Fantasy Books From Around the World

I love reading fantasy, that is really no surprise to any one who knows my reading taste. In today’s post I want to talk about some fantasy novels/ short story collections written by authors from different continents that I’ve either read and loved or am eager to get my hands on.

North America:

So I guess we should start with talking about Canadian author Guy Gavriel Kay, also known as my favourite author. He writes really immersive historical fiction novels with minor fantasy elements. It’s nearly impossible to choose just one favourite from him but I really loved Tigana which was a novel inspired by medieval Italy which explored the importance of music, identity and memory and how memory, place names and identity can be used the tools of the oppressor.

I can never resist the opportunity to plug The Fifth Season by NK Jemisin, an American author. This book features a diverse cast of characters, most of whom are dark skinned, it also has a cool magic system, a mind blowing plot twist and engages in a really intelligent discussion of systemic oppression. I’ve read book one in the series twice and it was equally good both times round, all that is left for me to say is read it, read it!

Asia:

The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories by Chinese author Ken Liu who lives in the United States is an incredible short story collection which contains various science fiction and fantasy short stories. My favourite stories were both fantasy stories but there are numerous really special pieces in here which knocked my socks off which is saying something because short stories aren’t generally my thing. This collection deals with things like politics, Chinese and Taiwanese history, identity, family and love and it is really superb.

Dwellers by Filipino author Eliza Victoria is one I reviewed recently. Its a
stellar, disturbing little novella which packs a punch. It deals with the question of what we give up in order to run from our past and the situations which we can walk ourselves into. Its a fast paced read that will surprise you with all of its twists and turns.

Europe:

I know I said I’m not really one for short story collections but I would be remiss not to mention Castles in Spain, an anthology of Spanish science fiction and fantasy short stories edited by Elia Barcélo. While the science fiction pieces are arguably stronger there are some gems in the fantasy genre in here too. I would say that there is one story which has a questionable take on colonialism and indigenous people of South America which I did not enjoy but in spite of that I still enjoyed the collection, just be aware of this issue before you go in.

Latin America

One of my favourite books that I read for my read the world project last year was Signal to Noise by Silvia Moreno Garcia, a Mexican author. This book kind of straddles the line between magical realism and fantasy but I though I’d put it on this list anyway because I think it is really wonderful. The Mexico City which we are presented with feels really real and you really feel like you are there and it also has one of the most unlikeable main characters in a book but somehow that didn’t affect my enjoyment of the book because even if Meche was a pretty shitty human she seemed to be staying true to herself throughout. It examines friendship, privilege, poverty and power and it’s really amazing.

Here I go with another short story collection, I might convince you I like short stories or something but I am very excited to pick up Kalpa Imperial by Angelica Gorodischer, who is an Argentine author. Also this collection is translated by Ursula Le Guin, science fiction royalty. If that wasn’t enough the stories examine Kalpa Imperial, the empire that never was and discuss issues of politics and history.

Oceania:

I’m also looking forward to reading a book by an indigenous Australian author, Ambelin KwaymullinaThe Interrogation of Ashala Wolf. Reading more indigenous authors is a goal which I have set for myself in 2017 so I’ll hopefully be picking this book up to further that goal. Furthermore, it’s a post apocalyptic/ paranormal YA novel about a tribe of people who have paranormal abilities who band together to resist the government who are hell bent on killing them off in order to maintain ‘the balance’. Sounds sufficiently creepy and dramatic to keep me very amused.

Africa:

Apparently I haven’t read any fantasy by African authors nor do I have any on my tbr so if you want to suggest fantasy novels/ short story collections by African authors that you think I should read, then feel free to do so!

Anyway that’s the list, if you have anything to add feel free to let me know in the comments!

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2 thoughts on “Fantasy Books From Around the World

  1. I loved Signal To Noise too! The Mexico the author presented is the Mexico I wish people outside of Mexico knew about. :/ I’m just glad we have authors like Silvia Moreno-Garcia writing these stories. UP next is Certain Dark Things!

    The most obvious choice for African Fantasy novels are Nnedi Okorafor’s work! Binti and Binti: Home , Akata Witch, Who Fears Death. Also, I just won this African Monsters anthology in a giveaway. Very excited to read it! Here’s the goodreads link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27877802-african-monsters?from_search=true

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    1. I’m not normally a vampire person (Twilight ruined vampires for me) Certain Dark Things is one I’ve been too-ing and fro-ing over picking up so I look forward to seeing you review it at some point 🙂

      As a rule I try to determine where an author’s from on the basis of where they were born/ have lived the majority of their life. As far as I know Okorafor is Nigerian-American so she doesn’t really come within my definition even though she has a close connection to Africa and most of her novels are set in/ derive some inspiration from Africa. On a side note I felt Binti was mediocre and I hated Lagoon so I have a feeling that Okorafor and I may not just be a good fit for each other. Now that anthology sounds amazing, I’m definitely going to look into it further Naz, thanks for bringing it to my attention!

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