireland, The Years That Followed is a gripping, modern telling of a classic story. As two wronged women plot for revenge, their intricately crafted schemes send shockwaves through their families that will echo for many generations to come.
Step back and admire that cover for a minute and think about how it makes you feel. To me, it’s atmospheric and provocative, and indicates an immersive read. Thankfully, I wasn’t wrong in my expectations. This somewhat gruesome yet boldly insistent tale (a mutilated body, mysterious circumstances, 1793 Stockholm!) follows Mickel Cardell, an ex-soldier and former night watchman, and Cecil Winge, an impressive lawyer who now consults with the Stockholm police—and, of course, a young woman who just might end up being pegged as the next intended victim.
If you find yourself going through a rough patch, you’ll easily relate to the three women featured in this novel. Sarah’s diagnosis is scary for her children and a sudden barrier to her progress as the sole female partner at her law firm; Giulia deals with family tragedy and financial burdens; Smita must run from her village to give her daughter a better life. From Canada to Italy to India, these strong women remain resilient and courageous, and can inspire the confidence needed to keep pushing on.
A very visual representation of complicated families, AN ATLAS OF IMPOSSIBLE LONGING invents a home swimming in solitude, with people confined to specific spaces. The matriarch is upstairs, her husband in the garden; the widowed father wrestles with unexpected feelings; his daughter, Bakul, takes up with adopted orphan Mukunda. Time causes more camaraderie for some, more anger for others, and Bakul and Mukunda are split apart. But how far from Bengal is Calcutta, really, when love is at stake? Beautiful writing and the unexpected switch from third-person narrative to first helped make this a stand-out novel for me.
There is something so compelling and jarring about settling in with a series of short stories—beginning to get lost in a set of characters only to jump to a new scene with an entirely separate plot, getting to meet more people and experience different writing styles and perspectives—and this balance aligns itself so well with the tone of Enriquez’s collection. One story tells about a curse and a family shutting themselves into their home as their neighborhood begins to unravel; another follows missing children and the creepy outcome of an investigation. Great choice for a book club, as there is much to discuss!
Set in Haiti, MOONBATH is an incredibly thoughtful and complex novel, offering political and social commentary in the form of a four-generational story narrated largely by a collective female voice. Young girls fall for rich men, brutal regimes turn their sights on innocent victims, a ghost of a murdered family member offers candid insights. The novel can feel heavy at times, but the landscape it explores is of vital importance, the characters introduced with powerful stories to tell.
Photo credit: iStock / Trifonov_Evgeniy