Anne Bonny Top 5 #TranslatedLit picks from the TBR pile #KeigoHigashino @AbacusBooks #TetsuyaHonda @TitanBooks #UnSuKim @4thEstateBooks #SørenSveistrup @MichaelJBooks #StinaJackson @CorvusBooks #Japan #Korea #Sweden #Copenhagen #Denmark

***My top 5 picks from my TBR pile, either translated literature or originally written in another language. In no particular order***

devotion of suspect x
The Devotion Of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino
Available in PB/Ebook/Audible
Synopsis ~

Yasuko lives a quiet life, working in a Tokyo bento shop, a good mother to her only child. But when her ex-husband appears at her door without warning one day, her comfortable world is shattered.

When Detective Kusanagi of the Tokyo Police tries to piece together the events of that day, he finds himself confronted by the most puzzling, mysterious circumstances he has ever investigated. Nothing quite makes sense, and it will take a genius to understand the genius behind this particular crime…

One of the biggest-selling Japanese thrillers ever, and the inspiration for a cult film, The Devotion of Suspect X is now being discovered across the world. Its blend of a page-turning story, evocative Tokyo setting and utterly surprising ending make it a must-read for anyone interested in international fiction.

the silent dead
The Silent Dead by Tetsuya Honda ~ Reiko Himekawa #1
Available in PB/Ebook/Audible
Synopsis ~

When a mutilated body wrapped in a blue tarpaulin is found in a quiet neighbourhood, Lieutenant Reiko Himekawa and her squad are assigned the case. As the youngest female detective in the Homicide Division, Reiko has a lot to prove, but she has an undeniable ability to solve crimes. When she uncovers more murders with the same signature, she knows there is a serial killer at work. What is Strawberry Night, the dark web group that links all the victims? And how long will Reiko survive, now the killer knows her name?

the plotters
The Plotters by Un-Su Kim
Available in HB/Ebook/Audible/PB
Synopsis ~

Plotters are just pawns like us. A request comes in and they draw up the plans. There’s someone above them who tells them what to do. And above that person is another plotter telling them what to do. You think that if you go up there with a knife and stab the person at the very top, that’ll fix everything. But no-one’s there. It’s just an empty chair.

Reseng was raised by cantankerous Old Raccoon in the Library of Dogs. To anyone asking, it’s just an ordinary library. To anyone in the know, it’s a hub for Seoul’s organised crime, and a place where contract killings are plotted and planned. So it’s no surprise that Reseng has grown up to become one of the best hitmen in Seoul. He takes orders from the plotters, carries out his grim duties, and comforts himself afterwards with copious quantities of beer and his two cats, Desk and Lampshade.

But after he takes pity on a target and lets her die how she chooses, he finds his every move is being watched. Is he finally about to fall victim to his own game? And why does that new female librarian at the library act so strangely? Is he looking for his enemies in all the wrong places? Could he be at the centre of a plot bigger than anything he’s ever known?

the chestnut man
The Chestnut Man by Soren Sveistrup
Translated by Caroline Waight
Available in HB/Ebook/Audible/PB
Synopsis ~

One blustery October morning in a quiet Copenhagen suburb, the police make a terrible discovery. A young woman is found brutally murdered with one of her hands missing. Above her hangs a small doll made of chestnuts.

Ambitious young detective Naia Thulin is assigned the case. Her partner, Mark Hess, is a burned-out investigator who’s just been kicked out of Europol. They soon discover a mysterious piece of evidence on the chestnut man – evidence connecting it to a girl who went missing a year earlier and is presumed dead; the daughter of politician Rosa Hartung. But the man who confessed to her murder is already behind bars and the case long since closed.

Soon afterwards, a second woman is found murdered, along with another chestnut man. Thulin and Hess suspect that there’s a connection between the Hartung case and the murdered women. But what is it?

Thulin and Hess are racing against the clock, because it’s clear that the killer is on a mission that is far from over . . .

the silver road
The Silver Road by Stina Jackson
Translated by Susan Beard
Available in HB/Ebook/Audible/PB
Synopsis ~

Three years ago, Lelle’s daughter went missing in a remote part of Northern Sweden. Lelle has spent the intervening summers driving the Silver Road under the midnight sun, frantically searching for his lost daughter, for himself and for redemption.

Meanwhile, seventeen-year-old Meja arrives in town hoping for a fresh start. She is the same age as Lelle’s daughter was – a girl on the brink of adulthood. But for Meja, there are dangers to be found in this isolated place.

