13 Horror Novels From Other Countries That Are Really Freakin' Terrifying

You (and me and everyone else) should be reading more books in translation, and now's the perfect time to add some spooky horror novels from around the world to your TBR. You might never have heard of these authors before, but trust me, you're going to want to read their scary stories for yourself.

If you watch a lot of scary movies, you know there are some truly distinct differences between western and non-western horror. Watching a Japanese horror movie, or even an American remake of a Japanese horror movie, is a different experience entirely from watching an American classic like Friday the 13th or A Nightmare on Elm Street.

In the same way, horror novels published outside the U.S. have a certain special something you just can't find in American scary stories. The 13 novels on the list below were originally published in 10 languages spanning 12 countries across the globe. They represent only a fraction of the books in translation published each year, which make up about three percent of English-language publishing overall. So if you're looking for a book your friends definitely haven't heard about, look no further.

Check out the 13 spooky horror novels from around the world that I've chosen to share with you below:

'Fever Dream' by Samanta Schweblin, translated by Megan McDowell (Spanish, Argentina)

In Samanta Schweblin's Fever Dream, a vacationing woman wakes up in a rural, Argentinian hospital, where she meets a strange, young boy who is very curious as to how she became ill.

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'Valley of Terror' by Zhou Haohui, translated by Bonnie Huie (Mandarin, China)

When the citizens of Longzhou begin to die of fear, a police detective, a historian, and a psychologist travel to the mountains, where the ghost of a 15th century general may still haunt the wilderness.

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'The Vegetarian' by Han Kang, translated by Deborah Smith (Korean, South Korea)

After a disturbing dream causes her to give up eating meat, Yeong-hye becomes increasingly distanced from her family, resulting in symptoms that strongly resemble madness.

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'Hadriana in All My Dreams' by René Depestre, translated by Kaiama L. Glover (French, Haiti)

Set in 1930s Haiti, Hadriana in All My Dreams traces the aftermath of a wedding gone wrong. The bride dies at the altar, only to be revived later, by an evil magician, as a zombie.

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'Amatka' by Karin Tidbeck, translated by the author (Swedish, Sweden)

Translated by the author, this spooky novel centers on Vanja, a government worker who travels to the titular colony of Amatka, where the locals are fearful of everyday objects.

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'Such Small Hands' by Andrés Barba, translated by Lisa Dillman (Spanish, Spain)

In Such Small Hands, Andrés Barba tells the tale of a seven-year-old girl named Marina, who wreaks havoc at the orphanage where she comes to stay.

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'I Remember You' by Yrsa Sigurðardóttir, translated by Philip Roughton (Icelandic, Iceland)

Two stories intertwine in I Remember You. One is the tale of a renovation gone wrong, as three friends discover they are not alone on their new property. In the other, a doctor discovers that a suicidal woman had a keen interested in his missing son before she died.

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'You Should Have Left' by Daniel Kehlmann, translated by Ross Benjamin (German, Germany)

In this short novella, a screenwriter, his wife, and their four-year-old daughter spend a week in a remote German rental house, where nothing seems to be quite as it should.

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'The Children' by Carolina Sanín, translated by Nick Caistor (Spanish, Colombia)

When a six-year-old boy shows up on her doorstep, Laura tries in vain to discover who he is and where he has come from. In the process, however, she finds herself caught up in a web of surreal bureaucracy.

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'The Twenty Days of Turin' by Giorgio De Maria, translated by Ramon Glazov (Italian, Italy)

When a force of evil takes hold in a hospital Library that houses locals' diaries for shared reading, the Italian city of Turin plunges into an agonizing 20 days of mayhem.

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'The Graveyard Apartment' by Mariko Koike, translated by Deborah Boliver Boehm (Japanese, Japan)

This 1986 horror novel from Japan centers on a young couple who move into a new apartment, only to find that some malevolent force is making it more and more claustrophobic.

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'The Blind Owl' by Sadegh Hedayat, translated by Naveed Noori (Persian, Iran)

This classic Iranian novel follows a lovesick young man as his heartbreak spirals into madness.

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'Now You're One of Us' by Asa Nonami, translated by Michael Volek and Mitsuko Volek (Japanese, Japan)

In this novel from Bødy author Asa Nonami, a bride discovers that her new husband's family are not at all what they appear to be.

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