What the world is reading: Fiction by bestselling authors

A two-hour stop on the Paris Metro sends a Vietnamese passenger into a long and moving reverie. A Japanese soldier continues to fight World War II years after his country’s surrender. Fed up with workplace sexism, a woman fakes a pregnancy to escape certain unpaid jobs.

Vivid characters and memorable plots 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 a variety of national cultures, customs, traditions and histories, which may be unfamiliar to many English-speaking readers.

Dig up family secrets

Two estranged childhood friends meet as adults in Zhang Yueran’s complex and gripping drama “Cocoon”.

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