I would like to know which authors readers rate in translation. I know that a lot depends on a good translator, but the style and humour etc of the original writer do come through sometimes in spite of a translator's quirks. Does anyone know much about Japanese or other Asian crime writers available in English.


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Ryu Murakami (In the Miso Soup, Piercing, Coin Locker Babies, 69, Almost Transparent Blue. These are more literary-oriented, and not all would probably classify specifically as crime. The first two definitely would.)
Miyuki Miyabe (All She Was Worth, Crossfire, Shadow Family)
Natsuo Kirino (Out and Grotesque are the only ones in English, so far)
Haruki Murakami (more literary, but most have a mystery aspect. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle is my favorite, and he also has books of short stories which are very good)
Akira Yoshimura (On Parole is a book about a man's life after leaving prison)
Kenzo Kitakata (The Cage is considered a classic)

Haruki Murakami has particularly good translators, but all these authors came across good in translation to me, but then I have not read them in their original Japanese, so I can't compare.
thanks, this is useful and I will have to start reading. I fear that crime fiction in translation is like an iceberg and at any one time the visible element is a small part of the whole. Sadly even good crime/mystery fiction does not remain in print long if the sales figures are not good enough which is also true for writers in English and for children's authors. Sales/marketing rules and even libraries get rid of stock very quickly. I requested a DVD and was told that if it hadn't been taken out in the last 6 months it probably had been deleted from the stock... Second hand bookshops here I come.

All the authors I listed are still in print and available at Amazon.com
I think Massimo Carlotto and Arnaldur Indridason are both excellent in translation. I sometimes feel one step removed from books in translation but those two are great. Any of the Bitter Lemon Press ones are good too.
I just read my first Arnaldur Indridason (Silence of the Grave) and I really enjoyed it.
Indridason is supeerb. Ordered one of his book from amazon in the UK because it wasn't available yet in the US. Also can get Ian Rankin's books before they're available here. Good source, but books are more expensive in the UK because they publish more titles.
I'd just support Donna's mention of Bitter Lemon Press - they have a great list - and all the ones I have read thus far have had good translations.

Jan Costin Wagner's Ice Moon is a ripper in translation - no humour mind you (and not Asian) :)

I've also enjoyed Fred Vargas (translated from French), but she's not for everyone's tastes - bit of woo woo.
I agree about Bitter Lemon Press, Harvill Secker is good too, and Serpent's Tale. In the UK there was an interesting book tour in spring 2006 - the Bloody Foreigners book tour - as a response to the CWA removing books in translation from being elegible for their golden dagger awards. Now they have the Duncan Lawrie award for books in translation and The Three Evangelists by Vargas won it last year.

I like Vargas but she is an acquired taste as she is both literary and stylish but dealing with crime but not as gutsy as some writers. Her latest novel (not yet translated but on the cards for next Jan) The Eternal Forest (Dans les bois eternels) is more gory with a serial killer. However they are often slow at the beginning.
Haruki Murakami's HARD BOILED WONDERLAND AND THE END OF THE WORLD was alternate parts brilliant and cringeworthy. Koji Suzuki's RING had a similar effect on me.

At the moment I'm powering through Henning Mankell's FACELESS KILLERS (translated from Swedish). Aside from the odd translation hiccup here and there (some of it just doesn't sound right to the English ear), its bleak mood is great.
I recently started the first book in Jean Claude Izzo's "Marseilles Trilogy." I like it. I'll probably read the next two as a result.
Yes, he is good, though being a francofile I have read it in French as I tend to with most French authors. I just love getting lost in the language. I love the way that crime novels give you a sense of place and show you the underbelly that as a tourist you might not be aware of. Have you read Petros Makarios, who now has two books out in English?
I have not. What can you tell us about him?


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