Women in Translation: The Perfect Nanny by Leila Slimani trans. by Sam Taylor

Millions of women go to work everyday; leaving their children in the care of a nanny or day care center. Leaving your small child in the care of someone else is anxiety inducing. But, what would happen if your in home help, started to run your life. What would you do? Would you worry about the nannies feelings or would you cut bait and run? The Perfect Nanny explores this and so much more.

Synopsis: A nanny does the unthinkable.

What I liked: The way the Slimani structured the book was clever. It started with the ending first and then moved into the story. Slimani pulls you into this story kicking and screaming. The interesting thing about Slimani’s writing is that she is able to provide snippets of the nanny’s life without reveling everything. There are two POVs in the story which are done so very well. As a reader you know who’s POV you are reading.

What I didn’t like: I wanted a bit more in the ending. I wanted to know all the things.

Star Rating: 4 stars

My thoughts: I really loved this book. However, if you have an aversion to child death I would suggest you skip it. It is only in the first page of the book but it would still be distressing for some readers. Slimani’s writing is complex. This is a very quick read but it is a complex read that will make you have all the feels. As you read the story you fall down the rabbit hole of the nanny’s psyche. One question this raised for me was the idea of perfection. What makes someone perfect? Is there something hiding in a perfect person that causes them to snap one day or is there something brewing underneath that cool and calm exterior.

Women in Translation: Body by Asa Nonami trans. by Takami Nieda

I love body horror in any shape or size. It speaks to me on a very visceral level. The idea that you take a bodily function or just something that happens and you can make a horror story about it. You can take it and make something amazing. It amazes me that people can do that. Body is an amazing collection of body horror stories.

Synopsis: Collection of body horror stories.

What I liked: I really enjoyed each of these stories. Each story is unique and deals with a different body horror type story. Her prose is iso sharp and every word feels like it is particularly chosen. Which lends to the brilliance of the original manuscript and the translator. Each story is so unique. There isn’t a bad story in the bunch. I want to shove this book into everyone’s hands. It is so different than many of the other horror books on the market at the moment.

What I didn’t like: That more people aren’t talking about this book.

Star Rating: 5 Stars

My thoughts: I haven’t figured out why I haven’t heard more about this book. Nonami should be on everyone’s radar. There is so many amazing things about these stories that I really loved. The entire collection spoke to me on such a level that I had to read it a second time. This doesn’t happen very often….I want to shove this book in everyone’s hands.

Women in Translation: The Vegetarian by Han Kang trans. by Deborah Smith

The last few years have seen a proliferation of odd fiction and movies and I am here for it. I had watched Braid on recommendation from my friend Emily. As part of Women in Translation month I came across a few reviews for The Vegetarian which sounded like an amazingly odd tale. Can I just say it scratch the odd fiction itch for me.

Synopsis: A woman becomes a vegetarian out of the blue and chaos ensues.

Things I liked: Kang really takes you on a roller coaster of a story. She actually fits three stories into one. I really appreciated how she approached the story of this woman from three different angles and how her choices actually affect her family. What I appreciated was how she spun the vegetarianism as a character in the story. Kang is a fantastic writer and the pacing of the three stories was perfect and really pushed towards the ending.

Things I didn’t like: There is a trope that is used that I am never too keen on being used but I can see why Kang used it.

Star Rating: 3.5 Stars

My Thoughts: I loved the weirdness of the three stories. The first story was amazing. I totally loved it. However, I felt like it was being used as a introduction to the rest of the book. Which was a shame. I did like the idea that Kang used three different stories to look at what was happening to the woman. However, they didn’t really tie together really well. The second story is set some time in the future but you don’t get that information. This is the same with the third story. I just feel like some details where missing.

Women In Translation: Revenge by Yoko Ogawa trans. by Stephen Snyder

Can I just say I am loving Women in translation month. I have heard of Ogawa and have seen Revenge on other people’s TBRs and because it was available at the library I snatched it up. I read this book in one sitting. I would love if everyone would pick up this book and read how the stories are interwoven together.

Synopsis: 11 interrelated short stories.

What I liked: I loved Ogawa’s writing style. It is lyrical and haunting. The stories are interrelated; one thread leading to another thread. Stories discussed within stories. Books discussed within stories. Each story is like a build up. The first couple of stories are simple building up to more complex stories towards the end of the book. The complexity of the stories is what makes the ending of this book intriguing. How Ogawa is able to weave all these stories together. Whether it is a single thread that is mentioned in the next story or a story about a book it is done seamlessly. The pacing of each of the stories are perfect and leaves you wanting more.

What I didn’t like: There wasn’t anything that I didn’t like.

Star Rating: 4.5 stars

My Thoughts: The books I have read this month really highlight why women in translation month is so important. If these books hadn’t been translated I wouldn’t have been able to read them. I would have missed out on these stories. Everyone who has read these would have missed out on these stories. These heartbreaking and hard stories. These stories that were written by women in different parts of the world in different stages of life and work. I want to also thank my wonderful public library for having these books available.

Women in Translation: The End of Days by Jenny Erpenbeck trans. by Susan Bernofsky

When I started my journey into Women in translation month I knew there were going to be some questions that would pop up as I read. I have questions lots of questions. These amazing book is marketed as horror but as I read I would defiantly say it is more speculative fiction but there are truly some real life horror elements in this book. The End of Days also made me think about choices in life and where they take you.

Synopsis: Story of a women’s five lives. How small things can effect a women’s life.

What I liked: I loved this entire book. Erpenbeck is ridiculously talented. She is able to take multiple POVs and multiple story lines and weave them together with such brilliancy. The book is broken up into 5 smaller novellas with explanations between them. The writing is heart breaking at times and infuriating at times. But mostly heart breaking. Each book has real life horror elements woven into the story. Erpenbeck also leads you into a history lesson of sorts.

What I didn’t like: Why it took me so long to find out about this amazing book.

Star Rating: 5 Stars

My Thoughts: This book is the exact reason why we need more translated books. It is beautiful, heartbreaking and scary. I wish I had read this book so much sooner then I had. I want to push this into everyone’s hands and make them read it. After I got done reading it I was wondering why this it is marketed as horror. However, it makes me wonder about what constitutes horror in other countries. Is it just the difference in cultures etc. this one book has made me really curious as to horror in different cultures.

Women In Translation: Things We Lost in The Fire by Mariana Enriquez

August is women in translation month. If by reading my blog you haven’t guessed that I read so many different things. Women authors are a particular passion of mine. Especially, women in horror authors. To know that there are so many stories out there that I haven’t read and authors that I know nothing about makes me feel like I am missing out. In researching an article for the LOHF, I found that we really are missing out on a ridiculous amount of stories.

Synopsis: A collection of short horror stories.

What I liked: I think that each story gives you a small glimpse into some of the political and social unrest in Argentina wrapped in horror stories. The stories aren’t particularly gory. But personally, I think that is more horror in the everyday that is discussed in each of the stories. There is so much to the backstories where the stories are taking place that I was very glad there was information about the landscape in Argentina while the author was growing up.

What I didn’t Like: Some of the stories where a bit too short and I wanted a bit more. It seemed as though they were cut off short and some seemed to run too long without enough meat in the story.

Star Rating: 3.5

My Thoughts: I am going to be changing the way I approach a translated work. I was reading an article about the amount of translated works that are being published in the US. I am approaching this as the content of the story not the translation itself. What I found in reading about translations, there are things that