All Articles by Date

July, 2016

The City and the Writer: In Patra with Christos Tsiamis

Image: Christos Tsiamis. If each city is like a game of chess, the day when I have learned the rules, I shall finally possess my empire, even if I shall never succeed in knowing all the cities it contains. —Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities Can you describe the mood of Patra as you feel/see it? I left Patra at seventeen years old but I visit regularly. What strikes me with every visit is that despite the occasional mood swings precipitated by specific circumstances (the crowds of...

WWB Weekend: Beach Reading

Image: Postcard of the Bahia Honda Bridge, Key West, Florida, 1930-1945. The Boston Public Library. As scores of people head to the shore for the weekend, we’re summering with “Islamorada,” Rivka Keren’s taut story of a Florida Keys vacation turned moral test. In the island town of the title, a bickering couple, Ernest and Amalia, are interrupted by a young man bursting into their hotel room. He’s not a robber but a Cuban refugee, the survivor...

“The First Wife: A Tale of Polygamy” by Paulina Chiziane

What do you do when you discover that your husband of twenty years has been cheating? You might decide to stay together for the kids; you might want to start couples counseling; you might ask your divorced friends for attorney referrals. But for Rami, a woman living in the capital of Mozambique and the protagonist and narrator of Paulina Chiziane’s The First Wife: A Tale of Polygamy, these are not the thoughts that come to mind. Though her reaction to marital crisis at first feels very...

The Borders of Language: An Interview with Etgar Keret

Image: Etgar Keret in Florence, Italy, 2016. Photograph by Jessie Chaffee. Etgar Keret is a fiction and nonfiction writer, graphic novelist, and playwright from Israel. He is the author of several short story collections, including The Girl on the Fridge and The Bus Driver Who Wanted To Be God, and the memoir The Seven Good Years. His work has been translated into thirty-seven languages and has appeared in the New Yorker, the Wall Street Journal, and the New York...

From the Translator: On “Beauty, a Terrible Story”

Image: From the cover of the Brazilian edition of The Dragons Haven’t Been to Paradise, published by Companhia das Letras.  Bruna Dantas Lobato’s translation of Caio Fernando Abreu’s “Beauty, a Terrible Story” appears in the July 2016 issue of Words without Borders: “Brazil Beyond Rio.” Caio Fernando Abreu’s “Beauty, a Terrible Story” was first published in 1989 in The Dragons Haven’t Been to Paradise, a moving...

WWB Weekend: Ancestors of Pokémon Go

As the Pokémon Go craze sweeps and swipes through the world, and we at WWB live in fear of discovering that the office has been designated a gym, we seek refuge in a tale from the Stone Age of Internet gaming. In “The Universe on My Hands,” the Japanese game designer-turned-science-fiction-star Hiroshi Yamamoto presents The Celestial, a club named for the starship setting of the group’s online collaborative novel. Each of the sixty club members assumes the...

The Watchlist: July 2016

Every month, from the reviews desk to you, Words without Borders shares a handful of new titles they are excited about and think you should be excited about, too. This month’s list was compiled by Stephanie Hubble, a student at Michigan Technological University, with the help of our reviews editor, M. Bartley Seigel. Let us all now sally forth into a few new titles worth our good attentions: From Wakefield Press, Sweating Blood by Léon Bloy, translated...

The City and the Writer: In Valletta, Malta with Nadia Mifsud

Image: Nadia Mifsud. If each city is like a game of chess, the day when I have learned the rules, I shall finally possess my empire, even if I shall never succeed in knowing all the cities it contains. —Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities Can you describe the mood of Valletta as you feel/see it? Baroque is the first word that comes to mind. Valletta is a bustling yet serene city in the daytime; at night, it is amazingly quiet, near-deserted. It is utterly bewitching....

The Hungry Years in Catalonia: An Interview with Peter Bush about “Black Bread”

Black Bread, one of the major novels of Catalan literature, makes its appearance in English in the Biblioasis International Translation Series this month, in a translation by Peter Bush. Series editor Stephen Henighan asked Bush about the narrative world of the novel’s author, Emili Teixidor, who grew up in rural Catalonia under fascist occupation. Stephen Henighan (SH): As soon as you begin reading Black Bread, you’re aware that you’re in the presence of a major work of...

The Translator Relay: Mihaela Moscaliuc

Image: Mihaela Moscaliuc. WWB’s Translator Relay features an interview with a different translator each month. This month’s translator will choose the next interviewee, adding a different, sixth question. For July’s installment, Sholeh Wolpé passed the baton to Mihaela Moscaliuc. Mihaela was born and raised in Romania. She is the author of the poetry collections Immigrant Model (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2015) and Father Dirt (Alice James Books, 2010), the...

WWB Weekend: Comings and Goings, Brexit and Turke(ntr)y

Image: European Union flags on Castle Street, Hull, Great Britain. Creative Commons. With the UK still reeling at the prospect of leaving the European Union, we’re looking back to a time when another country seemed on the brink of joining. The title of our December 2005 issue, “Women on the Verge (of European Union),” nods to both the all-female lineup and the presumptive results of the first formal membership talks between Turkey and the EU. The issue sparkles...

Hatred, Silence, Violence, and Kafkaesque Institutions: An Interview with Dragoslava Barzut

Image: Dragoslava Barzut. Photograph by Vincent Urbani. In December 2015, I read in Autonomija that Dragoslava Barzut, an author I have been translating, and three other women had been attacked in a Belgrade bar a few months earlier. She was hit in the head and knocked to the ground; another woman in the group received graver injuries. They are calling it a hate crime. Barzut was already in the public eye in Serbia as a writer and as an activist with Labris, a lesbian human rights...

