Aspal Press is an independent London-based publishing house mainly dedicated to translating and publishing European literary gems for English speaking readers. Our Aspal Vintage imprint focusses on masterpieces of the late 19th and early 20th centuries while Aspal Prime is dedicated to contemporary novels which have been best sellers in their original language. In addition our Aspal Classics imprint offers a selection of classics by mostly English authors which have been unjustly neglected in recent years.

Aspal Prime

Out Now

Some Kind of Company

by Nan Östman

 

Translated from the Swedish

 

An antidote to Swedish noir? This first English translation of a novel by the well-known Swedish author Nan Östman tells the gentle but compelling story of Anna, an aging Swedish translator, living in the country with her almost silent husband, Håkan.  She feels that life is passing her by and decides to take matters in hand  by advertising for a male penfriend.  The consequences are both surprising and engaging and show a hitherto less familiar aspect of Swedish society.

Reviews of this book
‘By the time I had read the first few pages of this book, I knew I was going to like it. What I did not anticipate was just how completely I was going to fall in love with it, and with the main characters, Anna and Bo.
Set against the backdrop of rural Sweden we experience the harshness of the weather and how it feels to be completely cut off and alone… Elegantly depicted, the snow ice found me reaching for a cardigan as I was so engaged with Anna’s life and surroundings that I was physically experiencing the cold alongside her.
I am completely enchanted by this very special book, and I am already looking forward to re-reading it. Put simply; it is a beautiful, gentle and captivating novel and I highly recommend it.’

(Annie at leftontheshelfbookblog.blogspot.com)

‘I enjoyed this book… it is very different from all the other Nordic books I have read … a hidden gem rediscovered and a perfect first read for Woman in translation month.’

(From Winstonsdad’s blog Home of Translated fiction and #translationthurs)

Come with me

by Nicola Viceconti

 

Translated from the Italian by Laura Bennett.

 

The eighty-year-old Professor Franco Solfi, a disillusioned former communist, discovers a note in the pocket of an old coat from the love of his life, a Russian girl called Irina. He had believed that she was dead, but is now convinced that she is alive and crosses two continents in an attempt to find her.

Reviews of this book
‘This is such a wonderfully heart-warming novel. An elderly man who discovers that the love of his life is not dead, as he had believed and sets out to find her. I was immediately captivated by the premise.

It contains all the ingredients of a book that made me want to sit down quietly and read through from the first page to the last in one sitting. This was entirely possible as the book is only 170 pages long and it was a joyous way to spend a Sunday afternoon.’

(Annie at leftontheshelfbookblog.blogspot.com)

Reviews of this book
‘By the time I had read the first few pages of this book, I knew I was going to like it. What I did not anticipate was just how completely I was going to fall in love with it, and with the main characters, Anna and Bo.
Set against the backdrop of rural Sweden we experience the harshness of the weather and how it feels to be completely cut off and alone… Elegantly depicted, the snow ice found me reaching for a cardigan as I was so engaged with Anna’s life and surroundings that I was physically experiencing the cold alongside her.
I am completely enchanted by this very special book, and I am already looking forward to re-reading it. Put simply; it is a beautiful, gentle and captivating novel and I highly recommend it’

(Annie at leftontheshelfbookblog.blogspot.com)

‘I enjoyed this book… it is very different from all the other Nordic books I have read … a hidden gem rediscovered and a perfect first read for Woman in translation month.’

(From Winstonsdad’s blog Home of Translated fiction and #translationthurs)

Tales from the Italian South

by Angelina Brasacchio

 

Translated from the Italian

 

These eight stories by Angelina Brasacchio are set amid the rugged scenery and white sand beaches of the Italian South. But this is the Italy, not as seen by tourists, but of the inhabitants deeply rooted in the soil of Calabria. We are drawn into their everyday lives and particularly their relationships with ‘outsiders’ whether gypsies, American soldiers blown in by the winds of war, or refugees fleeing their homelands because of persecution or poverty.

Reviews of this book
“… the hearts and souls of the protagonists in the author’s evocatively told tales are deeply rooted in the soil of Calabria. Spanning lives and generations, dramas unfold in the everyday lives of these Calabrians – and we watch their encounters, and catch glimpses of unfulfilled yearnings, family ties, old enmities. Powerful and finely crafted.”

(Italia! magazine, January 2022 issue.)

“Tales of the Italian South is a slender volume of eight exquisite short stories, all of which are oozing with the atmosphere of its geographical landscape. However, these stories are about the past, and the draw that they have on people to return. Many of these tales were about going back; about our need to return to the place where we began… From Romany gypsies to Syrian refugees, these stories illuminate the interconnectedness between all peoples.

This is an excellent anthology of short stories, and I highly recommend reading them.”

(Annie at leftontheshelfbookblog.blogspot.com)

Aspal Vintage

Out Now

Jewish Women

by Max Brod

Translated from the German

The first ever translation of Max Brod’s novel (originally published in German in Berlin, 1911) which portrays the prosperous and settled world of assimilated Prague Jewry before the First World War – the world not only of Max Brod but also of his life-long friend, the writer Franz Kafka.

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Reviews of this book

‘A superb book to be sure.’

(NB Books)

‘… beautifully evokes the tensions of class, Zionism and nationalism that were about to sweep Europe.’

(Jewish Renaissance)

‘…Max Brod’s popular novel … first published in 1911 and now reissued in a lucid translation.’

