An Interview with Margaret Jull Costa

Co-authored with Julia Sanches ::

JS/MB: Your keen sense of register and timbre expertly captured the ambient tensions in Seven Houses in France, especially considering you had to work with bits of French throughout. How did you go about translating for an audience that might not be familiar with the novel’s many languages? Is there a middle road between foreignization and domestication?

Read the full interview here.

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José Donoso’s The Lizard’s Tale

The inclination for escapism, so poignantly symbolized by the novel’s principal metaphor—the lizard’s tail, which is hastily shed when the animal finds itself in danger—is ultimately Muñoz-Roa’s undoing.  Reflecting upon his break from the Informalist movement, he cannot determine what, or whom, has been left behind. And this uncertainty is what eventually confounds him, leaving him unable to complete even his most quotidian tasks.  It is no surprise when he finally surrenders to the artificial light of his dingy apartment to avoid the shadows that threaten to consume him.

Read the full review here.

“After Hours”

Cristina Peri Rossi; Megan Berkobien ::

She understood because she suddenly started looking at him with a deeper sadness, if that were possible, as if she needed a lot of help, What bullshit those trafficking sons of bitches must have told you: Spain, a country of sun, beaches, flounce and frills, flamenco dancers wherever you go, boatloads of money, men willing to marry you, to provide you with a little house and furniture, a washer and dryer, kitchenette, for a fuck a day, only one fuck, not one more, I promise you, marry me, marry me and we’ll leave this filthy after-hours bar together, away from this damned highway with windmills and gas stations like blackberry stains, off to Constanța, where you were born and we’ll listen to “The Internationale” and you won’t have sadness cast across your face, we’ll go to the lake, no more men in your life, no more take off your panties, suck my dick, I’ll study Romanian and you’ll learn English, I promise you.

Read the full story here.

Fabio Genovesi’s Live Bait

Days go by, but Fiorenzo doesn’t budge. His town, Muglione, seems to be rotting. He is caught in the swell of familial and social backwash and, feeling the routine ennui that accompanies small-town life, sets about to become famous—it’s what he deserves of course, having spent years as a social outcast—along with his band mates. This includes one chubby guy who, as Fiorenzo relays, believes that “t-shirts are the cages of the system.” Their debut at a local festival is on the horizon. But things don’t go as planned. No one is listening. In fact, they’re booed off stage. He isn’t ready. The world is shit. He is ready. Ready for something. He’s angry. Maybe he has the right to be. There is some really rich teenage angst to be mined here, and Genovesi accomplishes it better than Salinger, in my humble opinion. Fiorenzo may sense that things are “phony,” but at least he knows how to take a cosmic joke.

Read the full review here

“The Sentinel”

Cristina Peri Rossi; Megan Berkobien ::

He sustains himself on the canned food and oranges he steals from a neighboring field by night. It’s the only moment he abandons his post, although really, you cannot treat it as desertion: at night the skirmishes come to a halt and he can rest a bit, eat oranges, loosen his boots. The state of his uniform doesn’t bother him. In the pit of the trench he keeps two rusty guns, a soldier’s cap burned through by a bullet, the keel of a grenade, and a dead man’s jawbone.

Read the rest of the story here.

“The Uprooted”

Cristina Peri Rossi; Megan Berkobien ::

Often you see them, walking through the streets of those grand cities, men and women who float on air, suspended in time and space. Their feet lack roots; sometimes they lack feet altogether. From their heads the roots don’t grow, nor do smooth lianas tie their centers to some species of soil. They are like seaweed driven by the currents, and when they fix themselves to some surface, it is only by chance, lasting but a moment. At once they return to floating, and there’s a certain nostalgia in it.

Read the full story here.