As autumn’s darkness slowly creeps in, Lelle and Meja’s lives are intertwined in ways, both haunting and tragic, that they could never have imagined.

Anne Bonny #BookReview Black Sugar by Miguel Bonnefoy #NewRelease #LiteraryFiction @BelgraviaB Escape to #Venezuela and get lost amongst the stories of #Pirates. 5*

Black Sugar by Miguel Bonnefoy
Translated by Emily Boyce


Miguel Bonnefoy’s colourful tale of a family’s changing fortunes is also the fascinating story of Venezuela’s development over the course of the 20th century.

On the edge of the Latin American rainforest, the Oteros family farm sugar cane in their remote corner of the earth.

Cut off entirely from the modern world, life is peaceful, uneventful. Until, that is, a succession of ships arrive in search of Henry Morgan’s legendary lost treasure, said to be buried deep beneath the forest floor.

Soon, the isolated villagers are exposed to all the trappings of modernity, while the travellers’ search for booty unearths more than anybody could have anticipated…

And so it was that the treasure lay buried amid scraps of sail and a pirate’s corpse, preserved within the belly of the Caribbean…

My Review:

I think I have said it a few times on my blog, that I LOVE pirates. Treasure Island was my favourite childhood novel, and this ultimately led to the name I gave my blog. Anne Bonny was a real life female pirate, she was feisty, cunning and outwitted them all! Love her! When I was asked to review Black Sugar, I couldn’t type yes quick enough!
So here it is, me hearties……

‘In a hanged man’s home there’s no talk of ropes’

The novel opens with a scene from three centuries previously. When Pirates ran the seas and Captain Henry Morgan was at the height of his piracy success. But as we read on, we learn that treasure and happiness, don’t always go hand in hand.

‘Amid the stench of misery, hunger, rotten meat and inedible biscuit, a treasure trove languished beneath the muddy planks like an angel at the bottom of a pigsty’

Captain Henry Morgan is facing mutiny across his crew. They are starving to the point of a revolt. Battered by a storm, the crew needs guidance. What they have, is a captain obsessed with his own loot. They begin to hunt and even enjoy a barbequed sloth. But the inevitable draws near and they need to clear the ship. Which means separating the captain and his treasure…..

‘The treasure lay buried amid scraps of soil and a pirate’s corpse, preserved within the belly of the Caribbean’

Three centuries later. . .
In a village built where a pirate’s boat disappeared, live the Otero family. The father Ezequiel, mother Candeloria and young daughter Serena. The family live in a community where rum, bananas and sugar cane are farmed. The young daughter Serena is a solitary girl, often spotted observing others. She becomes quite intrigued by the local medium Dr Esmeralda Cadenas. Even going as far to create her own pseudonym of Maria Dolores. Her obsessions with spirituality fizzles out and then one day a young man arrives….
Severo Bracamonte a strange young traveller, gains the families curiosity when he speaks of pirate’s treasure. Promising a share in the loot, for board, he immediately gains Serena’s parents trust.

‘The advantage to being poor, is you can only get richer’

Serena on the other hand, is far from impressed. She finds the man to be rather ugly and lacking in intelligence. She is not easily fooled by any man.

‘It takes more than talent to find treasure’ – Serena

Severo begins his quest by scouring maps, details of expeditions and piracy legends. Months later, he has found nothing but the marble statue of Diana the hunter. But combining his knowledge with Serena’s knowledge of botany, the pair grow close.
The relationship blooms and the man who once declared ‘He didn’t want to be loved; he wanted to be rich’ Has a new desire. A desire to start a family, over a desire to hunt for treasure. However, for the two young treasure hunters….

‘Even in love, you can’t have everything’

The novel is essentially the love story of Serena and Severo. The trials and tribulations, they face and their deep love for one another. But as with all good pirate stories, the desire for treasure remains. Only the desire of Captain Morgan’s treasure will span centuries and generations.

The writing is simply beautiful. If I wasn’t already obsessed with all things pirate, this could easily sway me! I have noted many clever little descriptive quotes. But to include them all, would create spoilers. The author has written female characters incredibly well and this novel is the perfect escapism.

The novel is short, at just 207 pages. But there is much room for debates and discussion. Especially around the theme of, the love/desire for wealth corrupting individuals. I think that would make this an excellent choice for book clubs.

