Reading in Maltese may be a bit of a hassle for some of us. We either think that all Maltese books are boring or that they’re too difficult to read. Thankfully, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Here’s a list of 16 Maltese books you seriously need to get your hands on this summer.Whether it’s by the pool or by the sea, these books will surely make you forget all the heat, troubles and woes of summer in no time.
1. Riħ Isfel – Pierre J. Mejlak
Riħ Isfel tells the story of three teenage boys who, during their summer holidays, fantasise about local girls they would like to get it on with. The book is peppered here and there with super mild vulgar language, hence the warning on the cover.
2. Xemx wisq Sabiħa – Ġużé Stagno
Stagno is easily one of Malta’s favourite authors. This book is so honest it will make your teeth clench. Stagno never ceases to amaze us with his literary talents, but if you are one who is scrupulous and easily scandalised, avoid this masterpiece.
3. Ix-Xjaten ta’ Moħħi – Anton Grasso
Malt’s king of the macabre’s series of short stories is a page turner for all those who enjoy reading something that might send chills down their spine.
4. Fuq il-Għajn ta’ San Bastjan – Kilin
A lovely narrative by Kilin filled with stories told from the point of view of a child. This book will have you crying from nostalgia and jealousy for whoever was fortunate enough to remember the beautiful memories and places described in this novel.
5. Il-Ġenn li Jżommni f’Sikkti – Trevor Zahra
Trevor Zahra’s autobiography will leave you feeling empty and melancholic when you’re done with it, but this is one of those books you need to read.
Zahra will forever hold a special place in our library, and this colossus of Maltese literature has never ever failed to give us the reading feels.
6. Fil-Parlament ma Jikbrux Fjuri – Oliver Friġġieri
Frġġieri caused so much controversy with this book, that alone is almost worth you picking it up.
Written back in a time of political uncertainty on the island, this book is about that very same political uncertainty. This novel talks about love, politics, religion and power. That might not be your piece of cake, but give this amazing novel a chance, and we promise you won’t be able to put it down.
7. Ħdejn in-Nixxiegħa – Trevor Zahra
Y’all might remember this gem either from their Maltese A-Levels or from that bit in Qawsalla.
This book tells the story of a young man’s folly as he becomes slowly obsessed with a girl.
8. Tinsiex, Publius! Tinsiex! – Kilin
This novel is a proper summer novel.
It’s based on St. Paul’s arrival on our islands and the three months he and his shipmates spent here. It speculates on what they did, how St. Paul managed to convert the Maltese people, and what kind of guy Publius,the first bishop of Malta really was.
9. It-Tfal Jiġu bil-Vapuri – Oliver Friġġieri
Friġġieri’s novels are always hard to put down, and they will stay with you for quite a while after you are done with them.
This book reflects upon love and what being a decent person consists of. The unfairness of life is narrated through the eyes of a naive couple.
10. Wara l-Għajn ta’ San Bastjan – Kilin
Another memoire by Kilin, this book continues where Fuq il-Għajn ta’ San Bastjan left off. It speaks of youth’s folly, beautiful times, fiascos and life’s worries.
11. Il-Gaġġa – Frans Sammut
Sammut already made it to our previous list with his melancholic work.
The literary pioneer’s novel is considered a groundbreaking Maltese story, and was considered highly controversial back in the day. Be warned; this psychological brain shaker is a heavy read. Decades on, it still shocks its readers with its hard-hitting words and honest story telling.
12. Raġel bil-Għaqal – Ġużé Galea
This historical novel is set in the medieval ages in Malta when we were still under the Aragonese rule. An astrologer is accused of witchcraft and persecuted throughout the island. He eventually flees to Comino where he tries to make a life for himself, until he eventually ventures to Sicily and back to Malta.
13. La Bidu La Tmiem 1599 – Alfred Sant
Alfred Sant keeps on wowing us with his novels. This guy’s literary talent seriously knows no bounds. This book is set in the 16th Century and tells the story of a knight faced with difficult decisions.
14. What Happens in Brussels Stays in Brussels – Ġuże Stagno
Effortlessly written and heavy with detail, Stagno grasps the essence of Maltese people in this novel.
This fluid novel tells the story of the post-EU-membership attitude of the Maltese islands — where Brussels is only a base for petty power struggles and the elevation of social statuses.
15. Wirdien – Anton Grasso
Another tale of the macabre for those who just cannot get enough. Wirdien will revolt and intrigue you all at the same time. Maybe leave this one for bed instead.
16. Nbid ta’ Kuljum – Ġuże Stagno
Another Stagno classic, this book will literally glue itself to your hands and face in no time. This is the meaning of life told from the perspective of a young Maltese man trying to find a point in living. Pastaż u ħamallu, this book is not for everyone, but that’s what makes it so good.