If Not, Winter: Fragments of Sappho, tr. Anne Carson (a #WITMonth post)

Title:  If Not, Winter – Fragments of Sappho Author:  Sappho Translator:  Anne Carson Language:  Classical Greek Publisher:  Vintage Books/Random House, New York (2002) ISBN:  0 375 72451 6 Is Sappho, who composed her poems c. 630-570 B.C., the earliest woman to have her work was translated into English? She was much admired in antiquity, the woman whom Plato called “the tenth muse”, but notwithstanding the immensity of her … Continue reading If Not, Winter: Fragments of Sappho, tr. Anne Carson (a #WITMonth post)

All Dogs Are Blue by Rodrigo de Souza Leão, translated from the Portuguese by Zoë Perry & Stefan Tobler

All Dogs Are Blue is a beautifully nuanced portrayal of mental illness.  Rodrigo de Souza Leão has given us a story set in a Brazilian mental institution which isn’t a caricature of lunacy.  The author does not fall into the familiar stereotypes.  He does not confine his narrator within a prison of horrors.  Nor does Souza Leão romanticize the disease, assigning it the attributes of genius.  … Continue reading All Dogs Are Blue by Rodrigo de Souza Leão, translated from the Portuguese by Zoë Perry & Stefan Tobler

Death Sentences by Kawamata Chiaki (translated by Thomas Lamarre & Kazuko Y. Behrans)

The description on the back cover of Kawamata Chiaki’s Death Sentences compares the sci-fi/fantasy novel to the 2002 horror film The Ring (or Ringu, if you’re a purist who only acknowledges the original 1998 Japanese version). The film plot centers on  **SPOILER ALERT**  a video tape that’s haunted by a murdered girl.  Anyone who watches the tape dies in seven days. Of course there’s a … Continue reading Death Sentences by Kawamata Chiaki (translated by Thomas Lamarre & Kazuko Y. Behrans)

Varamo by César Aira (translated from the Spanish by Chris Andrews)

My love affair with César Aira began at the Idlewild Bookshop.  A friend handed me a copy of GHOSTS and said “This looks interesting.  You read it and let me know if it’s any good”.  (These assignments occur more often then you might think).  And so I read it.  Afterwards, I began to hunt for other Aira books with the single-minded focus I’d previously reserved … Continue reading Varamo by César Aira (translated from the Spanish by Chris Andrews)

Flash Cards, poetry by Yu Jian (translated from the Chinese by Wang Ping & Ron Padgett)

I purchased this little book of poetry sometime last year on a whim.  It didn’t pop back up on my radar until after I read The True Deceiver, and discovered in the course of writing my review that both books were nominated for the 2011 Best Translated Book Award.  I immediately pulled it out of the pile and devoured Flash Cards in just a few … Continue reading Flash Cards, poetry by Yu Jian (translated from the Chinese by Wang Ping & Ron Padgett)