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7 bestselling fictions that were actually translations

From providing a tinge of multiculturalism to producing an entirely new tone on classics, translations, especially the contemporary translations have everything to offer. Continue reading to elevate your literary experience.


Books are the repository of the feelings of solace and satisfaction. They are home to many, and experience to myriads. They are not only the words with good fonts written on the papers with yellower or whiter shade but also the most significant links for various cultures, traditions and languages coming together to make people realize the worth of their time, and knowledge.

A similar task is stupendously done by those translated books which cast awe over people with their abilities to translate not only sentences but a complete enthralling phenomenon. This quality is what earns those books a tag of bestsellers.

Nonetheless, you must have read certain of those translated masterpieces with or without knowing their original sources. TSA brings to you a list of 7 books including some modern classics which you might have read without realizing that they are the translations from their original languages. Continue reading to know about some of the international bestsellers which are actually the translations.

1) “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho

Original Language- Portuguese

Original Title- “O Alquimista”

Do not tell me this book was never on your TBR list! This marvellous combination of mysticism, wisdom and wonder weaved so truthfully into words by Paulo Coelho is a translation from its original Portuguese language. With its translated text reaching all over the globe, this inspiring tale continues to enthuse the lives of countless readers across the generations.

Pic Credit- Amazon

2) “Perfume: The Story of a Murderer” by Patrick Süskind

Original Language- German
Original Title- “Das Parfum: Die Geschichte eines Mörders”

An astonishingly twisted plot with an entirely new kind of theme and an acclaimed bestseller, this absorbing story of murder and obsession by Patrick Süskind was originally written in German. This book so rightly titled Perfume is sure to immerse its readers in aromatic pleasure. Read it yourself to know the power of the sense of smell, the indulgence of which even leads to murder. Welllll…okay!

Pic Credit: Amazon

3)  “The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo” by Steig Larson.

Original Language- Swedish.
Original Title- Män som hatar kvinnor (Men Who Hate Women)

An unputdownable thriller which requires no introduction must have surely made it to every bibliophile’s bookshelf. The Millenium series that began with “The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo” has got its due by becoming this generation’s international bestselling phenomenon. The book however is translated from its original Swedish language. Read this wonderful series yourself to experience an enthralling journey of knowing some most heroic of survivors and some heartless of villains ever written down.

Pic Credit- NPR

4) “The Boy in the Suitcase” by Lene Kaaberbøl and Agnete Friss


Original Language- Danish

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A New York Times bestseller, this crime fiction originally translated from the Danish language is written by two female writers. This book soon became an international bestseller after its release in 2011. If you pick up this one, you won’t be able to put it down until you reach the last page just to treat yourself with an appealing surprise ending. So what are you waiting for? Include this in your TBR list to read a crime novel where everything is just so perfect.

Pic Credit- Goodreads

5) “1Q84” by Haruki Murakami

Original Language- Japanese

The year is 1984 and the setting in Tokyo. This Japanese love story among myriad other themes of discovery, self-realization, and fantasy- 1Q84 is perhaps Haruki Murakami’s most adventurous undertaking yet- and probably that’s what makes it an instant bestseller globally. The story starts with a real-world in 1984 but this world has two moons in the sky. In this world, the fates of two people are closely intertwined and this is what makes 1984, 1Q84- “Q is for the Question mark. A world that bears a question”.

Image Credit- Goodreads

6. “The Hangman’s Daughter” by Oliver Pötzsch

Original Language- German
Original Title- “Die Henkerstochter”


This elegantly enumerated historical thriller with its fine details is an internationally acclaimed novel by German television screenwriter Oliver Pötzsch. Set in 18th century Bavaria, a time in the historical place when the devil was as real as anything, this historical fiction is about a compassionate hangman who with the help of his clever daughter unravels the truth of a devil and tries to prevent bloodshed but probably it’s too late.

Pic Credit- BookPage

7. “Like Water for Chocolate” by Laura Esquival

Original Language- German
Original Title- “Como Agua Para Chocolate”

It’s one of those books that you have to read. A romantic yet poignant tale with elements of earthiness and acerbic wit, this fiction is originally written in German by Laura Esquival became a bestseller around the world soon after it came out. The description of an emotional life with unrequited love and unaltered passion is weaved deliciously in 12 chapters- one each for a month with a recipe. Read it yourself to construe this bridge between cooking and emotions. This translation is assuredly a delicious feast- also in the literal sense of the term.

Pic Credit- Openlibrary

So, this is how a list of bestselling translations looks like. Tell us in the comments if you want to know more of them. Till then, stay tuned to our literature section.


Also Read:

8 Classic English translations from across the globe

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