Summer reading recommendations from PRI’s The World

Courtesans and OpiumLooking for a good summer novel that goes beyond your conventional beach reading? Well, Bill Marx from PRI’s The World offers four recommendations of fiction in translation.

The list includes The Halfway House, by Guillermo Rosales, In the United States of Africa, by Abraham Waberi, The Essential Yusuf Idris: Masterpieces of the Egyptian Short Story, by Yusuf Idris, and our own Courtesans and Opium: Romantic Illusions of the Fool of Yangzhou, by Anonymous and translated by Patrick Hanan.

Here’s what Bill Marx had to say about Courtesans and Opium:

You want a racy, nineteenth-century epic about sex, sin, drugs, and prostitution set in China? Here it is, a bawdy journey by five brothers through the gaudy brothels of Yangzhou. The novel’s alleged purpose was to serve as a cautionary tale. The book’s sensual gusto overwhelms any taint of moralism.