One of the biggest news stories out of the book world this year was Nobel Prize judge Horace Engdahl's criticism of American literature as being too insular and self-absorbed, and of American publishers as being too uninterested in translations. U.S. critics have furiously defended the quality of American fiction, but with new American translations of fiction and poetry numbering around 340 this year (according to international literature blog Three Percent), it's difficult to gainsay the second part of Engdahl's attack.
If you are among those looking to engage with the rest of the world's literature this year, have heart. Among those 340 books published in 2008 are some spectacular novels. Here are five of the best.