Tag Archives: literary reviews

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, […]

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 […]

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.

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 […]

Growing Pains in Tough Times: María José Ferrada’s “How to Order the Universe,” Translated from Spanish by Elizabeth Bryer

By Emma Jones This past year was a year of disappointment for many of us, but especially for children and adolescents who had their life plans dashed before their eyes. For some, higher education has been postponed, employment has proved difficult to find or keep, and the world seems like an altogether darker and unfriendlier […]

Translating Natalia Ginzburg’s “Voice That Says ‘I’” in the Twenty-First Century

By Eric Gudas For decades, no matter how many of my books sit boxed up in storage, I’ve always had a tattered photocopy of the chapter entitled “The End of the Affair,” from Natalia Ginzburg’s novel Voices in the Evening (1961) in the translation by D.M. Low first published in 1963 by Hogarth Press. This […]

Putting a Brave Face on Loneliness and Loss: Natalia Ginzburg’s “Family” and “Borghesia”

By Jeanne Bonner I do not think of Natalia Ginzburg as a sad figure or a writer of sad, tragic works. I’ve seen her in old interviews, and I’ve read her nonfiction work. Archival photos often show her smiling. She was not melodramatic. She did not seek pity or any kind of rapt attention beyond […]

Translation as Nourishment: Translator Zsuzsa Koltay in Conversation with Béla Szegedi-Szabó

This is an excerpt from an interview with Zsuzsa Koltay whose translation from Hungarian of Nándor Gion’s Soldier with Flower came out in 2020. The interview was originally published in Hungarian and subsequently translated in English by Owen Good for Hungarian Literature Online. Many thanks to Owen for allowing us to run this excerpt. Reading […]

Art and Politics: María Negroni’s “The Annunciation,” translated by Michelle Gil-Montero

In this deeply philosophical, semi-autobiographical novel, acclaimed Argentine poet Negroni explores a question that has figured in her writing for decades: the relationship between the aesthetic and the ethical, the poetic and the political.