I’m Sarah Winstein-Hibbs – nicknamed “quantum Sarah” by Chad, who thinks my weird hyphenated last name sounds like some kind of subatomic particle – and I’m an English Literature major at University of Rochester. I’m interning at Open Letter this summer, so I’ll be posting on threepercent throughout June, July, and August. I had the great opportunity to write an upcoming review Liliana Heker’s The End of the Story, a shocking novel on the atrocity of the Argentinian Dirty War. Also watch for a joint review I’m writing with with super awesome co-star Sarah Young, on Italian novelist Alessandro Baricco’s haunting and lyrical new work, Emmaus.
A little bit about me: I love the arts, I love learning about different cultures, I love reading and writing and playing flute. I got interested in Open Letter when I took International Fiction last semester and read Kafka, Borges, Marquez, Nabokov, and Calvino. I’ve also studied Spanish literature and language, so Open Letter speaks to my interests in that regard, as well. Speaking of which, my big summer project will be reading and reviewing a forthcoming anthology of Spanish literature, featuring both renowned and newly-acclaimed authors. In the music realm, I’m a performer and avid fan of classical music. I also serve as co-artistic director for an exciting new project called Sound ExChange Orchestra, an innovative ensemble dedicated to the proliferation of classical music in contemporary American society (click here to read more!) I’m super excited to be involved in Open Letter this summer and am looking forward to sharing lots of good reads and good conversation with you all!
“I preferred the war to the plague,” writes Curzio Malaparte in his 1949 novel, The Skin. He speaks of World War II and the destruction it has wrought on Italy, the city of Naples in particular. But the plague he. . .
With the steady rise of feminist scholarship and criticism in recent decades, it is little wonder that the work of Louise Labé should be attracting, as Richard Sieburth tells us in the Afterword to his translation, a “wide and thriving”. . .
In Conversations, we find ourselves again in the protagonist’s conscious and subconscious, which is mostly likely that of Mr. César Aira and consistent with prototypical Aira style. This style never fails because each time Aira is able to develop a. . .
You are not ashamed of what you do, but of what they see you do. Without realizing it, life can be an accumulation of secrets that permeates every last minute of our routine . . .
The narrative history of. . .
Literature in translation often comes with a certain pedigree. In this little corner of the world, with so few books making it into this comforting nook, it is often those of the highest quality that cross through, and attention is. . .
Alessandro Baricco’s Mr. Gwyn is a set of two loosely interlinked novellas that play with narrative and the construction of character. Ably translated by Ann Goldstein, Mr. Gwyn plays some subtle metafictional games as Baricco delves into what it means. . .
I must admit upfront that I went into reading Saadat Hasan Manto’s Bombay Stories almost entirely blind. I have not read Salman Rushdie. I have read, perhaps, two short stories by Jhumpa Lahiri. I might shamefully add that I really. . .
Throughout his work The Gray Notebook, Josep Pla mentions many different authors, some of whom have inspired him to pick up a pen. One of them is Marcel Proust. Even though Pla normally prefers nonfiction, he lauds the French novelist. . .
On that September 11th I had a conversation with a professor friend who was teaching a creative writing class that evening. He questioned, “What can I possibly teach when all of this has happened?” While the dismay and grief were. . .
In a story of two emotionally distant people, Japanese author Takashi Hiraide expertly evokes powerful feelings of love, loss, and friendship in his novel The Guest Cat. The life of the unnamed narrator and his wife, both writers, is calm. . .