Review — Lemon by Kwon Yeo-Sun and Translated by Janet Hong

Silhouette of a woman in a yellow dress Lemon
By: Kwon Yeo-Sun
Translator: Janet Hong
Release Date: October 7, 2021
Publisher: Apollo
Rating:


Lemon is a slow, introspective story about a cold case murder expertly written by author Kwon Yeo-Sun and translated from the original Korean by Janet Hong. Despite being focused on a cold case, this isn’t so much a whodunit, traditional murder mystery, or thriller. Instead, we find a slowly paced, introspective tale featuring a myriad of people left behind after the murder of the nineteen-year-old Kim Hae-on: how they cope and do not cope, how they move on and how time stops in that moment forever.

Review — The Cat Who Saved Books by Sosuke Natsukawa

Front cover of the novel The Cat Who Saved Books by Sosuke Natsukawa The Cat Who Saved Books
By: Sosuke Natsukawa
Translator: Louise Heal Kawai
Release Date: December 7, 2021
Publisher: HarperVia
Rating:


Books about books is a genre that many if not most readers often find themselves drawn to. This is true for The Cat Who Saved Books by Sosuke Natsukawa’s novel as well. Translated from the original Japanese by Louise Heal Kawai, this is a Japanese novel about Rintaro Natsuki, a young man whose grandfather has recently passed away. His life is immediately upended, as his grandfather was also his guardian.

Review – The Salmon Who Dared Leap Higher by Ahn Do-hyun

A salmon leaping over waves The Salmon Who Dared Leap Higher
By: Ahn Do-hyun
Illustrator: Daniella Terrazzini
Translator: Deborah Smith
Release Date: April 9, 2015
Publisher: Pan
Rating:


Award-winning and bestselling poet Ahn Do-hyun brings us a classic fable in The Salmon Who Dared Leap Higher. Despite winning the 1981 Daegu Maeil Shinmun Annual Literary Contest with the poem “Nakdong River,” the 1984 Don-A Ilbo Annual Literary Contest for the poem “Jeon Bong-jun Goes to Seoul,” the 1996 Young Poet’s Award, and the 1998 Kim So-wol Literature Prize, this is the first work of Do-hyun’s to have been published in English.

Review – Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi

Two chairs at a coffee table with cat. Before the Coffee Gets Cold
By: Toshikazu Kawaguchi
Illustrator: Sunmark Publishing Inc (Cover illustration)
Translator: Geoffrey Trousselot
Release Date: September 19, 2019
Publisher: Hanover Square Press
Series: Before the Coffee Gets Cold (#1)
Rating:


Toshikazu Kawaguchi’s novel Before the Coffee Gets Cold is a slight first volume in an ongoing series expertly translated from the Japanese by Geoffrey Trousselot. The entire story takes place within a certain coffee shop, the type of tiny, cozy place only known to locals. This shop is one filled with secrets, though. A ghost occupies a certain chair, drinking her coffee just as diligently in death as she did in life. People claim that on the rare occasion she leaves her seat, the new chair’s new occupant is able to go back in time and have one more conversation with a loved one.

If Cats Disappeared from the World by Genki Kawabura

Man and a cat sitting on a bench with their backs turned to the viewer. If Cats Disappeared from the World
By: Genki Kawamura
Illustrator: Leeann Falciani (Jacket Design); Henry Sene Yee (Jacket Illustration)
Translator: Eric Selland
Release Date: March 12, 2019
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Rating:


Genki Kawamura’s first novel, If Cats Disappeared from the World, has sold over two million copies worldwide, and it isn’t difficult to see why. A storyteller in all forms, Kawamura isn’t simply a novelist. He has also produced movies such as the famed Your Name as well as done work as a screenwriter and showrunner. All of these myriad of storytelling techniques leak into the novel, if not in method it was crafted, then in our nameless main character, his hobbies, and his loves.

Review – The Woman in the Purple Skirt by Natsuko Imamura

Woman's face wearing a pink hat with the title The Woman in the Purple Skirt beneath it. The Woman in the Purple Skirt
By: Natsuko Imamura
Translator: Lucy North
Release Date: June 8, 2021
Publisher: Penguin Books
Received From: Publisher
(All reviews are our own, honest opinions.)
Rating:


Natsuko Imamura’s debut English novel is a story that is at once a slow-burning character study and a tale of obsession and psychological intrigue. The Woman in the Purple Skirt has already won the prestigious Akutagawa Prize in Japan, which Imamura was previously nominated for twice before.

Review – Broken Stars: Contemporary Chinese Science Fiction in Translation edited by Ken Liu

Broken Stars: Contemporary Chinese Science Fiction in Translation
By: edited by Ken Liu
Translator: Ken Liu; Carmen Yiling Yan
Release Date: February 19, 2019
Publisher: Tor Books
Series: Chinese Science Fiction in Translation #2
Rating:


Following 2016’s Invisible Planets: Contemporary Chinese Science Fiction in Translation Ken Liu has translated and compiled a second volume titled Broken Stars: Contemporary Chinese Science Fiction in Translation. Short stories, novellas, and essays comprise the volume, all of them translated from the original Chinese into English. Author and translator of such books as Cixin Liu’s The Three-Body Problem translates each story beautifully. Also translating this volume is Carmen Yiling Yan.

Review – The Graveyard Apartments by Mariko Kioke

The Graveyard Apartments
By: Mariko Kioke
Translator: Deborah Boliver Boehm
Release Date: (Original Japanese) 1986; (English) October 11, 2016
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Rating:


I tend to read a lot of horror in the summer, something which probably deserves an article on in itself. The latest scary read I delved into was the novel The Graveyard Apartment by Mariko Kioke. This is a book translated from Japanese which tells the story of a young family who moves into an apartment building that overlooks an old graveyard. It is the story of past wrongs, of personal demons better off left buried, and just how far someone is willing to go in order to ignore the bad things in their life or the strange goings on around them.

Review – Invisible Planets Edited by Ken Liu

Invisible Planets: Contemporary Chinese Fiction in Translation
By: (Editor/Translator) Ken Liu
Website: http://kenliu.name/
Release Date: November 1, 2016
Publisher: Tor Books
Rating:


I had been meaning to read this book since its release last years, and I actually picked it up at one point. Unfortunately, life happened, and I was forced to focus my efforts on other things. But now, almost six month’s later I’ve finally read the book in its entirety, and couldn’t be happier. Invisible Planets, edited by Ken Liu, is a fantastic collection of science fiction by Chinese authors translated into English, and is a must read for fans of the genre.