24 April 08 | Chad W. Post

(Now that I’ve cottoned on to the BsAs abbreviation for Buenos Aires, I want to use it as much as possible . . .)

I have a number of roundup thoughts to write out over the next few days—and a rant about the U.S. Embassy that includes a picture from the Book Fair that will make any rational American cringe—but for now, I just want to relate a few anecdotes.

  • Everyone in Argentina loves Lost. Which is further proof tha the porteno aesthetic is fantastic. And everyone I talked to about this a) illegally downloads it since it airs in Argentina weeks after it does in the U.S. and b) loved the fact that The Invention of Morel by Adolfo Bioy Casares appeared on the show. Everything here is named after Borges, but the people I talked with seemed to take a special pride in a different Argentine author getting some international play . . .
  • Speaking of Borges, Abel Gerschenfeld from DeNoel translated a Gombrowicz book from Spanish to French about Witold’s time in Buenos Aires that included this anecdote. Apparently, when he was living here Gombrowicz would go on and on about how he was the greatest Polish writer in the world and how Borges sucked. This became a sort of obsession of his to go on and on about how crappy Borges was. Finally, one day, one of his friends asked why he’s always on about Borges and asked Gombrowicz if he ever read him. In typical Gombrowicz fashion he replied, “read him? Why would I? He sucks.”
  • Nick Caistor gave a presentation at the Universidad de Belgrano today about literary translation and was a total rock star . . . The kids attending—all part of the English-to-Spanish translation program at the university—absolutely loved him, asking for photographs, autographs, etc. It was really wonderful to see so many students so excited for a talk on literary translation. The presentation was a lot of fun . . . You really had to be there to get the sense of the sort of energetic atmosphere and the way all of the editors on the trip participated. And the students were wonderful. They looked so, so young (much younger than students in the States) but asked really good questions and were genuinely interested in the subject. It was one of those events that I wish someone had taped . . .

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