Arguably, reading literature in translation can be compared to a leap of faith. Faith in the skilled voice and resources of the translator, faith in the power of the narrative to work its spell independently of the linguistic code it is set to traverse. Ultimately, faith in language itself to create for us a world we can inhabit, for as long as the reading experience lasts. “Cars on Fire,” in Robin Myers’ eloquent English-language rendition, provides just that. Through a succession of 18 stories written originally in Spanish by Mónica Ramón Ríos, we are allowed into an uncertain space that is both alluring and unsettling. It questions our sense of the immovable nature of the self, uncovers the precariousness fabric of identity and the complex, double-edged power and frailty of human connections.
It is not for us as translators to smooth the way, to explain, or to make things easier for the English language reader. Translators have to trust that good readers will prefer to work a bit harder rather than be denied the chance to experience the writer’s voice as directly as possible.
I find Botsford’s engaged and voice-driven translation style wonderfully refreshing and the diversity of her collaborations intriguing, so I was thrilled by the chance to talk with her about her recent work, her take on the Italian-English market, and her approach to the craft.
By Olivia Soule In Sacha Naspini’s Nives, translated from the Italian by Clarissa Botsford, the significance of the long phone call that lasts almost the entire novel creeps up on you. Towards the beginning, the elderly, eponymous widow calls the local veterinarian when one of her chickens has become frozen in place; this everyday conversation […]
The uninitiated may wonder, what can queer theory offer translation, as a study and practice, aside from ways of uncovering or confronting the gender biases and heteronormativity in and between languages? Much more than that, I can enthusiastically report.
In this interview, Magda Carneci talks to Gabi Reigh about the poetic dimensions of her prose, the writers and artists who have inspired her feminist vision and what it feels like to read your work in translation.
Surrendering, giving in, letting go: if Martín Gijón’s poems stage, at the formal level, the poet’s handing over control to language itself, letting etymology and morphology steer his associations, their thematic content also underscores the role of rendition as an act and attitude of romantic love. Dooley, in turn, manages to strike a fine balance between the translator’s obsessive pursuit of the original’s meaning in the target language, on the one hand and, on the other, the acceptance of the original’s ultimate elusiveness.
By Kristin Dykstra In this historical moment when many readers are turning to poetry for traditional words of comfort, a new bilingual edition from The Song Bridge Project will meet that need. The Miracle Unfolds: Selected Poems (2010 -2019) presents excerpts from seven books by Juana Rosa Pita, with English-language translations by Erin Goodman. As […]
To celebrate both special issue “Reading Domenico Starnone” and the publication of Starnone’s latest novel in English, “Trust” (Europa Editions) translated by Pulitzer prize winner Jhumpa Lahiri, the Italian Cultural Institute in Dublin is hosting an online conversation with Domenico Starnone (in Italian with English translation), on 26 October 2021 at 6pm GMT (7pm in Italy), moderated by the editors of Reading Domenico Starnone.
Resi’s written reactions to her circumstances eventually reveal that her chaotic and humorous take on motherhood is a vehicle for her to obsessively explain and justify the catastrophic falling out she had with her group of closest friends.
While the protagonist’s relationship with his beloved, unfaithful wife (and his erotic liaison with Mena) remain on the background, along with Saverio’s jealousy towards Betta, the foreground is taken by the scurvy grandfather and his know-it-all four-year-old grandson.
By Chiara De Caprio Translated from Italian by Rebecca Falkoff Considering the novels and short stories of Domenico Starnone from a linguistic perspective means to bring out the double-edged quality and the internal stratification of their linguistic composition. A reasonable pace and feverish emotional sequences intersect in his works. His style alternates between solitary self-reflection, […]
On the surface, “Vita mortale e immortale della bambina di Milano” (“Mortal and Immortal Life of the Girl from Milan”), Domenico Starnone’s latest literary gem (Einaudi, October 2021), has a deceptively simple plot. It relays the wondrous deeds of a young boy, Mimì (short for Domenico) who has a morbid curiosity towards death and is also the protagonist of three tragicomic love affairs.
Starnone’s “Trust” often relies on intertextuality, implicitly suggesting that readers tap into their inner literary database as they navigate this text. The novel, like all forms of literature, does not and cannot exist in a vacuum, devoid of symbiotic interaction with the universal œuvre.
A few minutes passed, and I felt ill at ease. Then I recited a poem and commented on it, in that loo: “The pensive father with his goatish hair…”