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Novella book recommendations : the list

Sorry it took me almost a month to compile the list of novella recommendations I gathered after my billet asking for reading ideas.

I listed all the book titles left in the comments and also the list of novellas from Mrs Bibi Lophile’s A Novella a Day In May. Lisa from ANZ LitLovers has a list of novellas on her blog. (See here) Jonathan Gibbs from Tiny Camels also had novella reading challenge, see here. I’m sure there are other blogs with challenges like this or lists of novellas but these are the ones I’m aware of.

Thanks a lot for responding to my post.

Now apart from Lisa’s and Jonathan’s list, let’s see what I gathered:

# French title English title Author Country # pages
1 La partie de cartes The Game of Cards Adolf Schröder Germany 178
2 Non traduit Such Small Hands Andres Barbas Spain 112
3 Parler seul Talking to Ourselves Andrés Neuman Argentina 168
4 La steppe. Histoire d’un voyage The Steppe Anton Chekhov Russia 160
5 Pereira prétend Pereira Maintains Antonio Tabucchi Italy 213
6 Nocturne indien Indian Nocturne Antonio Tabucchi Italy 126
7 Un bref mariage The Story of a Brief Marriage Anuk Arudpragasam Sri Lanka 208
8 Non traduit Our Spoons Came From Woolworth Barbara Comyns UK
9 Les boutiques de cannelle The Street of Crocodiles Bruno Schulz Poland 208
10 Djamilia Jamilia Chingiz Aitmatov Russia 96
11 Un homme au singulier A Single Man Christopher Isherwood UK 175
12 Le blé en herbe The Ripening Seed Colette France
13 Les aventures de Kornél Esti Kornél Esti Dezső Kosztolányi Hungary 154
14 Non traduit Madame Verona Comes Down the Hill Dimitri Verhulst Belgium 160
15 Non traduit Mirror, Shoulder, Signal Dorothy Nors Denmark 188
16 Psaumes balbutiés. Livre d’heures de ma mère Stammered Songbook : A Mother’s Book of Hours Erwin Mortier Belgium 192
17 Le brigand bien-aimé The Robber Bridgegroom Eudora Welty USA 144
18 L’oncle Daniel le généreux The Ponder Heart Eudora Welty USA 132
19 La troisième Miss Symons The Third Miss Symons FM Mayor UK 127
20 Le dimanche des mères Mothering Sunday Graham Swift UK 141
21 Les années douces Strange Weather in Tokyo Hiromi Kawakami Japan 283
22 Contes hassidiques Not available in English I.L. Peretz Poland 171
23 Sur la plage de Chesil On Chesil Beach Ian McEwan UK 183
24 Un Bonheur de Rencontre The Comfort of Strangers Ian McEwan UK 217
25 Non traduit After Claude Iris Owens USA 232
26 Le restaurant de l’amour retrouvé The Restaurant of Love Regained Ito Ogawa Japan 224
27 Premier amour et autres histoires First Love Ivan Turgenev Russia
28 Non traduit After Leaving Mr Mackenzie Jean Rhys UK
29 Voyage dans les ténèbres Voyage in the Dark Jean Rhys UK 207
30 Quartet Quartet Jean Rhys UK 144
31 Non traduit We who are about to… Joanna Russ USA 144
32 La maison muette The Dumb House John Burnside UK 208
33 Hôtel Savoy Hotel Savoy Josef Roth Austria 188
34 Si nous vivions dans un endroit normal Quesadillas Juan Pablo Villalobos Mexico 192
