A new month and a new Reading the World Podcast, this time with Suzanne Jill Levine, famed translator (of Three Trapped Tigers, of Heartbreak Tango, of dozens of other wonderful books) and author of the very influential The Subversive Scribe: Translating Latin American Fiction.
We recorded this back at MLA in December (in a bitterly cold Philadelphia—which seems WEIRD given the fact that it’s frickin’ 70+ degrees in CNY right now), where the focus was translation and Jill talked a lot about the then forthcoming Borges series that she had edited for Penguin Classics. (With the help of the very cool John Siciliano.)
Anyway, the first two volumes of the Borges series are now available: Poems of the Night and The Sonnets. And galleys for the last three books—On Mysticism, On Writing, and On Argentina—recently arrived in the mail. I’m planning on reviewing these three, starting with “Mysticism,” which has been on my mind a lot of late. (Aided by my recent PKD bender. And obsession with Lost)
We talk a bit about this special Borges series during the podcast, but for more info, check my post from this past December.
Double admission: I rarely, if ever, listen to anything I’m involved in, or read anything written about me. But I just listened to this, and holy shit, it’s even more incredible than I imagined possible. (And I don’t sound like a complete ass! Sweet!)
So, please, please listen, let me know what you think, and if you can, subscribe on iTunes and give us a review. (This link goes directly to the iTunes RTW Podcast page.) And pass this along to any and everyone you know. We really want to spread the word about these before starting the second (and third) rounds of taping . . .
Though far from the most convincing reason to read literature in translation, one common side effect is learning of another culture, of its history. Within that, and a stronger motivation to read, is the discovery of stories not possible within. . .
Despite cries that literature is dead, dying, and self-replicating in the worst way, once in a while a book comes along to remind readers that there’s still a lot of surprise to be found on the printed page. To be. . .
“I was small. And my village was small, I came to know that in time. But when I was small it was big for me, so big that when I had to cross it from one end to the other,. . .
A few weeks after moving into a farm house in the Welsh countryside, Emilie, an expatriate from the Netherlands, starts to think about her uncle. This uncle tried to drown himself in a pond in front of the hotel where. . .
Think back to the last adventure- or action-type book you read. Wasn’t it cool? Didn’t it make you want to do things, like learn to shoot a crossbow, hack complicated information systems, travel to strange worlds, take on knife-wielding thugs,. . .
In Aira’s Shantytown, while we’re inside the characters’ heads for a good portion of the story, the voice we read on the page is really that of Aira himself, as he works out the plot of the book he’s writing.. . .
Noir is not an easy genre to define—or if it once was, that was a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away; as a quick guess, maybe Silver Lake, Los Angeles, 1935. When two books as different as. . .
Some time ago I read this phrase: “The page is the only place in the universe God left blank for me.”
Pedro Mairal’s short novel The Missing Year of Juan Salvatierra is more about these blank spaces than the usual full. . .
“What if even in the afterlife you have to know foreign languages? Since I have already suffered so much trying to speak Danish, make sure to assign me to the Polish zone . . .”
So reads a typical aphoristic “poem”. . .
If you somehow managed to overlook the 2012 translation of Andrés Neuman’s breathtaking Traveler of the Century (and woe betide all whom continue to do so), you now have two exceptional works of fiction from the young Argentine virtuoso demanding. . .