(The Times Literary Supplement)

Arnold Beer: The Fate of a Jew

by Max Brod

Translated from the German

This novel by Max Brod was first published in Berlin in 1912. The eponymous hero Arnold Beer is a young Jewish man living in the assimilated community of Prague. He is talented but something of a dandy and dilettante. Some aspects of Brod’s novel are clearly autobiographical – Beer is heavily involved in the promotion of an air show and there are clear echoes of the show in Brescia in 1909 which Brod and his friend Franz Kafka attended.

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Three Sentimental Stories

by Paolo Bettoni

Translated from the Italian

These tales belong to the ‘sentimental’ genre of Charles Dickens.  Innocent and virtuous souls are plagued by poverty and sometimes by malevolent guardians and neighbours.  Occasionally fate intervenes through generous and honest benefactors.

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Short Stories

by Hans Arnold

Translated from the German

Six cameos of domestic life in North Germany in the mid-19th century, mainly concerning affairs of the heart. Arnold has  a light and sympathetic touch and a legendary talent for farce.

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The Innocents

by Alfredo Panzini

Translated from the Italian

Three short stories about individuals who through no fault of their own have suffered life changing traumas and in their struggle for happiness are destined to be thwarted by a seemingly malign fate aided by their own unworldliness.

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Forthcoming titles

The Cedar of Lebanon 

by Grazia Deledda

Translated from the Italian

 

The Cedar of Lebanon is a collection of thirty-one short stories which were written towards the end of Nobel prize winner Deledda’s life and published posthumously. The collection contains themes which were dear to Deledda’s heart and draw on both her Sardinian childhood and her later years in Rome.

The Happy Ones

by Marie Bernhard

Translated from the German

 

A novel set in a hotel high in the Bavarian Alps. A young couple and their child arrive and soon the other guests are calling them ‘the happy ones’. They have every appearance of being the perfect family but all is not what it seems.

Aspal Classics

Out Now

A Well Full of Leaves

by Elizabeth Myers

(Available on Amazon as ebook and paperback and also as an Apple ebook)

A Well Full of Leaves begins with the childhood of the heroine Laura and her three siblings in a dysfunctional family somewhere in the North of England in the 1920s. In spite of the dire circumstances in which she is brought up, Laura’s enthusiasm for life enables her to experience the ‘singing and the gold’ not only in nature but in the most mundane of her surroundings.

Mrs Christopher

by Elizabeth Myers

(Available as Amazon and Apple ebooks)

Mrs Christopher focusses on the nature of good and evil and reflects the author’s Christian faith as well as her literary genius. It opens dramatically with a murder which initially seemed to represent salvation for the blackmail victims of the deceased but turns out to be the ultimate test of their morality.

Elizabeth’s German Garden

by Elizabeth von Arnim

(Available as an Apple ebook)

In this semi-autobiographical novel Elizabeth recounts the pleasure she takes in her garden at Nassenheide, Pomerania in Germany. She delights in each season and experiences her garden as an escape from domestic life with her husband, whom she describes as the Man of Wrath, and her five children.

Expiation

by Elizabeth von Arnim

(Available as Amazon and Apple e-books)

The novel opens with the heroine, Millie, discovering that her wealthy and recently deceased husband has written her out of his will on account of her discreet but long-standing adultery during their marriage. As the plot unfolds we watch the husband’s wider family struggle to hide any consequent scandal and maintain their respectability in a south London middle-class suburb. The author paints a vivid picture of the social mores of the time and particularly the subservient role which women of the time were subjected to.

The Books of Downton Abbey

Volume One – by Aspal Press

(Available as Amazon and Apple ebooks)

In most of the episodes of the TV series Downton Abbey there are references to contemporary literature, and authors. Since some of the works referred to can be daunting in size, we are publishing a series of Readers which include extracts from the larger books and in some cases the entirety of the smaller ones. Our series is intended to give Downton devotees a ‘taste’ of some of the books referred to and to enable them to decide which works they would like to read in greater depth. Volume One contains extracts from A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens and The Duke’s Children by Anthony Trollope, and the whole of the poem Gunga Din by Rudyard Kipling.

The Books of Downton Abbey

Volume Two – by Aspal Press

(Available as Amazon and Apple ebooks)

This is the second volume of ‘The Books of Downton Abbey’, and continues the theme of the first volume – to give readers a ‘taste’ of the numerous literary works referred to in the Downton Abbey TV series. This volume includes an extract from Little Women by Louisa M. Alcott, The Time Machine by H.G. Wells (in its entirety), and an extract from Treasure Island by Sir Robert Louis Stevenson.

Reuben Sachs

by Amy Levy

(Available as Amazon and Apple e-books)

The central theme of Reuben Sachs, published in 1888, is the London Jewish Community of the late 19th century and in particular the relationship between Reuben Sachs and Judith Quixano. The novel highlight the differences between the so-called Sephardi Jews (from Spain via Amsterdam) and Ashkenzi Jews (from Poland and Eastern Europe). Reuben Sachs is Ashkenazi while Judith Quixano is a member of the well-established and integrated Sephardi community.

Miss Meredith

by Amy Levy

(Available as Amazon and Apple ebooks)

Elsie Meredith is one of three unmarried daughters of a widowed mother living in London in straightened circumstances. Elsie receives an offer of an engagement as governess with an aristocratic Italian family living in Pisa, the central Italian town with its famous leaning tower. With much trepidation she sets out on an adventure which includes both a romance and an unexpected ending. Much of the novel is focussed on Elsie’s growing appreciation of the beauties of the ancient town while she struggles with her feelings for the eldest son of the family who is visiting from the United States.