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Articles tagged "Spanish Literature In Translation"

First Read: From “Landing”

Image: From the cover of Landing (Hispabooks). Landing, by Laia Fàbregas and translated by Samantha Schnee, is forthcoming from Hispabooks (September, 13, 2016). He died while we were landing. During takeoff I had noticed how his hands were riveted to his knees and how the veins beneath his skin seemed to be thickening. I hoped he wasn’t in pain. As soon as we were airborne, he relaxed. The cabin lights shone brightly. Although I normally wouldn’t, I talked...

Living with the Beast

  Wilfredo Inuma is the chief of an indigenous Amazonian community. But above all, he is the guardian of the lavatory. Wilfredo founded the Shipibo community of Bena Gema twelve years ago, together with 150 families fleeing the misery of the jungle. They settled in the outskirts of the city of Pucallpa, capital of the Peruvian region of Ucayali. They wanted schools for their children. And jobs. Wilfredo has worked guarding oil company facilitiess against attacks by locals. He has...

Like a Rolling Stone

The fat man was interesting. A tourist, of course, who had only come to Qoyllur Rit’i to rubberneck. Zimm had seen him on previous days down on the plain below the ice, walking around the campsites set up most recently on the Sinakara depression. There was no mistaking his shape; Zimm figured he must weigh at least three hundred pounds, which ruled him out as a typical festival pilgrim. Plus, the fat man hadn’t brought altar candles with him up to the still night-darkened ice,...

At Peace

“We die from the moment we’re born, but only say we die when we’ve reached the end of that process, and sometimes that end lasts an awfully long time.” Thomas Bernhard, Breath Mariana Speranza! It’s been four years since I last heard my name. I’d almost forgotten what it sounded like. Someone knocks on the door three times. The last time I heard it was on a Thursday, four years ago, as I was leaving the office. It was my last day of work. I resigned. I...

1-02

I cut my sister’s hair today the locks fell like huge tears against the baseboards I swept it up and tossed it in the trash All that dead hair has filled my dreams One day I dreamt of dead hair  The strands all joined back together They ganged up and demanded I account for my sad deed I was silent, dumbstruck The dead hair insisted: Are you there? Why did you butcher me? I gathered up the hair and my sister’s face appeared floating in the distance Why did you throw my hair...

Lessons for a Boy Who Arrived Late

1 We sensed that a shadow had caressed the door, but it couldn’t be the cat. My sister Candelaria was the first to notice it. She stopped playing the piano nearly at the same time. I had been observing a colossal painting that hung on the wall of the salon, feeling somnolent from the lesson’s stammering repetition. The painting was of a nude woman reclining beside a grotto, scarcely veiled by the modesty of her hair, one of her hands fallen to her side, like a leaf. I found it...

The Shower

At first she stared at the window for a while, as her life paraded past in scenes: her mother’s house in Piura, the silent sun high over Piura’s dusty rooftops, which bristled with aluminum antennas marking the luminously streaked sky. Her mother’s house that smelled of Bolívar soap and rue plants beneath the gold sun that hung in the taut, infinite sky. She missed it all, but she was in Paris and there was nothing she could do about it. That was the harsh truth....

Lindbergh

So it all boils down to this. A whole morning seeing my face and Paulo’s on the television screen. Ten reporters camped out at the entrance to the building. Three policemen on phone-tap duty, reading the soccer pages in the dining room. They might get in touch at any moment. Waiting is all that’s left for me. I’ve called Lucía to tell her that, obviously, I won’t be doing the program today. She started to cry. This can’t be happening to you, she...

Frail Before the Squalor

Frail before the squalor             squalor being a feeble answer the everyday self gives its own abjections it surprises me to be in a city whose name like the humidity that clings to its ancient walls or like its tubercular pigeons means nothing to me any more than being inside its plastic image as I sink into La Defense or lose myself in the ardor of its past      oh the purity the freshness of withered things...

