books - mia's fav foreign reads

One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich

The novel that won Alexander Solzhenitsyn the 1970 Nobel Prize in Literature "for the ethical force with which he has pursued the indispensable traditions of Russian literature."

"First published in the Soviet journal Novy Mir in 1962, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich stands as a classic of contemporary literature. The story of labor-camp inmate Ivan Denisovich Shukhov, it graphically describes his struggle to maintain his dignity in the face of communist oppression. An unforgettable portrait of the entire world of Stalin's forced work camps, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich is one of the most extraordinary literary documents to have emerged from the Soviet Union and confirms Solzhenitsyn's stature as 'a literary genius whose talent matches that of Dosotevsky, Turgenev, Tolstoy'.”

Note: This translation by Harry T. Willetts is the one we recommend. This is the original, unexpurgated novel brilliantly translated by someone who worked closely with Solzhenitsyn to fully capture the power and beauty of the original Russian. This is the only English translation authorized by the Russian author. All other translations are censored versions."

View on Amazon (US) | (UK)

The Neapolitan Novels

"'Nothing quite like this has ever been published before,' proclaimed The Guardian about the Neapolitan novels in 2014. Against the backdrop of a Naples that is as seductive as it is perilous and a world undergoing epochal change, Elena Ferrante tells the story of a sixty-year friendship between the brilliant and bookish Elena and the fiery, rebellious Lila with unmatched honesty and brilliance.

The four books in this novel cycle constitute a long, remarkable story, one that Vogue described as 'gutsy and compulsively readable,' which readers will return to again and again, and each return will bring with it new revelations."

Note: The boxed set is only available as a Kindle version. However, these books can be individually purchased as paperbacks.

View on Amazon (US) | (UK) | (Canada)

1Q84

"The year is 1984 and the city is Tokyo. A young woman named Aomame follows a taxi driver’s enigmatic suggestion and begins to notice puzzling discrepancies in the world around her. She has entered, she realizes, a parallel existence, which she calls 1Q84 —'Q is for question mark.’A world that bears a question." Meanwhile, an aspiring writer named Tengo takes on a suspect ghostwriting project. He becomes so wrapped up with the work and its unusual author that his life begins to come unraveled. 

A love story, a mystery, a fantasy, a novel of self-discovery, a dystopia to rival George Orwell’s—1Q84 is Haruki Murakami’s most ambitious undertaking yet: an instant best seller in his native Japan, and a tremendous feat of imagination from one of our most revered contemporary writers.."

View on Amazon (US) | (UK)

One Hundred Years of Solitude

"One of the world's most famous novels, One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, blends the natural with the supernatural in on one of the most magical reading experiences on earth.

It tells the story of the rise and fall, birth and death of the mythical town of Macondo through the history of the Buendia family. Inventive, amusing, magnetic, sad, and alive with unforgettable men and women—brimming with truth, compassion, and a lyrical magic that strikes the soul—this novel is a masterpiece in the art of fiction."

View on Amazon (US) | (UK)

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

"'It did no good to cry, she had learned that early on. She had also learned that every time she tried to make someone aware of something in her life, the situation just got worse. Consequently it was up to her to solve her problems by herself, using whatever methods she deemed necessary.' ― The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Murder mystery, family saga, love story, and financial intrigue combine into one satisfyingly complex and entertainingly atmospheric novel, the first in Stieg Larsson's thrilling Millenium series featuring Lisbeth Salander.

Harriet Vanger, a scion of one of Sweden's wealthiest families disappeared over forty years ago. All these years later, her aged uncle continues to seek the truth. He hires Mikael Blomkvist, a crusading journalist recently trapped by a libel conviction, to investigate. He is aided by the pierced and tattooed punk prodigy Lisbeth Salander. Together they tap into a vein of unfathomable iniquity and astonishing corruption."

View on Amazon (US) | (UK) | (Canada) 

The Complete Stories

"'An important book, valuable in itself and absolutely fascinating. The stories are dreamlike, allegorical, symbolic, parabolic, grotesque, ritualistic, nasty, lucent, extremely personal, ghoulishly detached, exquisitely comic, numinous, and prophetic.' —The New York Times

The Complete Stories brings together all of Kafka’s stories, from the classic tales such as The MetamorphosisIn the Penal Colony, and A Hunger Artist to shorter pieces and fragments that Max Brod, Kafka’s literary executor, released after Kafka’s death. With the exception of his three novels, the whole of Kafka’s narrative work is included in this volume."

View on Amazon (US) | (UK) | (Canada)

The Stranger

"'It was as if that great rush of anger had washed me clean, emptied me of hope, and, gazing up at the dark sky spangled with its signs and stars, for the first time, the first, I laid my heart open to the benign indifference of the universe.

To feel it so like myself, indeed, so brotherly, made me realize that I'd been happy, and that I was happy still. For all to be accomplished, for me to feel less lonely, all that remained to hope was that on the day of my execution there should be a huge crowd of spectators and that they should greet me with howls of execration.' ― Albert Camus, The Stranger

Through the story of an ordinary man unwittingly drawn into a senseless murder on an Algerian beach, Camus explored what he termed 'the nakedness of man faced with the absurd.'"

View on Amazon (US) | (UK) | (Canada)