Escape to Venezuela and get lost amongst the stories of pirates. 5*

Miguel Bonnefoy

#BlogTour #GuestPost Novels in translation #BlueNight by @ohneKlippo Simone Buchholz #Krimi Translated by @FwdTranslations Rachel Ward @OrendaBooks #NewRelease #CrimeFiction

Blue Night by Simone Buchholz
Translated by Rachel Ward

After convicting a superior for corruption and shooting off a gangster’s crown jewels, the career of Hamburg’s most hard-bitten state prosecutor, Chastity Riley, has taken a nose dive: she has been transferred to the tedium of witness protection to prevent her making any more trouble. However, when she is assigned to the case of an anonymous man lying under police guard in hospital – almost every bone in his body broken, a finger cut off, and refusing to speak in anything other than riddles – Chastity’s instinct for the big, exciting case kicks in. Using all her powers of persuasion, she soon gains her charge’s confidence, and finds herself on the trail to Leipzig, a new ally, and a whole heap of lethal synthetic drugs. When she discovers that a friend and former colleague is trying to bring down Hamburg’s Albanian mafia kingpin single-handedly, it looks like Chas Riley’s dull life on witness protection really has been short-lived… Fresh, fiendishly fast-paced and full of devious twists and all the hard-boiled poetry and acerbic wit of the best noir, Blue Night marks the stunning start of a brilliant new crime series, from one of Germany’s bestselling authors.

#GuestPost by Rachel ward:

There isn’t really such a thing as a typical day for me as a translator, as everything varies so much from one project to another. I was working on Blue Night at the same time as translating a book on the history of human rights policy in the 20th century, so I’d work on that in the mornings and switch to Riley’s Hamburg in the afternoons.

Both books had their own set of challenges. The human rights book is long, dense and complex, and it involved a lot of untangling convoluted academic sentences, trying to get to grips with what the author wanted to say. So Blue Night was a lot more fun to work on but it had a whole set of difficulties of its own, starting with the self-doubt. Could I do this? Could I really recreate Riley’s voice in English? One of the things I love so much about Simone’s text is the way every word is precisely placed, carefully chosen, doing its job. Could I really have the nerve to pull off the same trick in another language that works so differently? Would it risk tipping over into a Chandleresque pastiche?

There were linguistic difficulties, cultural differences, the need to convey the sense of Hamburg (a city I’ve never visited, but long to see) and occasional snippets of Austrian and Hamburg dialect. My first attempt at Joe’s slipping into Austrian dialect, reverting to childhood speech as he falls asleep, was “I were a good lad, a right good lad.” It mirrors the original quite nicely, except that then he sounded like he came from Yorkshire… I’ve done my best by the voice and tried to convey the same effects, even if not always by the same means.

For my first book translation, I was working at a rickety computer desk with my dictionary in my lap, dial-up internet (remember that?) and little feedback from anyone but my very patient husband. I could use the university library to find bigger dictionaries, and more technical ones, but now I’m staggered by how few resources I used. Now, with all the wonders of the internet at my disposal, I can research practically any subject under the sun without moving from my desk. I turned to friends and colleagues in real life conversation, professional forums and social media, and they provided much needed help, inspiration and flashes of genius. We discussed slang terms for eyes (English doesn’t have enough that don’t sound horribly dated – ogles, peepers…?!), football terminology, how to convey in English what an Austrian accent sounds like to a German and much else besides.

To take one example, when Riley travels to Leipzig, she visits a bar called the Ost-Pol, and Simone’s description of it is a typical of her style. I was struggling with the sentence, so I turned to a Facebook group for translators working between German and English. In the course of the conversation, it turned out that not only was this a real bar, but that one of the group members had been there the night before. Now I had an eye-witness of the place to help me fine-tune the translation. And here’s what we ended up with:

“’At the Ost-Pol,’ Wieczorkowski said earlier, when I asked him the best place to get a few beers.
‘Like the North or South Poles, but in the East.’
I can’t think of a name that would suit this place better. Clear and uncompromising and dark and glorious and perfectly off-beat. The predominant colours are light brown, dark brown, and orange, or all at once, preferably in decades-old wavy or checked patterns. All the men have untrimmed beards; lots of them are wearing peculiar caps. A punk band is playing in the next door room. They’re torturing their guitars; a woman with a very loud and very sad voice sings: Now it’s broken.”

Simone Buchholz
Via Orenda Books

***Don’t miss the other bloggers on the #BlogTour***