Archives

August, 2010

From the Archives: Riding Bearback

If this month's wealth of Hungarian writing leaves you wanting more, look no further than our May 2008 issue. György Dragomán's "Haul" describes a human smuggler named Zeus and his less than Olympian methods.  In an unspecified year, he drives his desperate clients to an unnamed…...

Inspirations

As Chana and I have begun to examine the literary and publishing trends in Israel and the Palestinian territories in light of the shifting political situation in the region, I’ve found myself thinking back to a recent exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, titled: “William…...

Maps

A few years ago, in a seminar I took on contemporary Palestinian literature, the professor gave us a homework assignment to draw a map of Israel and Palestine.  I remember finding it a bit comical, the idea of a bunch of graduate students going home, digging up some crayons or markers, and clumsily…...

Elif Shafak on the Politics of Fiction

Ted.com features a video of Turkish writer and WWB contributor Elif Shafak speaking on the politics of fiction.  Shafak describes her childhood as the daughter of a diplomat, recalls the various stereotypes her classmates had of Turkey and the correspondingly clichéd expectations put on multicultural…...

From the Archives: Dueling Castro Autobiographies

Fidel Castro has announced the publication of The Strategic Victory, the first volume of his memoirs. (The second volume:  The Final Strategic Counteroffensive.) For a possibly more accurate perspective, check out these extracts from Norberto Fuentes's Autobiography of Fidel Castro: chapter…...

July, 2010

New Blog Series: Cross-Cultural-Dialogues In the Middle East

The two of us met during a particularly gritty winter in our first year of graduate school at Brown University. While Chana, an Israeli fiction writer, translator and scholar had just begun working on her PhD in Israeli and Palestinian Comparative Literature, I was completing my MFA in Fiction at the…...

From the Archives: To the Winner Goes the Prosciutto

Jean-Philippe Toussaint's Self-Portrait Abroad collects the Belgian writer's impressions of his travels to destinations as diverse as Kyoto, Berlin, Hanoi, and Prague. The extract published in our issue of April 2006, "Cap Corse (The Best Day of My Life)," describes an afternoon on Corsica that…...

Lives on Paper

We're delighted to note the publication of Georges-Olivier Châteaureynaud's Life on Paper, a collection of short stories selected and translated by Edward Gauvin. Châteaureynaud is recognized as one of France's top fabulists, but had little exposure in English until Gauvin…...

From the Translator: Why I Translate the Work of Andrei Sen-Senkov

This essay is written as an accompaniment to the poem “Drawings on a Soccer Ball,” but since this poem is a good representation of Sen-Senkov’s work in general I would like to write broadly about my experience with his work as a whole.   I first met the author in 2007 in Moscow,…...

From the Archives: The Sweet Science and Magic

Ana María Shua's Rematch, from our August 2005 issue, goes twelve rounds with the story of Argentine boxer Carlos Monzón, the World Champion Middleweight from 1970 to 1977.  Our narrator, a grizzled old fan, recounts how he engineered Monzón's brilliant career and violent…...

Translating the World

The Banff Centre Press has just published a collection of essays on translation, Beyond Words: Translating the World, edited by Susan Ouriou, director of the Banff International Literary Translation Center. The Centre offers an annual summer residency for translators working into and from the languages…...

From the Archives: Rx for World Cup Withdrawal

If the end of the World Cup has left you, in the words of Mexico's Álvaro Enrigue, "socceristically disoriented," we prescribe Enrigue's elegiac "Readymade" from our June 2006 issue. This memoir of Mexico's hapless Club de Fútbol Pachuca and its Alfonso "the Fool" Madrigal entwines…...

From the Translator: Elizabeth Harris on Translating Chess in “The Revenge of Capablanca”

In a special piece for Dispatches, Elizabeth Harris, translator of Fabio Stassi's piece The Revenge of Capablanca in this month's issue, talks about the ins and outs of translating Stassi. I’m delighted that the editor of Words Without Borders asked me to talk a bit about the challenges…...

