12 Must-Read Translated Literature 2023

list of translated literature 2023
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Team P3 curates a list of must-read translated literature 2023 for your TBR.

Translated Literature has rarely been more in fashion than now! Globally, more and more stories are being translated and sought by new audiences. You can easily observe this in the changing trends of Indian literature as well.

More and more publishers are paying attention to translations from different regions and we, the book lovers, are getting to discover titles and narratives we would never have discovered otherwise. To celebrate that, we look at some of the must-read translated literature 2023. Naturally, with the large catalog of books being released every month, it becomes somewhat impossible to include all titles, but we’ve tried to compile books from translated literature 2023 across genres and regions here.

We encourage you to buy books from a local bookstore. If that is not possible, please use the links on the page and support us. Thank you.

Comment below any titles from translated literature 2023 you think we should have included but didn’t, and we shall add them to our list. Happy reading and exploring!

Do check out our review of Won’t You Stay, Radhika? Translated by Daisy Rockwell from Hindi.

Must-Read Translated Literature 2023

Sahela Re

Title: Sahela Re

Author: Written by Mrinal Pande, translated by Priyanka Sarkar

Publisher: Harper Perennial India

Price: 347

Pages: 268


Topping our list of Must-Read translated literature 2023 is this brilliant book.

This book takes you to an era of Hindustani classical music where Vidya, a music scholar, begins documenting the history of Hindustani classical music. In her pursuit, she finds the vestiges of an age-old tradition where singers breathed life into pure ragas, and music was more than art. It was a tradition, it was a method of worship.  

Using anecdotes, legends, and gossip, Pande shows you a world of artists and their passions. The book travels from city to city, from Benares to Bombay to New York to Calcutta, with iconic characters and their attempts to preserve the fading echoes of an art form.

In a way, it’s also the evolution of music through the ages and how technology changed everything. From Pande’s writing to Priyanka Sarkar’s translation, the book is a charming read that is a tribute to a lost art form.

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Feeling Kerala: An Anthology of Contemporary Malayalam Stories

Title: Feeling Kerala: An Anthology of Contemporary Malayalam Stories

Author: Translated by J Devika

Publisher: Viking

Price: 292

Pages: 304


Next on our list of Must-Read translated Literature 2023 is this amazing book.

There’s no doubt that Malayalam literary traditions are among the richest and most diverse in this country. Feeling Kerala compiles some of the best modern Malayalam stories that create a multifaceted and complex portrait of this state.

You travel through its lush highlands and coastal areas through the stories contained in this collection. The book probes several interesting phenomena, like migration and transnationalism experiences, and how they shape modern Kerala.

If you wish to understand the Malayalam region better and see various perspectives through the eyes of its contemporary writers, Feeling Kerala is the perfect book to pick. J Devika is one of the foremost translators operating in Indian literature today, and her translations never let you feel that you’re reading anything but the original text.

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The Greatest Indian Stories Ever Told: Fifty Masterpieces from the Nineteenth Century to the Present

Title: The Greatest Indian Stories Ever Told: Fifty Masterpieces from the Nineteenth Century to the Present

Author: Edited by Arunava Sinha

Publisher: Aleph Book Company

Price: 779

Pages: 528


Next on our list of Must-Read translated literature 2023 is this amazing book.

It’s impossible even to begin capturing the breadth and depth of Indian literature without including the many regional literatures it contains. The Greatest Indian Stories Ever Told, edited by Arunava Sinha, does a commendable job of trying to do so. Showing the evolution of short stories from the 19th century to the present age, the book is a comprehensive look at Indian literature through the ages.

The collection of writers here includes some of the biggest names over the decades, from Sahitya Academi Award winners to Novel laureates. Regardless of your familiarity with Indian literature, this collection is a must-read. It celebrates Indian literary traditions in all their diversity and portrays an ever-evolving nation. It is a journey through time and borders for an exhaustive and satisfying reading experience.

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My Poems Are Not For Your Ad-Campaign

Title: My Poems Are Not For Your Ad-Campaign

Author: Written by Anuradha Sharma Pujari, translated by Aruni Kashyap

Publisher: Penguin

Price: 279

Pages: 176


If you think that title is catchy, wait till you read the book! How do you find authenticity in this bustling, modern world? That is the central question that this book poses. A book written against the backdrop of a newly globalized country and the rapid welcoming of a consumerist culture, My Poems Are Not For Your Ad-Campaign is the story of Bhashwati, an advertising firm employee.

