In English

  • Almonds cover
    In English,  Literary Fiction

    Almond by Won-pyung Sohn

    The debut novel of Korean author Won-pyung Sohn and translated by Sandy Joosun Lee, Almond it is a story about monsters. What is a monster and who gets to decide when someone is a one? In a world where monsters roam, things are not as simple as they appear – even the idea of the monster itself. These issues are at the core of Almond and Sohn has dealt with them beautifully. Through Lee’s translation, the author’s words are preserved with clarity and precision and all events in the book are described with perfect balance. However talking about monsters comes at a price. Almond contains its fair share of gore…

  • The Little House cover
    Historical Fiction,  In English

    The Little House by Kyoko Nakajima

    Stories that take place during Japan’s peak imperial era are often received critically – and rightfully so. However, The Little House by Kyoko Nakajima, and translated by Ginny Tapley Takemori, is a different kind of book. The story largely takes place through the protagonist’s memoirs of times in the early Showa Era (1926-89) – namely before, during, and a bit after the war. Yet Nakajima approaches the topic with an immense amount of care. The war is neither front and center or ignored. The novel’s memoir style is very fitting for this approach. The world of The Little House is very believable in how it approaches the period as a…

  • Life is Elsewhere/Burn Your Flags
    In English,  Literary Fiction

    Life is Elsewhere/Burn Your Flags by Iain Maloney

    Life is Elsewhere/Burn Your Flags by Iain Maloney is a sobering and thoughtful book. In particular, in late-2021, the pandemic setting feels almost too close to home. The pandemic has been a lot – for all of us. The losses we have individually and collectively experienced are immeasurable. It will likely be years before we are able to come to terms with what has, and is still happening. As Cormac so eloquently says on page two, “Life is elsewhere. I am elsewhere. But this year death is everywhere. Death is here.” Yet the story is about more than the pandemic. In Life is Elsewhere/Burn Your Flags, many other themes are…

  • The Miracles of the Namiya General Store cover
    In English,  Mystery

    The Miracles of the Namiya General Store by Keigo Higashino

    The Miracles of the Namiya General Store is a special book. Keigo Higashino is a prolific author, but most of his works aren’t published in English. Of the books that are most are mysteries. However, The Miracles of the Namiya General Store is something else entirely. Published by Yen On and translated by Sam Bett, this book is of a genre that is hard to place. It is a coming-of-age/mystery/fantasy kind of situation. One could even argue for magical realism. The variety of themes and wide genre is exactly what makes the book compelling for many types of readers. The Miracles of the Namiya General Store covers a lot of…

  • The Beekeeper of Aleppo cover
    In English,  Literary Fiction

    The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri

    The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri is an outstanding, but haunting book. It’s part of a category of book that many people feel is worn out and overused, stories of people in and escaping war. Yet it manages to stand out in the crowd. Unlike many of such stories, it is not by a specific person’s life. It is also not a Holocaust story. Instead, as the title suggests, this story focuses on the civil war in Syria. The civil war in Syria continues to rage on. Refugees continue to flood into neighbouring countries and across the oceans. As these people are welcomed into new homes, part of the…