A Trip through Ayahuasca

Audio courtesy of Literatura Sonora. We look like funerary bundles dug out of our graves. There are ten or twelve people sitting on the room’s floor, in a circle, and in the dark. The healer is at the center. He is smoking a mapacho—tobacco typically found in the forests of Peru—and exhales the smoke above the rim of a bottle filled with a viscous liquid. He takes a sip, and then calls us one by one. I’m afraid. Those who have taken ayahuasca before say the...

The Age of Acurio

I grew up in a country at war. I still remember clearly a month in 1990 in which twelve bombs exploded near my house in Lima, one every two or three days. Peru was living through its worst years of violence, and the Shining Path—the dangerous terrorist group that controlled a large part of the Andean region—had succeeded in descending from the mountains to the coast, and was very close to dealing the final blow. Lima, at the edge of the sea, was preparing for a siege by the...

Pulp Fiction as Speculative Sociology: On Hernán Vanoli

I have always been drawn to literature driven by overt or covert sociological inquiries, fictions constructed to understand on various individual or collective levels those vexing questions of cultural or political history that social scientists spend their careers measuring, theorizing, and debating.  It should perhaps not have come as a surprise to me, after reading Hernán Vanoli’s work and looking up the author’s credentials and trajectory, that he is, in fact, a...

From the Translator: One-handed Translation

When presumably innocent Susan Harris and Samantha Schnee were in touch about translating a story by Israel Centeno titled “Romanza Pornomilitar,” selected by editor Ana Nuño for the special Venezuelan issue, the answer, honestly, was a no-brainer. I was “encantada” (a word I once used as a pleasantry with Portuguese writer Lobo Antunes, who responded; “if you are truly “encantada,” you’d be kneeling before me kissing my feet.” I...

Ode to Ángel Cruchaga

Ángel, I remember in my childhood, southern and shaken by rain and wind, suddenly your wings, the flight of your sparkling poetry, the starry tunic filling the night, the roads, with phosphoric resplendence, you were a pulsating river full of fish, you were the silvery tail of a green mermaid crossing the sky from west to east, the shape of light gathered in your wings, and the wind allowing rain and black leaves to fall  on your clothes. So it was far away, in my childhood, but...

Ode to the Flowers of Datitla

Under the pines, the earth concocts small unsullied things: slim grasses from whose threads minuscule lanterns hang, mysterious capsules plump with lost air, and shadows are different there, filtered  and flowery, long green needles scattered by the wind attacking and disheveling the hair of pine trees. On the sand stand  fragmentary petals, calcified bark, blue pieces  of dead wood, leaves the patience of beetle-like woodcutters moves around, thousands of minimal cups left...

Ode to Juan Tarrea

Yes, you know America, Tarrea. You know it. In the helpless Peru, you looted the tombs. To the small villager, to the Andean Indian, Tarrea, protector,  gave his hand, but retreated it with its rings. He destroyed wealth. He left for Bilbao with the vessels. Later he hung from Vallejo, he was lucky to die and then he opened a small store of prologues and epilogues. Now he has spoken with Pineda. He is important. He might be selling something. He has “discovered” the New...

Ode to Jean Arthur Rimbaud

Now, this October you will turn a hundred, harrowing friend. May I speak to you? I’m alone, through my window the Pacific breaks its eternal threatening thunder. It is night. The burning firewood throws over the oval of your old portrait a fugitive ray. You are a child of twisted locks, sour mouth. I apologize if I talk to you the way I am, the way I trust you would be today,  if I talk of marine water and of burning firewood, of simple things and simple beings. They tortured...

Confession

I admit it: I once killed a journalist. I’ve tried to forget it, to keep quiet, to pretend, but it doesn’t make sense to continue deceiving myself. No one can escape their memories. The recollection of that unlucky wretch follows me, by day and by night. And when I say that it pursues me, I mean exactly that: when I open my eyes at dawn, frightened by some presence that I don’t recognize as real, I find that fool by my side, watching me with those bulging eyes,...

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