Living in a society driven by consumerism, her life changes when she comes across Mohua Roy, a former copywriter whose sudden departure is surrounded by mystery.
Her search for Mohua becomes a journey of self-discovery as she finds people who’ve sacrificed much to hold on to values rapidly eroding in modern Indian society. As relevant and impactful as it was at its publication, the book is a feminist perspective on the India of the 1990s.

It asks questions about modern urban life and our willingness to leave our genuine selves behind to get ahead in a never-ending race. The book forces you to introspect and re-evaluate the lifestyles we lead today.

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Title: Assassin

Author: Written by KR Meera, translated by J Devika

Publisher: Harper Perennial India

Price: 492

Pages: 664


Next on our list of Must-Read translated literature 2023 is this amazing book.

A thrilling work of contemporary Malayalam literature written by one of the biggest names in Indian literature and translated by one of the most prominent translators today, Assassin is a must-read. Satyapriya is a professional living alone in a city whose life changes when it’s targeted repeatedly. It seems like a random series of events until she finds a conspiracy network around her.

A complex portrayal of women’s challenges in modern India, the book is an intersection of power, patriarchy, caste, and money. Through Satyapriya’s eyes, we see the reality of women today and the harsh realities they face daily.

Meera seamlessly brings the personal and the political together while writing a politically charged story that flips between the present and the past. It’s a book that everyone must read to better understand the many realities of our country and society today.

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Dattapaharam: Call of the Forest

Title: Dattapaharam: Call of the Forest

Author: Written by V.J. James, translated by Ministhy S.

Publisher: Vintage Books

Price: 128

Pages: 288


Next on our list of Must-Read translated literature 2023 is this amazing book.

On Independence Day, Mahesh finds a news article about a forest dweller, Freddie Robert, who vanished without a trace. Freddie was a friend, a guide, and much more, the Yudhisthira of their group who disappeared in search of a rare bird.

With his friends, Mahesh would set out on a journey into the rainforest with his friends to find Freddie.

As their journey continues, the lines between human and nature, reality and imagination, all blur.
A surreal and complex novel from one of the most exciting voices writing today, using references from the epic Mahabharata, Dattapaharam is the story of man’s relationship with nature.

It’s a fable, a fairy tale, a philosophical meditation, all combined in one place. The language is experimental and poetic, with the translation by Ministhy S. transporting it remarkably to English.

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The Nitopadesha

Title: The Nitopadesha

Author: Translated by Nitin Pai

Publisher: Penguin eBury Press

Price: 250

Pages: 256


Next on our list of Must-Read translated literature 2023 is this amazing book.

Translated by Nitin Pai, this book is set in Gandhara, a land where the concept of citizenship and the moral dilemmas of being a responsible citizen are explored through several stories. In the janapada of Chakrapuri, the elders are deeply concerned by the self-interest and avarice displayed by the younger generation. Personal gains often take precedence over the welfare of the community, and recognizing this, the Sabha of Chakrapuri feels the need to impart values of good citizenship to the youth.

They turn to Nitina of Takshashila, a scholar known for his wisdom, to guide the children over the course of ninety days.
This, hence, is the premise from where these classic fables, much like the Panchatantra and the Jataka tales, take shape. It goes into the many aspects of citizenship, ethics, and the social fabric that citizens navigate.

The ethical dilemmas faced by citizens, the responsibilities of being part of a community, and how to address social issues are still relevant themes today. The book asks you what it means to be a responsible citizen and how individual actions can have an impact on the collective well-being of a society. Filled with simplicity and wisdom, it is a must-read for modern readers.

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Black Soil

Title: Black Soil

Author: Written by Ponneelan, translated by J. Priyadarshini

Publisher: Hamish Hamilton

Price: 479

Pages: 368


Next on our list of Must-Read translated literature 2023 is this amazing book.

It’s the story of life in Perumalpuram, a village in the black soil region of Tamil Nadu. We follow Kannappan, the newly appointed schoolteacher, an outsider in this close-knit community.

Ponneelan depicts the everyday brutality faced by the farmers at the hands of the sadistic and powerful landlord, “the Master.” The novel also portrays the realities of an orthodox community, where child marriage and the practice of marrying young boys to older women exist.

Through Kannappan’s gentle yet probing interactions, he tries to offer them a better life. As the farmers begin to rise against the oppressions imposed by the upper-caste landlord, Kannappan’s support for their cause renews their determination to fight for justice. J. Priyadarshnini does an incredible job of translating this classic into English while keeping the rage and complexities of the original.

