2021 International Booker shortlisted translator Megan McDowell's translated fiction recommendations

Por The Booker Prizes

Por The Booker Prizes


Julio Cortazar

10,99 € 10,22 €

Translated by Gregory Rabassa. This is the book that started everything for me. It made me curious about so many things, and my desire to be a translator grew out seeds planted by this novel.

My Brilliant Friend

Elena Ferrante

8,99 € 8,36 €

The Neopolitan Novels, translated by Anne Goldstein. What can I say about these? A beautiful but honest depiction of of friendship over the years, intellectual awakening, the rage and love between two women whose lives led them in different directions. Four novels but it still seems short.

The Book of Disquiet

Fernando Pessoa

12,99 € 12,08 €

Translated by Richard Zenith. I feel like there’s a connecting line between Pessoa’s heteronyms and literary translation—something about the act of trying to fully inhabit another person’s subjectivity and express their ideas and idiosyncrasies. The first time I read this book I felt like it blew the top of my head off, and I only wanted to keep reading and rereading it.

The Elegance of the Hedgehog

Muriel Barbery

9,99 € 9,29 €

Translated by Alison Anderson. Once upon a time, I left a relationship in Salt Lake City, and my twin sister came to help me drive cross-country back to the east cost. We read this book out loud to each other as we took turns driving, and we finished it just as we were pulling up to the house, in the snow, both of us crying. Cheesy, yes, but it’s one of my favorite memories.


Roberto Bolano

14,99 € 13,94 €

Translated by Natasha Wimmer. Truly a Great Book, but aside from that, I read it in Spanish and then in Natasha Wimmer's English, and I learned a lot from her about our art and craft. It’s also a Great Translation.

The Master and Margarita

Mikhail Bulgakov

9,99 € 9,29 €

Translated by Mirra Ginsburg. I first read this book in a college “Dystopian novels” course that was full of books that changed my life. What an amazing, surreal satire: the Devil visits the Soviet Union, along with his vodka-drinking talking cat companion, Behemoth. In 2012 I saw a version staged in an ancient monastery at the Festival D’Avignon, which was magical. Manuscripts don’t burn!