For Women In Translation Month this August, Ten of My Favorite Authors


From Japan:

Hiro Arikawa (The Traveling Cat Chronicles)

Yuko Tsushima (The Territory of Light)

Kanae Minato (Confessions and Penance)

Sayaka Murata (The Convenience Store Woman)

From Italy:

Margaret Mazzantini (Don’t Move, Strega Prize winner)

Sylvia Avallone (Swimming to ElbaStrega Prize nomination)

Elena Ferrante (the Neapolitan novels, author not pictured)

From Poland:

Wioletta Greg (Swallowing Mercury, nominated for the Man Booker International Prize, and Accomodations)

Olga Tokarczuk (FlightsMan Booker International Prize winner, and Drive Your Plow Over The Bones of The DeadMan Booker International Prize nomination)

From India:

Anuradha Roy (Sleeping on Jupiter and All The Lives We Never Lived)


Find more information about Women In Translation Month from Meytal Radzinski, the woman behind it at all, at @Read_WIT and/or #WITMonth.



For the Japanese Literature Challenge 12: The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa

There are so many things in life that are beyond our control.

I didn’t always love cats. But since my son’s girlfriend gave him a tabby that was no bigger than my fist when she came into our home, I have come to understand the attraction obsession.

Told largely from the point of view of the cat, Nana, we see the imagined perspective of the mostly white cat (“with the number-eight markings and the crooked tail like a seven”) who was found on the hood of a silver van and taken into the home of Saturo.

Because of unavoidable circumstances which make it impossible for him to keep the cat, he drives Nano to several possible homes in the hopes of finding a new owner. But, we know that neither one wants to leave the other. And, as Saturo’s character becomes revealed through the interactions between him and his friends, a mounting sorrow grows in my heart.

It is the longest time I have ever taken to read a book which is less than 300 pages. I set it down to let my feelings subside a bit until I can pick it up again…

My students gave me a tissue box decorated to look like the book Charlotte’s Web one year. “Because you always cry when you read it,” they said.

Perhaps the best books about people and animals are like that.

(Thanks to Penguin Random House for my copy of The Traveling Cat Chronicles.)