Tag Archives: literary reviews
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 […]
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.
Writing Through Memory and Digging Through Secrets of the Past: Mykola Bazhan’s “Quiet Spiders of the Hidden Soul,” edited by Oksana Rosenblum, Lev Fridman, and Anzhelika Khyzhnia
The poems included in Quiet Spiders precede a tragedy in Ukrainian history, the Holodomor, or famine of 1932-1933, and the period known as the Executed Renaissance when a generation of Soviet writers and artists were wiped out by Stalin’s regime.
Marina and Me: Nina Kossman’s “Other Shepherds: Poems with Translations from Marina Tsvetaeva”
If you know Tsvetaeva well, it’s hard not to reconstruct the original mentally while reading the translation.
Nostalgia as Oblivion in Nelson Simòn’s “Itinerary of Forgetting,” Translated from Spanish by Lawrence Schimel
By Cal Paule It’s funny, but I forgot where I left my copy of this book. It’s lost for now, but luckily I have a pdf version. If, though, it were the memory of the exact color of my mother’s hair, or the angles of a roofline above my hometown, I might not be as […]