English is one of the most widespread languages in the world. It should come as no surprise that nowadays the majority of books is written, printed, or translated into English. However, many great books were created by people that didn’t speak English and had to write in their own language. So, if you’re interested in familiarizing yourself with some of the most significant masterpieces of literature from non-English authors, you’ve come to the right place.
The Stranger by Albert Camus
Albert Camus was a French writer and philosopher that wrote many great novels. One of his classics was The Stranger, a book about a French-Algerian protagonist named Meursault who, after attending his mother’s funeral, gets involved in a murder case for which he is tried and convicted. The book had been published in 1942 and was later translated into many languages, including English.
Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Along with Leo Tolstoy, Fyodor Dostoyevsky was one of the most famous authors of literary realism in Russia in the 19th century. It is hard to pick only one book of this great writer, but Crime and Punishment was undoubtedly one of his most notable creations. In this book, Dostoyevsky tells a story about a struggling student from St. Petersburg, Rodion Raskolnikov, who lives in poverty and plans to commit murder of a pawnbroker in order to take her money.
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
Another French writer, Alexandre Dumas, was one of the greatest French novelists of all time. His most notable works include The Three Musketeers, Twenty Years After, and, of course, The Count of Monte Cristo. This adventure novel takes place in France, Italy, and the Mediterranean during Napoleon times. The novel’s protagonist, Edmond Dantes, embarks upon a plan to escape prison, where he was thrown in for being wrongfully convicted of a murder. His goal is to find a hidden treasure on the Isle of Monte Cristo and take vengeance for his incarceration.
The Motorcycle Diaries by Ernesto Guevara
Before he became one of the leaders of the Cuban revolution, Che Guevara had written a memoir of his South America travels published under the title Motorcycle Diaries: Notes on a Latin American Journey. In this biographical piece, Ernesto describes his 9-month-long journey across the continent and his fight to help the impoverished people.
War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
Considered to be one of the best Russian novels of all time, War and Peace takes place during the Napoleonic era and the French invasion of Russia and tells a story about lives of several aristocratic families from Russia. Apart from being one of the most important pieces of Russian literature, it is also one of the most influential historical novels of the 19th century.
The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
The Master and Margarita is another Russian classic that everybody should read. However, instead of the Napoleonic times, this novel described the life in Soviet Russia before the Second World War. This brilliant piece was first published in 1966, but it was heavily censored due to its satire elements.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
The most recent book on our list, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, is the work of a Swedish writer and journalist Stieg Larsson. The novel is about a journalist who, after resigning from his job, finds himself investigating a strange case of a missing girl from 40 years ago.