Linguistic – consisting of or related to language. Do you have a love for books written in another language? I do, and in today’s post I will share 5 translated works that are considered huge bestsellers all over the world.
Growing up, studying in an English medium school was a big deal. When my mom started buying books for me, they were all mostly in English. So it isn’t surprising that my proficiency in English is more than in Hindi, which is my mother tongue. I am now habitually trained to think in English, and it’s far easier for me to communicate in this language.
When I started to pick books from Hindi Literature, they were all translated works and in English. Slowly I graduated to reading translated books in Punjabi, Urdu, Bengali, Oriya, Malayalam, etc. That is when I discovered the beauty of colloquialism and literary gems of everyday conversations came to my notice.
Every culture has certain nuances that are highlighted in their literary works and passed down through the generations. This has made me curious about books from other languages and I began to read translated books from across the globe. I spoke about Diversity in my reading earlier in this challenge and shared books from across the regions of the world. In all of these books, I found connotations similar to my culture and region which helped me absorb the books better.
For today’s post for Linguistic, I have picked up the five popular translated works that I loved reading a lot. In all of these books, I couldn’t find any similarity with my culture or with the books I have been reading. Each is so different in perspective and introduces concepts hitherto unknown to me from the reading perspective. Yet, I loved reading them all. If you spot one of your favorite here, I would love to hear about it.
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The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larsson
A psychological crime thriller written by journalist Steig Larsson, this book is the first one of the Millennium series. The series covers financial intrigue, family drama, generational history and political climate of the country. The books are sexually graphic and talk a lot about the extremes a man would go to in punishing a woman for her feminity. Influences of Nazism are quite prominent in the books as certain characters still practice it as ardently as it was under Hitler’s rule. The book promotes a Scandinavian equality of genders and is quite a startling read from that perspective.
The Alchemist by Paulo Cohelo
“when you really want something to happen, the whole universe will conspire so that your wish comes true.”
Originally written in Portuguese, The Alchemist is an inspiring tale of self discovery. Through mysticism and philosophy a very simple tale is narrated to get the message across that the secret of success in life is to fall down seven times and get up eight times. At its core, this books talks about doing what is right and reaping it’s rewards.
The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Originally written in Spanish, this is a coming of age story interlaced with a passion for books. It features love in all of its explosive stages – hot-blooded, doomed and unrequited. A tale in a tale is what one discovers while reading this book. Sublime prose and the setting of Barcelona have rendered this a modern classic. The translation by Lucia Graves is exquisite in retaining the original flavor of the language. I would recommend this as one of the best literary translations that I have read in a while.
A Man called Ove by Fredrik Bachman
A Man called Ove is all about a crummy cantankerous old man who is tired of living after his wife passes away. He tries valiantly to commit suicide but is either foiled by technicalities or intrusive neighbors. Ove is a stickler for rules and through flashbacks, the writer introduces us to each and every eccentric bone in his body. The book is witty on the surface but speaks of loneliness and loss in its entirety. Written by a Swedish author, this book instantly became a bestseller after its international release. Have you read this one?
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
Originally written in French, this is an unforgettable tale of treachery, redemption and of course love. The hero is wrongfully imprisoned for life which sets the scene for revenge. Dante escapes and begins life anew under an assumed identity. He improves not only his fortunes but of many others who are lucky enough to fall into his social circle. In seeking his revenge, he ends up helping people and ultimately finds peace and closure for himself. The tale is bedecked with rich imagery and forms the base for the first classic superhero (batman perhaps?). If you havent read this one yet, I suggest you pick it up without further delay.
Which translated bestseller has been a rewarding read for you? I would love to add a few more to my TBR, so don’t forget to drop the names in the comments below.
For the uninitiated, AtoZ challenge is a blogging challenge wherein one has to write on every alphabet from A to Z and post on all days of April, except Sundays. Usually its better to devise a theme as it makes it easy to write the posts. Plus readers have a reason to stay hooked too.