Take a step into the world of books in translation, with influential women authors from Asia showcasing their talent and expertise through award-winning and thought-provoking works.
Have you ever wondered why the Indian subcontinent was split into India and Pakistan or the reasons behind the partition of Indian and Pakistan identity? Follow four recurring characters over the course of two and a half millennia of Indian history, as Indian Urdu novelist Qurrantulain Hyder takes us through the nationalist and religious upheavals that created the two nation-states as we know it today in her magnus opus, River of Fire. Praised as one of the most outstanding and influential writers of Urdu literature, Hyder weaves together letters, chronicles, parables, and journals to form a rich tapestry of history and human emotion, centralizing the Partition as the core of modern identity in the Indian subcontinent.
If you’re in the mood for abstract, surreal, and unconventional writing, avant-garde fiction writer Can Xue is the author for you. Described as “China’s most prominent author of experimental fiction,” Xue’s novel, The Last Lover, takes readers on a dizzying journey that follows a cast of six characters in a philosophical exploration of love and existence. From businessmen to plantation farmers, mistresses to housewives, street sweepers to insomniacs, Xue meshes reality and fantasy into a hallucinatory mix as each character chases and evades each other in a trip through the depths of human psyche and desire.
Imagine yourself unable to return to your homeland, bereft and forever cut off from the country that you once called your own. That is the reality that Leila Chudori creates in her debut novel Home, a tale that describes the lives of Indonesians in exile during Suharto’s regime (1965-1998) as they carve out new lives for themselves in Paris. Spanning two generations of political exiles, Home brings the search for identity into the forefront, delving into the struggles of finding and maintaining a connection to a beloved country that would crush its own citizens, while lightening the atmosphere with moments of laughter, love, adventure, and delicious Indonesian food.
Between comfortable stagnation and societal conformity, which would you rather choose? Japanese writer Sayaka Murata explores that choice in Convenience Store Woman, with a charming and quirky female lead who is happily situated as a convenience store worker – for the past 18 years! Winner of Japan’s most sought after literary award, the Akutagawa Prize, Murata spins a tale of contemporary work culture and pressures to conform, all within a unique perspective that points out the oddities of “normality” in a conformist society.
“It takes a village to raise a child” – literally, in the case of five-year-old Kampol, the main character of Duanwad Pimwana’s Bright. Abandoned by his father in the middle of a tenement neighborhood, the young boy grows into his new life of independence through fun adventures, naive compassion and small moments of kindness from his neighbors, slowly coming to terms with the fact that his parents will never come back for him. Told in a series of short stories, Bright balances between lighthearted storytelling and the hard truths of Kampol’s circumstances, creating a devastatingly beautiful reading experience that explores life in an urban-fringe community in Thailand.