Author Archives: smilkova

Selfhood and Narration: Goliarda Sapienza’s “Meeting In Positano,” Translated from Italian by Brian Robert Moore

By Maria Morelli Written in 1984, Meeting in Positano marks the last volume of Goliarda Sapienza’s Autobiography of Contradictions (as she herself labelled her unorthodox autobiographical project) which began in 1967 with Lettera Aperta (Open Letter) and which her premature demise brought to an abrupt end. Departing from the narratological approach that had marked the […]

Loyalty in Language: Marco Balzano’s “I’m Staying Here,” Translated from Italian by Jill Foulston

By Maria Massucco The opening chapters of Marco Balzano’s I’m Staying Here find the narrator Trina’s memory coming into focus around a time of historic upheaval: Until that time [spring of ’23], life had kept pace with the rhythm of the seasons, especially in these border valleys. Like an echo that fades away, history seemed […]

A Lesson in Resilience: Selva Casal’s “We Do Not Live in Vain,” Translated from Spanish by Jeannine Marie Pitas

By Gabriella Martin When we read a book—the particular, personal or historical context in which we carry out our reading—holds the power to shape the lens through which we do so. At present, we are reading in the midst of what for many has felt like a wasted year, burdened by missed opportunities, delayed gratification, […]

Immigrant Song: “My Brother’s Suitcase: Stories About the Road,” Translated from Bulgarian by Ekaterina Petrova

By Izidora Angel No matter where you go, you always carry your loneliness with you, even that unconscious black loneliness that bubbles up beneath the youthful optimism. Zoya Marincheva, “Meridians and Demons” (from My Brother’s Suitcase) That Bulgarian even exists to translate from is a kind of miracle. Despite the country’s rich history dating back […]

Breaking the Ice: On Eva Baltasar’s “Permafrost,” translated from Catalan by Julia Sanches

By Eva Dunsky You wouldn’t want to be clocked by the narrator of Eva Baltasar’s Permafrost. She has an effortless way of sussing out the thing that will devastate you most and then stating it as a pithy one-liner. “Being the bearer of important news: the only climax Mom has ever known” (50). This, after […]

Kazakh Künstlerroman: Talasbek Asemkulov’s “A Life at Noon,” translated by Shelley Fairweather-Vega

By Katherine E. Young Talasbek Asemkulov’s A Life at Noon, translated into English by Shelley Fairweather-Vega, is an artistically risky enterprise. Billed as the first post-Soviet novel from Kazakhstan to appear in English, A Life at Noon is a lightly fictionalized autobiography of one of Kazakhstan’s leading artists. Author Talasbek Asemkulov (1955-2014) was known as […]

Reading Elena Ferrante in Bulgaria(n)

By Stiliana Milkova Last year I read Elena Ferrante’s new novel The Lying Life of Adults (La vita bugiarda degli adulti) in Bulgarian, in Ivo Yonkov’s translation from Italian. It was September 2020, it had just been released by Ferrante’s Bulgarian publisher, Colibri, and I was in Bulgaria myself. I went to Helikon, the largest […]

Zero Is a Lens to See: Karla Suárez’s “Havana Year Zero,” translated from Spanish by Christina MacSweeney

By Dorothy Potter Snyder I have learned that the lines we draw to contain the infinite end up excluding more than they enfold. I have learned that most things in life are better and more beautiful not linear but fractal. Love especially. – Maria Popova What’s the sum total of anything – food, gasoline, hope, or […]

“Remember me, whispers the dust”: Peter Huchel’s “These Numbered Days,” translated from German by Martyn Crucefix

By Rebecca DeWald It’s been a peculiar experience to discover the German poet Peter Huchel (1903-1981) in this lockdown year, when we were all forced to stay indoors and grapple with the loss of our social lives, while paying closer attention to the details and routines of our everyday lives. For some, this experience may […]

Always to Seek: On Reading Russian Literature in Translation

By Brandy Harrison It all began with youthful audacity. When someone asked me one day, “What are you reading?,” the answer was War and Peace. There was a pause, a faint flicker of confusion in the face hovering above my own, and then a slower, more tentative second question: “Why . . . are you […]

The Entire Egg: Susana Thénon’s Ova Completa, translated from Spanish by Rebekah Smith

By Jeannine Marie Pitas “And time ah time that disjunctive / factor that almost runs out here / and therefore impedes us / from reaching the great why / and the superhow of this thing / almost holy / so tam tam almost holy / so almost almost / almost so holy,” states Argentine poet […]

Images of Imagination: Saskia Ziolkowski Reviews Antonio Tabucchi’s “Stories with Pictures” and Interviews Translator Elizabeth Harris

Stories with Pictures draws attention to the communal nature of artistic endeavors, made even more collaborative with the additional presence of the translator.

Parallel Lines Can Converge: Víctor Rodríguez Núñez’s “from a red barn,” Translated from Spanish by Katherine M. Hedeen

By Conor Bracken Although from a red barn by Víctor Rodríguez Núñez and translated by Katherine M. Hedeen (co•im•press, 2020) was originally published in Spanish in 2014, it comes to an Anglophone public at an opportune time. Consisting of 77 sonnets, it immediately invites itself to the table that Terrance Hayes’s American Sonnets for My […]

What’s in a name? Claudia Hernández’s “Slash and Burn,” translated from Spanish by Julia Sanches

By Robin Munby “Maybe some of that night’s fear and fleeing had been passed on to the part of her that once gave her life” (274), the ex-guerrilla at the heart of Slash and Burn reflects, towards the end of the novel. She has returned to the place she fled to many years ago, when […]

Mapping Absence: Andrea Bajani’s “If You Kept a Record of Sins,” translated from Italian by Elizabeth Harris

By Brian Robert Moore On the first page of Esther Kinsky’s Grove, a book translated by Caroline Schmidt which explores bereavement against the backdrop of a trip through Italy, the narrator details a Romanian mourning ritual: “In Romanian churches believers light candles in two separate places. It might be two niches in the wall, two […]