35 La compagnie des Tripolitaines Under the Tripoli Sun Kamel Ben Hameda Lybia 108
36 Comédie en mode mineur Comedy in a Minor Key Keilson Germany 227
37 Code barre Not available in English Krisztina Tóth Hungary 208
38 La mer couleur de vin The Wine-dark Sea Leonardo Sciascia Italy 210
39 Un regard de sang Seeing Red Lina Meruane Chile 224
40 Non traduit Birds of America Lorrie Moore USA 291
41 La femme de Gilles La Femme de Gilles Madeleine Bourdouxhe Belgium 154
42 L’Odyssée de Pénélope The Penelopiad Margaret Atwood Canada 159
43 Ours Bear Marian Engel Canada 141
44 La douleur porte un costume de plumes Grief is the Thing With Feathers Max Porter UK 114
45 La Solution finale The Final Solution Michael Chabon USA 105
46 Demoiselles aux moyens modestes The Girls of Slender Means Muriel Sparks UK 170
47 L’empreinte de l’ange The Mark of an Angel Nancy Huston Canada 328
48 La poursuite de l’amour The Pursuit of Love Nancy Mitford UK 253
49 Non traduit Up the Junction Nell Dunn UK 133
50 La couleur du lait The Colour of Milk Nell Leyshon UK 186
51 Clair-obscur Passing Nella Larsen USA 122
52 Non traduit Devil by the Sea Nina Bawden UK 175
53 Falaises Cliffs Olivier Adam France 206
54 La Théorie du panda The Panda Theory Pascal Garnier France 176
55 L’affaire Lolita The Bookshop Penelope Fitzgerald UK 188
56 Le mangeur de citrouille The Pumpkin Eater Penelope Mortimer UK 184
57 Non traduit The Murder of Halland Pia Juul Denmark 167
58 Non traduit The Disappearance of Signora Giulia Piero Chiara Italy 128
59 Le retour du soldat The Return of the Soldier Rebecca West. UK 112
60 Non traduit Two Pints Roddy Doyle UK 85
61 Le son de ma voix The Sound of My Voice Ron Butlin UK 122
62 Les braises Ashes Sándor Márai Hungary 219
63 L’héritage d’Esther Esther’s Inheritance Sándor Márai Hungary 156
64 Piège pour Cendrillon Trap for Cinderella Sebastien Japrisot France 240
65 Non traduit Stuck Like Lint Shefali Tripathi Mehta India 156
66 Nous avons toujours vécu au château We Have Always Lived in the Castle Shirley Jackson USA 234
67 Le garçon qui n’existait pas Moonstone: The Boy Who Never Was Sjón Iceland 150
68 La cote 400 The Library of Unrequited Love Sophie Divry France 94
69 Lettre d’une inconnue Letter from an Unknown Woman Stefan Zweig Austria 138
70 Le voyage dans le passé Journey into the Past Stefan Zweig Austria 177
71 Le chat qui venait du ciel The Guest Cat Takashi Hiraide Japan 130
72 La sonate à Kreutzer The Kreutzer Sonata Tolstoy Russia 122
73 Au commencement était la mer In the Beginning was the Sea Tomás González Colombia 221
74 La passe dangereuse The Painted Veil W. Somerset Maugham UK 182
75 Le pont d’Alexandre Alexander’s Bridge Willa Cather USA 176
76 Une dame perdue A Lost Lady Willa Cather USA 190
77 Non traduit They Came Like Swallows William Maxwell USA 140
78 En lisant Tourgeniev Reading Turgeniev William Trevor UK 236
79 Ma Maison en Ombrie My House in Umbria William Trevor UK 188
80 La piscine The Diving Pool Yoko Ogawa Japan 71
81 La formule préférée du professeur The Housekeeper and the Professor Yoko Ogawa Japan 244

