Tag Archives: reviews

Translators on Books that Should be Translated: “Indigo” by Roberto Carretta and Renato Viola

by Stiliana Milkova The reclusive clockmaker Anton Ivanovic has disappeared from his apartment in Turin. His only friend, the erudite professor of mythology Joshua Momigliano, receives a letter which sends him on a quest to find out what happened to Anton. As Joshua asks in the opening pages, “Anton Ivanovic was a reserved, impenetrable man […]

Laughter in the Gulag: “Sacred Darkness,” Translated from Russian by Brian James Baer and Ellen Vayner

By Dimiter Kenarov Looking back at the Soviet Union, nearly three decades after its demise, I can’t shake off the feeling of vertigo. That terrifying whale of an empire, whose blubber once stretched over a sixth of the landmass and most of the twentieth century, seems like a distant memory now, a mythical creature that […]

Polyphonic Transpositions: Pavel Arseniev’s “Reported Speech,” translated from Russian by Thomas Campbell, Cement Collective, Jason Cieply, Ian Dreiblatt, Ronald Meyer, Ainsley Morse, Ingrid Nordgaard, Anastasiya Osipova, Lia Na’ama Ten Brink

By Molly Thomasy Blasing From its very first pages, Pavel Arseniev’s Reported Speech shows itself to be true to its title; the opening poem’s epigraph comes to us, we are told, from an “Instruction in the platzkart train car” (15). This is only the beginning of a journey through a trail of words found, mixed […]

Tasting Life in the State of Exception: Rosella Postorino’s “At the Wolf’s Table,” translated from Italian by Leah Janeczko

by Maurizio Vito Bertolt Brecht’s epigraph from The Threepenny Opera at the beginning of Rosella Postorino’s novel At the Wolf’s Table ushers in the undertone characterizing the story the reader is about to peruse: “A man can only live by absolutely forgetting he’s a man like other folk.” Forgetting is one way to survive troubled […]

Recurring Currents: Esther Kinsky’s “River,” translated from German by Iain Galbraith

By Rebecca DeWald   When I first read Stan Nadolny’s The Discovery of Slowness (translated from German by Ralph Freedman), which follows Sir John Franklin on his arctic exploration, I was struck by the way in which the quality of “slowness” both becomes a plot device and its conceit: the reader sees the world through […]

It’s a Wonderful Death: Hilda Hilst’s “Of Death. Minimal Odes,” translated from Portuguese by Laura Cesarco Eglin

By Alessandro Mondelli In Of Death. Minimal Odes, Brazilian poet Hilda Hilst imagines death not only as the absence of life or as life’s negation, but also as a productive force that imbues life with a wide yet nuanced palette of affects. Hilst, recognized in Brazil as a seminal writer, poet, and playwright of twentieth-century […]

The Art of “Tonbe-Leve”: Frankétienne’s “Dézafi,” Translated from Haitian Creole by Asselin Charles

By Nathan Dize In a 1975 interview, journalist Jean Léopold Dominique praised Frankétienne’s publication of Dézafi, meaning “cockfight,” because it provided a polysemic analogy for Haitian life, at once a metaphor as well as a depiction of reality. The cockfight in the novel takes place both in the actual cockfighting ring, but also in the […]

Translation without an Original: Raja Alem’s “Sarab,” Translated from Arabic by Leri Price

By Amanda Al-Raba’a On November 20, 1979 an insurgent group called al-Ikhwan led by Juhayman al-‘Utaybi besieged the Grand Mosque in Mecca in opposition to the Saud family and increased Western influence in Saudi Arabia. Two of the pillars of Islam are intimately linked to the Grand Mosque: it houses the Ka‘aba, towards which Muslims […]

Stories Left Untold: The Magic of Hwang Sok-Yong’s “Princess Bari,” Translated from Korean by Sora Kim-Russell

By Kalau Almony The value of literature is often credited to the way literary texts allow us to vicariously experience places and events we otherwise would have no immediate access to. The argument goes that literature thus enables us to expand our own limited worldviews and become better people, capable of making more ethical decisions. […]

Eventide by Therese Bohman

Decline and Fall: “Eventide” by Therese Bohman, translated from Swedish by Marlaine Delargy

Reviewed by Gabi Reigh Eventide is Therese Bohman’s third novel and just as the heroines of Drowned (2012) and The Other Woman (2016), Karolina, the novel’s protagonist, is a disenchanted observer of the workings of Swedish society, rejecting its norms through her self-destructive emotional entanglements and exposing its hypocrisy about sexual politics. In an interview […]