On Translated Literature 📚

I love translated literature. I love stories written by people from other places and cultures with different ways of seeing and telling. I am awestruck by the art of translation. I’ve come to read translations as an escape from what I’ve come to regard as an increasingly stagnant corpus of navel-gazing, perpetually oh-so-timely, and frankly rather boring Anglophone literature. True, there is a certain selection bias at work here, but all the more reason to cherish small presses that publish translations (among my faves: Deep Vellum, Charco Press, And Other Stories). I would urge you to read anything they have on offer.

I especially enjoy Latin American literature (which is a terribly broad term); another universe of literature, parallel to (and often appearing to be far more fascinating and unconstrained) than my own, yet similar enough to be familiar and immersive. Yes, I got started with Bolaño, but in the years since I’ve spread my reading as wide and deep as translations will allow me, and I haven’t even scraped the surface of course. So I’m slowly (but steadily) working my way through the small presses, who are cranking out translations at an admirable pace, and I am slowly (but oh so slowly) learning to read Spanish at least, so I don’t have to rely on others curation to guide my exploration.

All that said because this article provides an excellent overview of the intricacies of publishing Latin American literature in the international market, the perils of selling (and reading) translated literature in general, and has given me plenty of food for thought.

Jeremy @restlesslens