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One Among You: The Autobiography of M.K. Stalin

Title: One Among You: The Autobiography of M.K. Stalin

Author: Written by M. K. Stalin, translated by A. S. Panneerselvan

Publisher: Penguin Viking

Price: 428

Pages: 152


Next on our list of Must-Read translated literature 2023 is this amazing book.

Spanning his formative years from 1953 to 1976, One Among You is a window into this prominent political figure’s life. The experiences and influences in this book shaped the man who would later become the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu.

Stalin’s journey into politics began in 1966 after establishing the Gopalapuram Youth Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam. Over the next five decades, he ascended the political ladder by taking on key roles.

From the Mayor of Chennai in 1996 and the President of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) in 2018 to the ultimate position of Chief Minister in 2021. Beyond politics, Stalin’s passion for art, theater, and cinema is a recurring theme that helps create a detailed portrait of the man. Translated by A.S. Panneerselvan, a known journalist and editor, the book is also a deep dive into the mechanics of Indian politics.

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Title: Didi

Author: Written by Nirupama Devi, translated by Alo Shome

Publisher: Rupa Publications India

Price: 264

Pages: 248


Next on our list of Must-Read translated literature 2023 is this amazing book.

Talking of a time when societal norms forced women into predefined roles, this novel is about a woman’s spirit who is unapologetically herself. Surama is assertive, and highly capable, and how she shoulders responsibilities and excels in them rivals any chief executive officer. Ironically though, within her marital life, she is relegated to the status of a co-wife.

The novel, rooted in the early 20th century when divorce wasn’t yet a legal option, creates a unique challenge for Surama: to lead a fulfilling life within her unusual circumstances.

The novel is a nuanced look at the society and its mechanisms at that time, with no black villains to point the misery at. Even Surama’s husband, Amar, who takes a younger woman as his second wife, is shown as a victim to societal norms. Surama’s inner turmoil, as she struggles to reconcile her love for her husband with her attempts to hate him, makes it all the more compelling. There’s also the unlikely friendship between Surama and Charu, Amar’s second wife.

Their relationship becomes a thread of solidarity that can exist between women, even in challenging circumstances. The book shows the challenges women have to face in every age and society and is a cry for change and breaking the boundaries of rituals and customs.

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Telgi : A Reporter's Diary

Title: Telgi : A Reporter's Diary

Author: Written by Sanjay Singh, translated by Gayatri Manchanda

Publisher: HarperCollins India

Price: 310

Pages: 228


This is the story of one of India’s most infamous criminals, Abdul Karim Telgi, and his journey of counterfeiting stamp paper. The book shows his rise from humble beginnings to the mastermind behind a colossal scam that rocked an entire nation.

In the late 1990s, Telgi spent a staggering 80 lakhs in a Mumbai dance bar, an act that caught the attention of the police, politicians, and the underworld, also setting Sanjay Singh, a young reporter with NDTV, to investigate the truth.

By the time of his arrest in 2001, his fake stamp paper scam had ballooned into an estimated 30,000 crore operation. This book looks at how Telgi managed to produce counterfeit stamp papers of quality that were virtually indistinguishable from the genuine ones.

From government officials to management executives, the book implicates a network of people who enable Telgi to carry out this massive scam. This is more than just a true crime exposé; it’s an essential read for understanding the complexities of white-collar crime and the underbelly of India’s criminal landscape.

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Lata Mangeshkar: A Life in Music

Title: Lata Mangeshkar: A Life in Music

Author: Written by Yatindra Mishra, translated by Ira Pande

Publisher: Penguin Viking

Price: 545

Pages: 420


This book is a heartfelt tribute to one of the greatest and most popular Indian singers of all time, the legendary Lata Mangeshkar, an icon of Indian music and culture. This biography celebrates her musical journey while also revealing little-known aspects of her life and personality and showing you the woman behind the melodious voice.

The book places Mangeshkar’s life and artistry in the broader context of India’s sociocultural evolution. The book spans the late British era to post-independent India, presenting the trajectory of a nation and its music. Mishra’s writing is as melodious as Mangeshkar’s songs. The book is a must-read for music enthusiasts and admirers of Lata Mangeshkar, as well as anyone interested in India’s cultural history. It’s an ode to the voice of the nation, a portrayal of an artist’s soul, and a proof of the impact that music leaves on the human spirit.

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Amritesh Mukherjee

Amritesh Mukherjee

Amritesh doesn't know what to do with his life, so he writes. He also doesn't know what to write, so he reads. Gift him a book if you chance upon him and he'll love you forever.

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