Image: Fernando O’Connor, “El Lector”/“The Reader” (detail), 2017, oil and charcoal on canvas, 220 X 170cm. By arrangement with the artist.
Our April issue features five writers who share—much more than, and perhaps in place of, any sense of national identity—a common commitment to searching and seeking out. Each of these writers seeks something different, but all of them grapple with myths: about identity, place, and relationships to others. Two contributors, Sara Gallardo and Norah Lange, appear here with selections from the first book-length English-language translations of their fiction. In a short story from her forthcoming collection, Gallardo presents a retiree and gardener who finds himself at sea in every sense of the term. And avant-garde writer Lange—who, along with Borges and her husband, poet Oliverio Girondo, formed part of the influential Florida group in the 1920s and ’30s—observes a woman spying on, then becoming involved with, her neighbors in an excerpt from her forthcoming People in the Room. In an homage to one of the greats, Sergio Chejfec sends an essayist, a novelist, and a theologian on a pilgrimage through Père Lachaise after Juan José Saer, the literary giant who died in Paris in 2005. Taking the reader on a literary tour of Buenos Aires, pivotal literary and cultural critic Beatriz Sarlo deconstructs the myth that the city is the Paris of South America, while Marcelo Cohen reflects back on decades as a translator in Spain and the complex relationship between translation, exile, and identity.
Our feature includes writing by three Estonian writers, with an introduction by Adam Cullen.
Several Worlds Simultaneously: A Deeper Look at Argentina
The writers here lead us to a much more nuanced understanding of twentieth-century Argentina and its literature.
A Trip to the Cemetery
One shouldn’t expect more from novelists than disjointed emanations without guaranteed outcomes.
New Battles for the Propriety of Language
The Spanish and I said very different things using almost the same words.
Why Buenos Aires Is Not Paris
The comparison of Buenos Aires to Paris is an image of desire.
A smell of putrefaction, and the city with lit-up buildings was waking, coated in shades of pink.
People in the Room
It was too late to forget.
Reviewed by Ángel Gurría-Quintana
In "Tomb Song", Julián Herbert combines a visceral lament about his mother's death from leukaemia with a scathing portrayal of Mexican society. The book’s title plays on the Spanish expression for a lullaby – a cradle song. Except that here the narrator – also named Julián Herbert – is keeping vigil over his dying mother in a hospital room in the north-eastern Mexican city of Saltillo, and writing the book as a way of finding comfort while coming to terms with her life.
Reviewed by Mary Ann Scheuer
Ulf Stark and Linda Bondestam’s sweetly eccentric picture book "My Little Small" tells the story of a creature who lives alone in a cave until she befriends a sun spark. On the surface, it’s a story of finding a small friend to care for. Dig a little deeper, and Stark’s philosophical ruminations come through.