I was hoping for Hard Times, but it looks like The Mystery of Edwin Drood will be--unless Joffre objects--my Dickens nomination.
I really had nothing else in mind to nominate, and what's been nominated so far looks great, but there was the comment about "too old and too English." And here I go with Charles Dickens, the epitome of the "dead European white male."
So I took it as a challenge to come up with nine different authors who are the antithesis of Dickens.
-- none of them is from western Europe or the US
-- all of them write in a language other than English
-- each of them is very much alive
-- and they are all women
Paradise of the Blind by Duong Thu Huong (Vietnamese)
A young girl experiences the conflict between old customs and a new regime in communist Hanoi.
The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende (Chilean)
A family saga explores past and present in post-colonial Chile. (If I am the only one who hasnít already read this, then we can certainly substitute another Allende novel.)
Women without Men: A Novel of Modern Iran by Shahrnush Parsipur (Iranian)
The theme of gender oppression explored through the voices of five women.
Wild Thorns by Sahar Kalifeh (Palestinian)
Relates the effect on Palestinian families of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank.
The Slynx by Tatyana Tolstaya (Russian)
This dystopia set in a post-apocalyptic Russia uses many literary allusions. The author is Leoís great-grand niece.
Hereís to You, Jesusa by Elena Poniatowska (Mexican)
A fact-based novel following the life of a poor but defiant woman through the key events of 20th century Mexico.
Persian Brides by Dorit Rabinyan (Israeli writing in Hebrew)
Two teenage Jewish girls in turn-of-the-century Persia are desperate for husbands.
The Dark Bride by Laura Restrepo (Colombian)
The story of a prostitute in a Columbian oil town explores the effects of globalization.
The Ministry of Pain by Dubravka Ugresic (Croatian)
Yugoslav expatriates in Amsterdam cope with the disintegration of their homeland.
There were many other candidates I reluctantly had to pass over. One of them I badly wanted to include was the Turkish writer Elif Shafak. Unfortunately, Flea Palace, the novel I wanted to nominate, is out of print. Her more famous novel, The Bastard of Istanbul, was written in English, so it didn't meet my criterion of being a work in translation.
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