Tag Archives: literary reviews

Foreign Bodies: Margarita García Robayo’s “Holiday Heart,” translated from Spanish by Charlotte Coombe

The uncomfortable, ailing human body is foregrounded in this thematically dense novel, a fable about problematic motherhood and the hard labor of forging epistemological change in the 21st century.

Mediterranean Crossings: Nadia Terranova’s “Farewell, Ghosts,” Translated from Italian by Ann Goldstein

A childhood home is an archive and a map. Nadia Terranova’s novel Farewell, Ghosts, in Ann Goldstein’s translation, summons the power of the house in order to dissect the relationship between self and space, memory and reality.

Voices Without Borders: Laura Imai Messina’s “The Phone Box at the Edge of the World,” Translated from Italian by Lucy Rand

By Claudia Dellacasa Ema are decorated votive wooden plaques left hanging up in Japanese shrines. At a distance, they all look the same. But if one is able to read what is written on them, one can take a glimpse of a fascinating number of stories, destinies, wishes, and hopes which emerge from an ostensible […]

On Sex and Death: Vicente Huidobro’s “Skyquake: Tremor of Heaven,” co-translated from Spanish by Ignacio Infante and Michael Leong

Composed as twin originals in Spanish and French between 1928 and 1931, this roving long prose poem witnesses the perpetual, agonized yearning of separated lovers seeking one another across eternity and infinity, where they collide—gloriously—on occasion, before scattering through the universe once again.

Finding Power, Losing Love: Graciliano Ramos’ “São Bernardo,” translated from Portuguese by Padma Viswanathan

Padma Viswanathan allows readers to recognize anew the importance of community in such a precarious moment with her translation of Graciliano Ramos’ rustic satire, São Bernardo.

In Love, at War, with Homer: Theodor Kallifatides’ “The Siege of Troy,” Translated from Swedish by Marlaine Delargy

By Kirk Ormand Few works have been translated as often, or as with as many different poetic and political programs, as Homer’s Iliad. Kallifatides’ brief version, written originally in Swedish, is his attempt to bring the daunting epic to a new generation of readers (“Afterword,” 203). He accomplishes this by telling the story of a […]

Foreign to Literature: Humor, Allusion, and Exophony in Aleksandra Lun’s “The Palimpsests,” Translated by Elizabeth Bryer

By Patrick Powers When I first read Elizabeth Bryer’s translation of Aleksandra Lun’s debut novel, The Palimpsests, back in January, I didn’t like it very much. I didn’t know what to say about it, so I didn’t write anything. After a few months, having left for and returned home from Russia after the onset of the global pandemic, […]

“The Dangerous Charm of Leaving”: Bogdan Rusev’s “Come To Me,” Translated from Bulgarian by Ekaterina Petrova

By Philip Graham   The discovery of contemporary Bulgarian literature has been one of the great gifts of my recent reading life. Though the books I’ve read can be quite varied, they seem connected by a combination of humor and soulful melancholy, a literary territory where trouble can perhaps best be endured by sad or […]

Coming of Age Inside “A Bell Jar”: Magda Szabó’s “Abigail,” Translated from Hungarian by Len Rix

By Gabi Reigh “Creativity requires a state of grace,” Magda Szabó wrote in her 1987 novel The Door. “So many things are required for it to succeed—stimulus and composure, inner peace and a kind of bitter-sweet excitement.” Szabó’s life was not short of excitement, “bitter-sweet” or otherwise. She lived through the Second World War (which […]

In Search of the Weeping Woman: Brigitte Benkemoun’s “Finding Dora Maar,” Translated from French by Jody Gladding

By Mark Polizzotti Engaging with the life of a person you’ve never met can be an odd and disorienting business, and few know this better than biographers. What would push an otherwise sane adult to devote months, years, even decades to ferreting out the minutiae of someone else’s existence? And what is the strange alchemy […]