Over the past few months I’ve dropped hints here and there about the Reading the World podcast series that Erica Mena and I put together. We came up with the idea out of the last ALTA conference, and at the MLA convention this past December, we talked with a number of translators about their work and various issues related to international literature.
Well, at long last, we’re ready to release the first episode, featuring Lawrence Venuti, translator, theorist, and scholar. He talked with us about Edward Hopper, a collection of poems by Catalan author Ernest Farres that Venuti translated and that was published by Graywolf earlier this year.
In contrast to some of the upcoming podcasts—which include conversations with Susan Harris, Esther Allen, Suzanne Jill Levine, and Bill Johnston—this one’s a bit on the long side, but well worth it. Venuti is fascinating to listen to, and the way he breaks down his translation—and Farres’s project as a whole—is spectacular.
Anyway, you can listen to the podcast via this post, or by downloading it through iTunes (assuming that iTunes will start working again—it was having “technical difficulties” yesterday). And stay tuned—we’ll release episode #2 at the beginning of March . . .
Many of Virginie Despentes’s books revolve around the same central idea: “To be born a woman [is] the worst fate in practically every society.” But this message is nearly always packaged in easy-to-read books that fill you with the pleasure. . .
Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer’s La Superba is appropriately titled after the Italian city of Genoa, where, after escaping the pressures of fame in his own country, the semi-autobiographical narrator finds himself cataloguing the experiences of its mesmerizing inhabitants with the intention. . .
It took reading 44 pages of Intervenir/Intervene before I began to get a sense of what Dolores Dorantes and Rodrigo Flores Sánchez were up to. Recurring throughout these 44 pages—throughout the entire book—are shovels, shovel smacks to the face, lobelias—aha!. . .
As presaged by its title, contradiction is the theme of Peter Stamm’s novel, All Days Are Night. Gillian, a well-known television personality, remains unknowable to herself. And Hubert, a frustrated artist and Gillian’s lover, creates art through the process of. . .
It’s a rare and wonderful book that begins and ends with violence and humor. At the start of Etgar Keret’s The Seven Good Years, Keret is in a hospital waiting for the birth of his first child while nurses, in. . .
Last year, Han Kang’s The Vegetarian was an unexpected critical hit. Now, it’s just been published in the U.S. and has already received a great deal of positive critical attention. The Vegetarian was a bold book to attempt as an. . .
It’s been almost a year since the publication of Nowhere to Be Found by Bae Suah, but despite being included on the 2015 PEN Translation award longlist, and some pretty vocal support from key indie presses, the book has. . .
Jorge Eduardo Benavides’ novel La paz de los vencidos (The Peace of the Defeated) takes the form of a diary written by a nameless Peruvian thirty-something intellectual slumming it in Santa Cruz de Tenerife in Spain’s Canary Islands. Recently relocated. . .
Anyone with any interest at all in contemporary Moroccan writing must start with Souffles. A cultural and political journal, Souffles (the French word for “breaths”) was founded in 1966 by Abdellatif Laâbi and Mostafa Nissabouri. Run by a group of. . .
Randall Jarrell once argued a point that I will now paraphrase and, in doing so, over-simplify: As a culture, we need book criticism, not book reviews. I sort of agree, but let’s not get into all of that. Having finished. . .