The Ultimate Summer Escape: Historical Fiction

New novels — by turns salty, sweeping and sweet — will transport you to 1930s Italy, 19th-century England and San Francisco a hundred years ago.

By Alida Becker

If you think of historical fiction as a way of translating the past, does your perspective change when that fiction has been translated from another language? As some of the season’s best new historical novels suggest, this added dimension can make a book even richer, even more provocative. And none demonstrates that better than Frank Wynne’s translation of Alice Zeniter’s THE ART OF LOSING (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 434 pp., $28), which won France’s Prix Goncourt des Lycéens. Its central character is a young Frenchwoman attempting to reconnect with the Algeria that shaped and then silenced her paternal grandfather.

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