7 European Novels in Translation

By Christy Childers Feb 20, 2015

I’ve always loved to read anything set in Europe. I’ve read stacks of European travel memoirs (Four Seasons in Rome and My Life in France and Paris to the Moon), piles of novels set in Europe (I re-read Betsy and the Great World almost every year) and more than a few big thick European history books. But it’s recently occurred to me that, with the exception of England (I read more books by British writers than anything else, really), I’ve hardly read any novels actually written by European novelists. A whole new section of European reading has opened up to me. So I’ve made myself a list, as a starting point – 7 European novels, in translation, from 7 European authors, from 7 different European countries. I mostly went for somewhat lighter fair… I’m all for big heavy important works in translation, but this list is aiming to land on the easier and happier side of things. (Karl Ove Knausgaard does not appear here, is what I’m saying.)


My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante, translated from the Italian by Ann Goldstein.

If #ferrantefever is any indication, the Neopolitan novels are gripping and impossible to put down. All I really know about these so far is that they are written in Italian, they’re about friendship, and people are raving about them. Oh and also: they are written by a mysterious, reclusive author under the pen name Elena Ferrante and no one really knows who she is. Intriguing.

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