Archives

July, 2010

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

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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

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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

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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…...

From The Translator: Adam Rovner on Bar-Yosef’s Tale of Forbidden Desire

Adam Rovner talks about translating Yehoshuah Bar-Yosef's Soul Mate, an excerpt from which was published in this month's issue of WWB. A few years ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Israeli playwright Yosef Bar-Yosef, who knew that I served as the Hebrew translations editor for Zeek. Yosef recommended…...

Roberto Bolaño’s Total Anarchy

The Bolaño short fiction that’s been coming out in the New Yorker and Harper’s over the past few months is getting stranger. Necrophilia and the Colombian porno industry are edgy enough subjects, but Bolaño went further by exploring elements of the fantastic. The stories have…...

PEN Translation Awards Announced

PEN has just announced the winners of the 2010 translation awards, and we're delighted to see three of our translators on the list. Congratulations to Peter Golub, awarded for his translations of the Russian flash-fiction writer Linor Goralnik; Chip Rossetti, recognized for his translation of a collection…...

Andrei Voznesensky, 1933–2010

The Russian poet Andrei Voznesensky has died at seventy-seven. Here are the first and last stanzas from his “Darkmotherscream,” translated by Robert Bly and Vera Dunham, in The Ecco Anthology of International Poetry:   Darkmotherscream is a Siberian dance, cry from prison or a yell for…...

May, 2010

BookExpo in Brief: Reading Lit in Translation is “Groovy Again”

The mood at the BookExpo America conference this year was decidedly upbeat and busy. The shortened, mid-week schedule seemed to work better than anticipated by exhibitors*, reports of good sales numbers weren't hard to find, and conference rooms were packed to the point of being fire hazards. At…...

Treasure Island, Genesis, and The Blue Lagoon: on Le Clézio’s The Prospector

Image of Treasure Island, Genesis, and The Blue Lagoon: on Le Clézio’s The Prospector
Alfred Kazin once said of Hemingway that he “brought a major art to a minor vision of life.” To judge from the novel The Prospector, the same could be said of its author, the 2008 Nobel laureate J.M.G Le Clézio. The beauty of Le Clézio’s language is undeniable. His novel,…...

Prieto, Mandelstam, Allen, and Correspondences in the Air

The June 10 issue of the New York Review of Books includes Jose Manuel Prieto's fascinating "Reading Mandelstam on Stalin," translated by the impeccable Esther Allen. Prieto describes struggling to translate Mandelstam's defiant "Epigram on Stalin"—that famous "death sentence in sixteen…...

Forest of a Thousand Daemons

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Forest of a Thousand Daemons was written in 1938 in response to a literary contest sponsored by the Nigerian ministry of education. It is considered the first novel to be written in Yoruba and one of the first to be written in any of Africa's indigenous languages. The book begins with a simple frame…...

The 2010 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize: A Reading at Foyles

The Independent Foreign Fiction Prize has introduced readers to the best of foreign contemporary fiction since it was founded in 1991, attracting more press interest every year. It acknowledges both the novelist and the translator equally, recognising the importance of the translator in bridging the…...

Ilya Kaminsky, Reading

Last night the Poetry Foundation held its annual Pegasus Award ceremony at the Arts Club of Chicago, and our Ilya Kaminsky blew the roof right off. Speaking in his capacity as a former recipient of a Ruth Lilly fellowship, Ilya told the audience that when he got the news, he was living with his wife…...

No Nightmares in English: New European Fiction

On what now feels like a long-lost spring afternoon, in these chilly weeks following the PEN World Voices festival, Aleksandar Hemon and Colum McCann speculated on the value of the genre tag "European Fiction" for both American and European markets.  Hemon, who edits the Best European Fiction series,…...

The Apex Book of World SF

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The December issue of Words Without Borders was devoted to International Science Fiction. One sign of the vitality of the genre is The Apex Book of World SF, a new anthology edited by Lavie Tidhar, the author of a collection of linked stories called HebrewPunk. The Apex Book includes stories from twelve…...

Interview with Alina Bronsky, author of “Broken Glass Park”

Image of Interview with Alina Bronsky, author of “Broken Glass Park”
Alina Bronsky, a German writer of Russian origin, immigrated to Germany when she was thirteen, and published her first novel, Broken Glass Park, in 2008 when she was only thirty years old. The novel was very well received by both the public and the critics and was nominated for the Bachmann Prize, one…...

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