I’m sure anyone can find some reading bliss among all these books. The numbers in blue correspond to books I’ve already read. As you can see, I have a lot to explore.

Enjoy! And let me know if you read any of these.

PS: There’s also the Novella tag at Whispering Gums.

And I was so focused on other people’s recommendations that I forgot two of my own: The Poor Man’s Son by Mouloud Feraoun and The Anarchist Banker by Fernando Pessoa.

  1. June 10, 2018 at 10:36 pm

    Some wonderful novellas here and also many I haven’t read – I’m thinking of doing novellas next May too, so I will definitely be returning to this post many times 🙂 Thank you for such a great resource!


  2. June 10, 2018 at 11:27 pm

    I love The painted Veil. I’ve read Alexander’s Bridge, The panda Theory, My House in Umbria, The Ponder heart, the Robber Bridegroom, First Love, all the Rhys, and a couple of others.


    • June 11, 2018 at 9:40 pm

      I hope some titles are new to you too!


  3. June 11, 2018 at 6:44 am

    I also have a list of novellas on my blog – via the Novella tag in my sidebar – it includes Novellas I’ve reviewed, plus one or two specific posts about novellas. the definition is interesting actually because doing it by pages, which is roughly how I do it, isn’t quite right given printing and the wide variety in words per page. I made 200 pages my rough limit, though a couple go over, and I think some 200 page books are well in excess of the technical definition which is, as I understand it, by word count. (But, what readers count words!!)

    But, technicality aside, I love your list. Quite a few new ones for me in there!


    • June 11, 2018 at 9:47 pm

      Thanks for mentioning the Novella tag on your blog.
      The definition isn’t clear but for me too, it’s around 200 pages. The thing is, French requests more words than English. So a 200 pages English book will be more than 200 pages in French because of the language.
      And then, there’s the size of paperbacks: French ones are usually smaller.
      In the end, a Penguin 200 pages book will be a lot more than 200 pages in its French paperback Folio edition.
      Take Quartet by Jean Rhys: 144 pages in Penguin, 188 pages in Folio. +30%


      • June 12, 2018 at 12:17 am

        Yes, exactly, Emma, which makes page definition very loose, but I can live with it.

        I liked your point about French needing more words than English. You notice this sort of thing when you listen to interpreters, don’t you. The difference between languages can be noticeable.


        • June 16, 2018 at 7:52 am

          Yes, you can also hear the difference when you listen to interpreters. But they don’t always translate everything. They don’t have time.
          French is longer because of its structure but also because there are less words than in English. Where you have one verb (like: to elope), we’ll have a phrase because there’s no precise verb for it.

          Liked by 1 person

          • June 16, 2018 at 9:25 am

            Thanks Emma. I don’t think I knew that about fewer words. Love learning about language.


  4. June 11, 2018 at 9:15 am

    Oh, oh, oh, there are two by William Trevor! I just love William Trevor’s writing!

    Someone, I can’t remember who, hosted a meme called Novellas in November, which I thought was a terrific idea, because everybody is so busy in the leadup to Christmas, a short novel can be just what is needed at that time. This list would certainly come in handy if the meme comes back again:)


    • June 11, 2018 at 9:48 pm

      I have never read William Trevor but I’m very tempted to try one of his books?

      Kaggys mentions the Novellas in November meme too. Who knows, maybe the person who organises it will pop up?

      Liked by 1 person

  5. June 11, 2018 at 4:46 pm

    What an interesting list! Yes – certainly useful for the Novellas in November meme (which I think I took part in once!)


    • June 11, 2018 at 9:49 pm

      Thanks. I hope it’ll give you ideas. Do you know who organises the Novellas in November meme?

      Liked by 1 person

      • June 11, 2018 at 10:05 pm

        PoppyPeacockPens ran #novellanov in 2015 and so that’s probably what I’m thinking of. Her blog is currently private, alas, but she may be on Twitter or Instagram?


        • June 16, 2018 at 7:49 am

          Thanks. Too bad her blog is now private, I had a subscription.

          Liked by 1 person

  6. June 12, 2018 at 3:21 pm

    I have not been able to find the table of contents for Contes hassidiques, but my guess, based on the length, is that all or almost all of it can be found in English in The I. L. Peretz Reader, a marvelous book.


    • June 16, 2018 at 8:01 am

      Thanks! I have trouble finding out which books are available in English, especially for short stories, unless it’s a collection published by the author himself like Dubliners.


  7. June 17, 2018 at 2:47 am

    I finally came up with an author and novella that isn’t on your list. Of course just about everything Muriel Spark and Penelope Fitzgerald wrote could be considered novellas, and since you have both of them on your list that is fine. However one of my favorite novellas is ‘The Visitor’ by Maeve Brennan.


  8. June 20, 2018 at 8:05 pm

    Excellent list! There’s a nice mix of things I’ve read and liked, things I want to read, and things I’ve never heard of! I loved Pereira Maintains in particular 👍


    • June 23, 2018 at 9:33 pm

      I received a lot of great recommendations about many books I’d never heard of. I hope it’ll help you discover new books.


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