World Lit and World Cup Round-up or “Around the World in 32 (or so) Books”

This past May, in the buildup to the World Cup, the New York Times’s soccer blog, Goal, ran a roundup of new soccer-related books timed to be released just before this summer’s tournament.  There are some interesting books, even more so perhaps this year because the Cup is being held…...

The Last Will and Testament of Senhor da Silva Araújo

Image of The Last Will and Testament of Senhor da Silva Araújo
It’s a discouraging sign of the state of translated literature in this country that The Last Will and Testament of Senhor da Silva Araújoby Germano Almeida arrived here only after appearing in Spanish, German, French, Italian, Dutch, Norwegian, and Swedish translations. The English translation…...

June, 2010

From the Translator: Ross Benjamin on Translating Gunther Geltinger’s “Man Angel”

Translating an excerpt from Gunther Geltinger’s Mensch Engel for the June 2010 issue of Words Without Borders was a singular challenge. Geltinger stretches the limits of German syntax so as to capture the rhythm of the protagonist’s thoughts, memories and perceptions as they whir along and…...

The Year of the Death of José Saramago

“We mourn the man whom death takes from us, and the loss of his miraculous talent and the grace of his human presence, but only the man do we mourn, for destiny endowed his spirit and creative powers with a mysterious beauty that cannot perish.” —from The Year of the Death of Ricardo…...

Pride in Padua

Before you head out to your local pride parade, stop by Padua's, courtesy of Matteo Bianchi's "Maternal Pride." Bianchi's droll panorama captures both the teeming crowd and the individual stories within. Kylie Minogue fanatic Marco, still dizzy from having shared his water bottle with his…...

A Cyprus Dispatch

The capital city of Cyprus, Nicosia, is encircled by stone walls shaped like a star with eleven heart-shaped bastions that once served as military fortification for the Venetians who were one in the long line of occupiers on the island. The old city is also bisected by the infamous “green line”…...

On Turning a Peter Handke Novel into Music, or Not

When I was first asked to answer the question, “have you been influenced by Peter Handke?” my inclination was simply to say “no.”  I had simply held his title On a Dark Night I Left My Silent House in mind for about ten years.  I had told myself: one day I will change…...

From the Archives: Putting the “T” in GLBT

First published in our December 2007 Departures issue, Gaute Heivoll's  "Dr. Gordeau" follows a Norwegian man on an ominous trip to an unnamed country in search of a sex change. Seeking the elusive surgeon of the title, Anders moves numbly between the sinister clinic, the roiling market, and…...

A Border Passage by Leila Ahmed

Image of A Border Passage by Leila Ahmed
I nearly gave up on Leila Ahmed’s memoir A Border Passage. After a lovely, quiet opening that describes the wind in the trees at the house on the edge of Cairo where the author grew up, the narrative shifted gears into several pages of rather dry political history. This is going to be too academic,…...

From the Translator: Lauren Dubowski on Translating Ewa Schilling’s “The Fool”

I found The Fool on a cluttered table in Korporacja Ha!art's bookstore in Kraków, a cozy, smart, artfully cluttered space above a contemporary art gallery, Bunkier Sztuki. Among its idiosyncratic books, magazines, and journals, some are especially . . . unconventional for Polish bookstores…...

“The Sexual Life of an Islamist in Paris” by Leïla Marouane

Image of “The Sexual Life of an Islamist in Paris” by Leïla Marouane
As first lines go, that of Leïla Marouane’s second novel and debut in English, The Abductor (2000, translated by Felicity McNab), is a masterpiece of concision and intrigue: “My father lay helpless on the sofa while my mother was being joined to Youssef Allouchi in lawful wedlock.”…...

film icon A Conversation with Alex Epstein, author of “Blue has no South”

Last week, Rohan and I sat down with Alex Epstein who was in New York City visiting from Tel Aviv. We had a very nice discussion on his book, Blue has no South, on mythology, angels, Jorge Luis Borges and lots of other authors and influences, short-form literature and poetry. This video captures…...

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