Throughout 2018 I read one book by an author from each of the present-day 28 EU members states. I called this project ‘EU still 28’. Some of the books that I read were written by authors whose work I was already familiar with. Others, on the other hand, were penned by writers whom I had never read a book by before.
My first time reading certain authors left me eager to know more about their work. Taking into consideration not only my enjoyment of the books that I read but also my interest in the other ones that are currently available in a language that I can read fluently (Portuguese and English), in the future I will certainly read more books by the eight authors listed below.
To represent Austria, I read The Tobacconist by Robert Seethaler. Having as main character Franz Huchel, it’s a story about sexual awakening set at the time of the rise of Nazism. I now want to read A Whole Life, which is about the return of a soldier to his village in the Alps after the Second World War.
Last year I read The Life of Hunger, a fictional memoir about a girl who is permanently hungry for everything life has to offer. There are two other books by the Belgian author Amélie Nothomb that have subsequently caught my interest: Strike Your Heart and Sulphuric Acid.
Uma Vida à Sua Frente (The Life Before Us) was the book I chose to read for the ‘EU still 28’ to represent France. It focuses on the bond between a motherless boy and the woman who took care of him. I definitely want to read more books by Romain Gary, but they seem difficult to get hold of in both English and Portuguese. Promise at Dawn and A European Education may be some of my future reads by him.
The first book I read by the Hungarian author Antal Szerb was Journey by Moonlight. It tells the story of a newlywed couple who were struggling to decide what to do with their lives. There are two other books by him that I want to get to some day: The Queen’s Necklace and The Pendragon Legend.
The Glorious Heresies, the only book that I’ve read so far by the Irish writer Lisa McInerney, is told from the perspectives of various characters. It delves into dysfunctional families, religiosity, prostitution and drug dealing. I’ll definitely read its follow-up The Blood Miracles soon.
After enjoying reading the first book in the Neapolitan Novels by the Italian author Elena Ferrante, I obviously want to finish the series. My Brilliant Friend details the childhood friendship between Elena Greco and Raffaella Cerullo (also known as Lila), while introducing the readers to the social problems of Naples.
Dear Mr. M was my favourite book from the ones that I read in 2018. The Dutch writer Herman Koch created a novel that mixes a crime story with a reflection on the process of writing fiction. It also grippingly connects two stories, one about Mr. M, a renowned writer, and the other about his neighbour. I want to read two of his other books: The Dinner and Summer House with Swimming Pool.
Nada by Carmen Laforet was the book that I chose to read from Spain. It revolves around one year in the life of Andrea, a young orphan woman who moved to Barcelona to attend university on a meagre pension. A Ilha e os Demónios (La Isla y los Demonios in the original) is the book that I’m planning to read next by her. Unfortunately, I think there is no translation available into English.
Have your read books by any these authors? Which do you recommend? Tell me in the comments!