Saturday, July 23, 2016

Women in Translation? Here's your book list!

August is Women in Translation Month; a month when, if you felt so inclined, you could curl up with a wonderful book by a foreign authoress translated into English by a wonderful translator and have yourself a time.

And in honor of the designation, some translation-loving folks, including Katy Derbyshire and Susan Bernofsky, have compiled a list of books written by women from around the world (the non-native English-speaking world) and translated into English. For my part, I contributed the absolutely unneeded suggestion of adding Elena Ferrante to the pile (as if).

The list only goes so far as works published since 2010 but whoa! Look at this smorgasbord! You could curl up for two or three years with this list.

Books written by women and translated into English, published since 2010

In alphabetical order by author

HIGH TIDE, Inga Ābele (Open Letter Books)
THE NUN, Simonella Agnello Hornby (Europa Editions)
FROM THE LAND OF THE MOON, Milena Agus (Europa Editions)
SECOND-HAND TIME, Svetlana Alexievich (Fitzcarraldo)
ROCK, PAPER, SCISSORS, Naja Marie Aidt (Open Letter Books)
BROOKLYN HEIGHTS, Miral al-Tahawy (American University in Cairo Press)
CHERNOBYL PRAYER, Svetlana Alexievich (Penguin Modern Classics)
WILLFUL DISREGARD, Lena Andersson (Other Press)
WOMAN OF TANTOURA, Radwa Ashour (American University in Cairo Press)
SPECTRES, Radwa Ashour (Arabia Books)
ONE HUNDRED TWENTY-ONE DAYS, Michèle Audin (Deep Vellum)
THE QUEUE, Basma Abdel Aziz (Melville House)
PANTY, Sangeeta Bandyopadhyay (Tilted Axis Press)
OH, SALAAM! Najwa Barakat (Interlink Books)
THE LIFE OF ELVES, Muriel Barbery (Gallic Books)
THE COUNTRY UNDER MY SKIN, Gioconda Belli (Bloomsbury)
SWALLOW SUMMER, Larissa Boehning (Comma Press)
THE OTHER WOMAN, Therese Bohman (Other Press)
BEFORE, Carmen Boullosa (Deep Vellum)
TEXAS: THE GREAT THEFT, Carmen Boullosa (Deep Vellum)
BABA DUNJA’S LAST LOVE, Alina Bronsky (Europa Editions)
THE SECRET WAYS OF PERFUME, Cristina Caboni (Transworld)
THE LAST LOVER, Can Xue (Yale University Press)
MR DARWIN’S GARDENER, Kristina Carlson (Peirene Press)
THE FIRST WIFE, Paulina Chiziane (out August 9, Archipelago Press)
ALWAYS COCO-COLA, Alexandra Chrietieh (Interlink Books)
HOME, Leila S. Chudori (Deep Vellum)
THE ISLAND OF LOST TRUTH, Flavia Company (Europa Editions)

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Review -- "Only in Naples"

I don't think I have ever reviewed a book on my blog. But I've done quite a few things in the last four years that I have never done before so let's get right to it!

There are lots of books written about Italy. Lots of books. You could even say tanti.

But this book by Katherine Wilson, which was published by Random House earlier this year, stands out for several reasons.

First of all, it's about Naples. Not over-exposed Tuscany or well-documented Rome (though Rome does appear in the book) or even Milan, which Americans have begun to visit more frequently in recent years.

Nope. It's about Naples.

(And she began doing her research long before Elena Ferrante's books spawned literary tours of the Southern Italian city.)

Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, this woman, Katherine (or 'Ketrin', as her Neapolitan in-laws call her) knows Italy.

She knows a very specific part of Italy but that doesn't change the fact that she's one of the few American authors of memoirs to truly penetrate Italian society and learn its every molecule.

She also has a unique story on her hands: she loves her mother-in-law. Her Italian mother-in-law.

And what's not to love?

Click 'continua a leggere' to read the rest....

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

My Montreal Journal

As I'm about to publish this excerpt of my Montreal journal, I realize I've included almost nothing about where we walked or what we saw (the McCord Museum of Canadian History, for example, the Parc Jean Drapeau, which overlooks the city, the Marche Jean Talon where we stocked up on lunch supplies for a picnic). It's all about me and language. Not even sure what to say about that.

I left out the lovely park on Rue Beaubien Est across from the cinema, I left out the birreria where Mike lounged two nights of our stay after Leo went to bed. I left out the Basilica of Notre Dame and the view of the city we glimpsed from the island park where we had our picnic (and visited a science museum that was not the science museum we thought we were visiting).

I also said very little (in the entries below) about the market, which is such a key part of any vacation we take. The Marche Jean Talon (see the picture above -- we had the most delightful Quebecois tomatoes there).

And Little Italy! Just a quick mention. Three days, as you will see from my gush of emotion, are not enough to explore Montreal. Not by a long shot. Just enough to give you heartache.
June 30, 2016
9:03 a.m.

This is a city that inspires -- probably everyone -- but definitely me. A city I’d like to call my own (in the way, as a traveler, I collect cities around the world).

1 p.m.

Visits today to the Marche Jean Talon and Petite Italie

We are skimming the surface. A relatively quick, disorganized, disjointed shopping excursion followed by the pedestrian equivalent of a driveby to Little Italy. A cultural fusion that even just briefly left me sbalordita. An American Italophile in an Italian bastion within a French-speaking city of a largely Anglophone country. Whoa! Anyway you sliced it – Bonjour madame or buongiorno, I was good!

All of these glancing encounters temporarily fire up my brain and lead to brief intellectual explorations that must be aborted. To wit:

*What’s Quebecois culture all about?
*How to understand the fight for instilling the French language as the dominant form of communication in Montreal
*How does Quebecois Italian culture fit in?
*What can the U.S. learn about relations with indigenous people?

*Click on continua a leggere below to