Favorite books 2022. Before the winter literary season scheduled for January 5, 2023, a final look back in time to remember highlights of the year which is coming to an end. The great opportunity for We Worship of present its selection of the best foreign novels and stories published in 2022. Special mention for Toni Morrison, Orhan Pamuk and Salman Rushdie. Good readings!
VSheart oops : discover our top 2022 of the best foreign novels
“Recitative” by Toni Morrison
She was a free and rebellious writer. Adorned with numerous prizes, including a Pulitzer (1988) and a Nobel Prize for Literature (1993) – she was the first African American to be honored by the Swedish Academy. Born in 1931 in Lorain, Ohio, Toni Morrison died on August 5, 2019 in New York- she was 88 years old. Over the course of her life, she has written indispensable novels and a single “novella” which came to us in late summer 2022. The title: “Recitative”.
A book written in 1983 and short, a few hundred pages. An XXS text in which Toni Morrison plays with uncertain tracks – where is the white? black ? “Recitative”, it is the hidden color book. Indeed, coming out of this book, we are unable to say with confidence who is who: the novelist, throughout the pages, slips details which may suggest that… but quickly, others arise to maintain the questioning. Yes, who is who? Two 8-year-old girls, the same women who meet by chance. The great anti-racism literature.
“Recitative” by Toni Morrison. Translated by Christine Laferriere. Christian Bourgois126p, €14.
“Plague Nights” by Orhan Pamuk
Nobel Prize in Literature 2006, Turkish writer born in Istanbul, 13 million books sold worldwide since 1982, Orhan Pamuk offered us, with “Plague Nights”, a novel-fresco. Almost 700 pages. He adds : “In recounting the densest and most disturbing six months that the island of Mingher, near the eastern Mediterranean, has experienced, it is my own story that I have incorporated into that of this beloved country”.
This book, he had been thinking about it for forty years, “this book, which is about the plague, of course, but first about the political consequences of a pandemic. How does a state deal with it? How he goes about imposing drastic health measures, in particular quarantine on an entire population…” Clarification from Pamuk: he started writing these “Nights…” five years ago on a topic “that nobody cared about”… And this is how the reader is embarked on this island where the plague would have made its appearance, this plague which is spreading on the planet from China to San Francisco. Two experts are urgently sent there on the orders of the anxious sultan…
“Plague Nights” by Orhan Pamuk. Translated by Julien Lapeyre de Cabanes. Gallimard688 pages, €25.
“Languages of Truth” by Salman Rushdie
Three months earlier during a conference in the United States, he was the victim of an attempted murder which caused him to lose an arm and an eye. Still subject to a fatwa since 1989, he would be incommunicado somewhere across the Atlantic where he is slowly recovering. From him, we received some at the beginning of November with “Languages of truth”, a collection of essays on the changing world, religion, censorship, authors who are close to him or whom he appreciates… everything simply, a hymn to literature. Novelist who was once asked: “How would you like to die?” “, he had answered:” I would prefer not “… “Languages of truth”, it is a collection in four parts (augmented by the questionnaire of Proust) with essays written between 2003 and 2020. There are fantastic tales, we meet Heraclitus, then Philip Roth, Kurt Vonnegut, Samuel Becket, we are invited to think and reflect on truth, courage, the instinct of freedom before evoking the “covid” pandemic… “Languages of truth” , These are the literary verses in Salman Rushdie mode.
“Languages of truths” by Salman Rushdie. Translated by Gérard Meudal. South Acts400p, €25.
“Elizabeth Finch” by Julian Barnes
The woman, in her fifties, is a teacher, is called Elizabeth Rachel Jane Finch. He, Neil, was his pupil, is 30 years old, is a TV and dubbing actor and “king of unfinished projects”. Two or three times a year, they meet in an Italian restaurant in London. A book of failed loves, of unspeakable love, “Elizabeth Finch” is a novel as impressionistic as it is demanding, almost pointillist which, more than the body, is mainly addressed to the mind. Julian Barnes signs here a text that can lead to freedom and happiness.
“Elizabeth Finch” by Julian Barnes. Translated by Jean-Pierre Aoustin. Mercury of France208 pages, €19.
“Think before you speak. Read before you think » by Fran Lebovitz
Published across the Atlantic in 1994, “Think before you speak. Read before you think” has finally been translated into French. Its author? Fran Lebowitz, 71, star of the American intellectual world, joke specialist, considered “the funniest woman in the United States” and friend of Warhol and Scorsese. After five novels, she no longer writes: wearing a suit jacket over a shirt, she is a people who goes on stage, answers the questions of the spectators and tells her story. She has the answer to everything. We love it!
“Think before you speak. Read before you think » by Fran Lebovitz. Translated by Pierre Demarty. poor352 pages, €23.
“ Utopia Avenue » by David Mitchell
With the British author David Mitchell, who spent periods of his life in Italy and Japan, we find ourselves in London, in 1967. Somewhat banal, with “Utopia Avenue”, this very dense, very thick book (more than 750 pages!) but it’s moving, like those effervescent Swinging Sixties, those 1960s that were swinging across the Channel… Mitchell takes a step aside by plunging into the world of music with Utopia Avenue, a folk- psychedelic rock. A novel with a thousand geniuses, and just as many crazy people and losers. “That’s All Rock”!
“Utopia Avenue” by David Michelle. Translated by Nicolas Richard. Editions of the Olivier752 pages, €25.
“Sontag” by Benjamin Moser
Susan Sontag (1933-2004) is not just a photo, brown hair with a white lock, but also and above all one of the stars of American literary and cultural life. With “Sontag”, a sum of nearly 900 pages rewarded with the prestigious Pulitzer Prize, Benjamin Moser has managed the feat of writing a monumental biography with empathy but without the slightest complacency. An essential book that shows, definitively, that “one is not born Susan Sontag: one becomes one”.
“Sontag” by Benjamin Moser. Translated by Cécile Roche. Christian Bourgois898p, €39.
“Willibald” by Gabriella Zalapi
Reading happiness is immediate with “Willibald”, the second and new novel by the great Gabriella Zalapi. After “Antonia” (2019), the visual artist signs here one of the most accomplished, one of the most beautiful texts of this year Since adolescence, Mara has been haunted by a painting on the wall of the living room in her HLM. Willibald who bought it in the 1920s also haunts it. She will find Willibald’s letters in a shed at her mother’s who will say: “I know but don’t know”. With sparkling writing, à la Michelangelo Antonioni…
“Willibald” by Gabriella Zalapi. Editions Zoe160 pages, 17 €
-Edith Bruck: ” French toast “ (Basement Editions)
-Jonathan Franzen: “Crossroads” (Editions de l’Olivier)
-Grisélidis Real: “Living flesh. Complete poems » (Seghers)
-Elif Shafak: “ The Island of Lost Trees » (Flammarion)
-Grigori Sloujitel: “The Days of Saveli” (Editions des Syrtes)
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Favorites: Our top 2022 of the best foreign novels