Seven Transportive Books in Translation to Read in 2022

Find literary inspiration, or simply take off on an armchair adventure, with our pick of the most engrossing books in translation set to hit bookshelves this year.

Looking for a little inspiration to kick-start your 2022 travels? There's no better way to plan an odyssey than by picking up a lyrical novel and diving into its pages to explore literary landscapes ripe for discovery, both in fiction and IRL (although we'd recommend flicking through your latest issue of SUITCASE Magazine, too, of course).

A good book can transport you across countries and continents, with one in translation offering a glimpse into the soul of distant destinations. With that in mind, we've perused the shelves of our favourite independent bookshops to bring you a list of the translated tales you're going to want to read this year. Whether you have your sights set on visiting Cuba's sun-soaked shores or Catalan's highest peaks, you'll find a book to suit on our list.

Books to get lost in: seven titles in translation to read this year

The Tribe, a new book out in 2022 and translated from Spanish

The Tribe

By Carlos Manuel Álvarez

A collection of essays from one of the few Cuban journalists permitted to freely travel to and from Cuba, The Tribe utilises a unique Latin American writing form - the crónica - to offer a dynamic blend of reportage, narrative non-fiction and novel in one. This is one of those books you'll read in a single sitting. Conveying readers to the turbulent landscapes of Cuba's recent political past, it offers a refreshing assessment of the country outside of typical historic tropes, giving voice to ordinary Cubans, from artists and nurses to underground musicians and dissident poets. A must-read if you're heading out to Havana this year.

Published 11 May

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Scattered All Over the Earth,  a must-read title in translation for 2022

Scattered All Over the Earth

By Yoko Tawada

Set in the near future, when Japan has vanished below rising sea levels, the rest of the world ravaged by climate change, Scattered All Over the Earth follows a survivor, Hiruko, stranded in Denmark. Spending her days developing a new hybrid language, Hiruko begins to seek out other Japanese immigrants displaced from their homeland, embarking on surreal European adventures with them. Translated from Japanese by Margaret Mitsutani, this is a tale wrapped around thoughts on travel and language. We loved how Tawada asks us to consider what "home" means - and how the words we speak relate to who we are.

Published 2 June

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Irene Solà's latest book, When I Sing, Mountains Dance, translated into English

When I Sing, Mountains Dance

By Irene Solà

Translated from the original Catalan by Mara Faye Lethem, this lyrical fable (Solà's second novel) follows the life of a young girl in the Pyrenees after her father is killed by lightning, and her sibling, Hilari, perishes. With a narrative shared by animals, ghosts, humans, mountains and sometimes even clouds, it's a playful tale sown with a heartfelt love for Catalonia's mountainous terrain. At times funny, sad and touching, the novel transports you into the topography and soul of the Catalan landscape.

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The Blind Owl by Sadegh Hedayat

The Blind Owl

By Sadegh Hedayat

In the mood for a magnum opus? Get your hands on this new translation by Sassan Tabatabi. Originally published in Persian, The Blind Owl tells the story of an unnamed, offbeat painter struggling with feverish nightmares and macabre thoughts. The unanchored narrator offers a string of dreamlike, alcohol-fuelled recollections before, in part two, we're offered a glimpse of the logic behind his ramblings. Written during Iran's oppressive rule of Reza Shah, the dark recesses of the novel were a challenge to the narrative of progress in the country at the time.

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The Anomaly

The Anomaly

By Hervé Le Tellier

A fan of thrillers? The Anomaly should go straight to the top of your summer reading list. Brace yourself before you dive in: the French bestseller is a hell-raising ride. Hervé Le Tellier's mind-bending, whip-smart prose (translated by Adriana Hunter) blends crime, fantasy and sci-fi as it unravels a mystery surrounding the logic-defying flight path of a Paris-New York plane and its passengers, who, upon landing, discover they have doppelgangers. Expect the unexpected when you read this book - there are song lyrics, interview transcripts and strange formatting quirks aplenty, which all add to the frantic appeal of this fast-paced, madcap romp.

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The Last One Fatima Daas

The Last One

By Fatima Daas

First published in France in 2020, this poetic novel explores the conflicting identities at play in the narrator's life as a gay Muslim woman from an immigrant background. Lyrically translated by Lara Vergnaud, the autobiographical debut by Daas (a pseudonym) traces the writer's steps as she tries to forge a place in her world - the Parisian suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois.

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