A Classic from a foreign language

(66 Posts)

I really fancy something a bit different, read lots of recent/contemporary type fiction as well as some wonderful wonderful American literature recently and I think I am getting a bit jaded and need some shock tactics!!

I fancy something quite meaty, preferably not 1000 pages but perhaps French/Russian/Spanish (but translated into English!) - Hugo? Zola? Tolstoy? Garcia marquez?

I have read and adored Anna Karenina, Madame Bovary, Several Marquez books, I have Ladies Paradise which I have meant to read for years and I have a kindle so can access free/cheap books that way!

TIA for any suggestions, whether foreign or british on the classic side of things.

Don't get scared by the length of Les Miserables, it is wonderful and a page turner.

Have you read The Buddenbrooks?

Der Prozess by Kafka, The Trial in English, is a headfuck challenging but short read.

HelpOneAnother Mon 07-Jan-13 13:48:16

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LoopsInHoops Mon 07-Jan-13 13:48:50

The Name of the Rose is an excellent read. Dangerous Liaisons is amazing too.

I must say that I wondered about Les Miserables. I know the story very well, but have not read the book. Good recommendation, thanks.

Buddenbrooks I have not heard of, but sadly it's not on Kindle in English by the looks. May keep my eye out at my second hand bookshop or the library.

The Trial - not read that either, but have heard of it! Vaguely remember it being on the shelf at a house share I was in for a while and I was a bit scared of it at the time!!! Maybe I can handle it now!

Is War and Peace worth a go?? Have often wondered but never tried, maybe this is the year!

Have read Name of the Rose - forgot about that and agree, yes, very good indeed.

I read War and Peace last year. It is amazing, although Tolstoy occasionally goes off on one for a bit but you can skim those pages.

Maybe, finally, it will be my biggy for the first part of the year. My recent reads have been mostly good but a touch "light" and la la la. I want meatiness, and I suspect it does get much meatier than W&P!!!!

artifarti Mon 07-Jan-13 14:15:16

Love in the Time of Cholera and One Hundred Years of Solitude (Marquez) are both great as is Chronicle of a Death Foretold.

Marcel Pagnol's The Water of the Hills?

HelpOneAnother Mon 07-Jan-13 14:18:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

I second the Dangerous Liaisons too.

If you are into Jewish/in between the 2 wars literature, then it doesn't get better than Joseph Roth, who is, imo, one of the best writers of the xx century. Not sure if all his novels have been translated into English.

I have just finished to read Margaret Drabble's The Radiant Way, I know you asked for European literature, but I found it quite "meaty" and a beautiful read.

I also recommend most of the novels written by Georges Simenon, I wonder whether they've been translated into English too.

Anyone read Don Quixote or the Count of Monte Cristo?

Oh my, some really great suggestions here, I have LOADS of research on Amazon/Goodreads to do!!!

Thanks all. xx

LoopsInHoops Mon 07-Jan-13 14:45:49

Ah, Primo Levi's 'If this is a man' and 'the truce'? (is it truce? I think)

doyouwantfrieswiththat Mon 07-Jan-13 14:49:48

Another vote for 'Les Miserables' & 'Dangerous Liaisons', 'Miss Smillas feeling for snow' and 'The Joke'. Also 'Wild Swans' if you've not already read it.

My brother used to like 'The Little World of Don Camillo' which I've always meant to read.

TheMysteryCat Mon 07-Jan-13 15:06:20

Smilla is superb. I also love crime and punishment and any Kafka. Orhan pamuk's Snow is stunning - political and romantic. Chekhov's short story collections are good to delve into as well.

highlandcoo Mon 07-Jan-13 17:28:15

I read Zola's Germinal last year and really enjoyed it. I like Victorian literature anyway, and this gave a European slant on the workers' experience of backbreaking work and grinding poverty .. OK it's not sounding like a cheerful read but it's a powerful novel and one that has stayed with me since I read it .. And you said you wanted something meaty!

hackmum Mon 07-Jan-13 17:44:31

Yes, Dangerous Liaisons is good.

In the last year I've read both Alone in Berlin by Hans Fallada and Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky (covering the same period) and thought both were excellent, but particularly Alone in Berlin.

Guitargirl Mon 07-Jan-13 17:52:59

I can recommend anything by Josef Skvorecky - The Miracle Game is a great read.

Or Alexander Solzenitsyn - loved One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich.

Or JM Coetzee?

Oh, I love everything that Irene Nemirovsky wrote.

Ah yes, Suite Francaise is glorious and harrowing all at once.

BasketzatDawn Mon 07-Jan-13 18:34:48

Stefan Zweig has now been translated into English - not sure of title - but life in Vienna between world wars.

BasketzatDawn Mon 07-Jan-13 18:39:15

If you liked Madame Bovary, then you might like Balzac - Eugenie Grandet, for example. Also you might find some Zola on Kindle. Not sure about other ideas for Kindle as I'm a 20th century gal myself. I'll ber Lolita is on Kindle and maybe others by Nabokov.

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