The City and the Writer: In Yogyakarta, Indonesia with Tia Setiadi

Image: Tia Setiadi. If each city is like a game of chess, the day when I have learned the rules, I shall finally possess my empire, even if I shall never succeed in knowing all the cities it contains. —Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities Can you describe the mood of Yogyakarta as you feel/see it? Yogyakarta is a permissive city. Like a sponge, it absorbs anything and everything. But, like a big lake, it receives and embraces every influence and culture it encounters without being polluted...

When in Hell, Embrace the Devil: On Recreating “Grande Sertão: Veredas” in English

Image: Passages of Grande Sertão: Veredas hanging in the Museum of the Portuguese Language in São Paulo. (Wikimedia Commons.) Alison Entrekin’s translation of an excerpt from Grande Sertão: Veredas appears in the July 2016 issue of Words without Borders: “Brazil Beyond Rio.” When I was approached about translating a certain Brazilian literary classic renowned for its made-up language and asked if I’d be willing to produce a...

Brazil Beyond Rio

Any attempt to introduce Brazil in a single essay is fraught from the outset. The country is, much like the United States, a continental nation, the site of European discovery tales to rival our own, and host to a series of political upheavals. It is also home to a literary history that has at times looked outward for inspiration, and at others inward to construct, via literature, an idea of nationhood that has often seemed elusive. Perhaps a solution presents itself in an idea every bit as...

Grande Sertão: Veredas (Bedeviled in the Badlands)

The following is an excerpt from the new translation of João Guimarães Rosa’s magnum opus, Grande Sertão: Veredas, first published in English in 1963. That translation soon fell out of print for reasons that are not entirely clear. As translator Alison Entrekin explains in her introduction to the piece on our blog, “[t]o read Grande Sertão: Veredas for the first time in Portuguese is like setting foot in a foreign country where the...

The Time Left

They were hard to push down, the buttons. Stiff, you might say. Marcelinho strained and scrunched his face, and succeeded. It still worked, even after everything. The buttons had always been stiff, even before Ricardo’s death. The little door was cracked, and behind the plastic Marcelinho said he saw some bloodstains, still. “Don’t be daft, son. That thing’s clean as a whistle. And be grateful that piece of junk still works.” Work is too ambiguous a word. Does...

Death in the Amazon

The Assassination 1. They’ve set up the ambush by a small bridge across a stream. They’ve been hiding among the trees since early morning—and they’re lying in wait. They know that José Cláudio and Maria will have to slow down here. That’s when the first shot is fired. Discharged from a hunting rifle, the bullet hits both of them at once: it goes through Maria’s hand and lodges near the left wall of José Cláudio’s stomach....

Lua

“When are you going to write a book like Knife?” “Never, for sure.”   I was choosing the songs to put on the soundtrack of Lua Cambará when I came across the recordings of the spirituals commending the souls of the dead to God. Ten cassette tapes stored in a Styrofoam box. In the northeast of Brazil they still chant songs filled with religiosity during funeral celebrations. The women’s voices seemed to sprout up, beautiful and strange, up from the...

Beauty, a Terrible Story

To Sergio Keuchguerian “You’ve never heard of a curse never seen a miracle never cried alone in a filthy bathroom nor ever wanted to see the face of God.” —Cazuza, “Only Mothers Are Happy” Only after ringing the doorbell many times did he finally hear the rumble of footsteps coming down the stairs. And he recognized the worn rug, once purple, later just red, then each time a lighter shade of pink—now, what color?—and heard the tuneless bark of...

Esperança Terena

Eliseu Cavalcante is a Brazilian photographer based in New York. In July 2013, Cavalcante traveled to Mato Grosso do Sul in Brazil to capture the land-rights struggle of the Terena, an indigenous tribe. The resulting project, Esperança Terena, aims to bring awareness about the issue of indigenous land rights in Brazil. During the height of occupations to reclaim territory that traditionally belonged to them, Cavalcante traveled to the Esperança ranch right...

Quipapá Gold

L’or de Quipapá is the debut novel from Hubert Tézenas, an author who has spent the first thirty years of his career translating American and Brazilian novels into his native French. The crime novel dives into Brazil of the late 80s, exploring all the crime, corruption, and seedy underbelly of a country in economic repression, having just recovered from a military dictatorship. Quipapá is home to a sugar cane magnate, whose workers are treated more like slaves. When...

Falling in Love with Bahia & Brazil: On Negritude, Saudade, & Surrender

I have been trying actively to stave off a case of Brazil-o-philia since the early 2000s when I lived in pre-gentrification Brooklyn. Preventive care for me looked like resisting the allure of capoeira classes, which offered the promise of instant friendship and community, endless references to obscure terminology, a pet name (as a West Indian, it’s hard for me to resist affectionate teasing and nicknames), and a warrior physique. Determined to keep my hot foot off Brazilian soil, I cut...

The Pharmacist’s First Report

The following is an excerpt from Lúcio Cardoso’s Chronicle of a Murdered House, forthcoming in December 2016 from Open Letter Books. My name is Aurélio dos Santos, and for many years I have been established in our small town with a business selling medicines and pharmaceutical products. Indeed my shop could be considered the only such establishment in the town, for there is little competition from the stall selling homeopathic remedies on the Praça da Matriz....

Coral Reef

Imaginary distances part from this spot, mirages which tell of the true distances between us. A man planted in front of the window is a ghost of himself suspended by improbable lines and colors. We are him and he is all of us as if we were yet the city around him. We are him and his slumped shoulders. We are him and his face gnawed by fish. We are him and the narrow streets that cut across him and stick through him like poles shackles and other senseless forms of nostalgia (like all forms of...

Page 1 of 170 pages  1 2 3 >  Last ›