What the world is reading: Fiction by bestselling authors

The closure of the Paris metro for two hours will leave Vietnamese commuters with lingering thoughts. A Japanese soldier continues to fight World War II even after his country surrenders. Fed up with sexism at work, a woman fakes a pregnancy to get out of certain unpaid jobs.

Vivid characters and memorable storylines abound in five works of fiction, all originally published overseas and recently translated into English. Written by authors from Asia, Europe, and the Middle East, they offer a window into diverse cultures, customs, traditions, and national histories that may be unfamiliar to many English-speaking readers.

Reveals family secrets

In Zhang Yueran’s complex and captivating drama, Cocoon, two estranged childhood friends meet as adults.


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