Jen Calleja: Best Reads in 2015

Reading Lists

Here are the top three reads in 2015 from writer and translator (and editor, and curator) Jen Calleja. Jen translated Gregor Hens’ NICOTINE — published in November (you can read Gregor’s picks in the previous post).

Felicitas Hoppe, PICNIC OF THE VIRTUES (tr. Katy Derbyshire) (Readux Books, 2014)

It feels like a bit of a crime to only choose one of Readux’s mini books; each one is so absorbing and special. These five ‘vignettes’ were astounding, they made me feel excited about literature again. They seem to come from the rare depths of imagination that make it almost possible to replicate the strange uncanniness of dreams and the English prose has been exquisitely crafted by Katy Derbyshire.

Lina Wolff, BRET EASTON ELLIS AND THE OTHER DOGS (tr. Frank Perry) (And Other Stories, 2016)

I have to admit that I haven’t even read half of this book yet but I’m completely with it. It’s dark and exhilarating, with palettes of grey and the scent of mould one minute and red shoes and the best ice cream on the beach the next. I’m currently spying on the mysterious writer of feminist revenge stories Alba Cambó from the young narrator’s balcony…

Donna Tartt, THE GOLDFINCH (Abacus, 2014)

I read this while on holiday in Bulgaria at the end of the summer and like with Tartt’s previous books I was eager to get back into the world she had created the whole time I wasn’t reading it. It was just really satisfying to read – like if Harry Potter grew up to become a less psychotic, more pathetic Patrick Bateman. It might also have something to do with the fact that I remember books I read on holiday or when travelling so much clearer than when just reading in London…