Belletrista Blog

Archive for December, 2010

National Public Radio’s Lynn Neary talks to Edith Grossman and Lydia Davis about their differing approaches to translation.  Interesting to note that Davis finds it valuable to look at previous translations while Grossman claims she never does.

Being a part of Belletrista has introduced me to so many new books and authors whose work I am eager to read more of.

I’ve been slowly working my way through Ludmilla Petrushevskaya’s short story collection There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbor’s Baby, which Tim Jones reviewed for Issue 8. My favorite pieces so far have been “Hygeine,” a dystopian and utterly macabre tale about a family desperate to escape from an unidentified pandemic, and the aptly named “Revenge,” which is probably the story from which the collection takes it name.  I confess that I bought this book before Tim reviewed it, thinking it was traditional Russian fairy tales with a nasty twist (ala the original, non-Disneyfied Grimm stories perhaps).  So far I’ve been wrong but I haven’t been disappointed in the least.

Other discoveries this year (which I admit I haven’t yet had time to actually read!):  Baba Yaga Laid an Egg, which Rachel Hayes reviewed for Issue 3; The Girl Who Fell From the Sky, which Barbara Steeg reviewed also in Issue 3; and Rien Ne Va Plus, which Akeela Gaibie-Dawood reviewed in Issue 4.

How about our readers?  Looking back on Belle in 2010, what have been your favorite discoveries through this site?  What books did we feature that you are most looking forward to reading?

The New York Times recently published an article “Translation as Literary Ambassador” about foreign governments trying to increase the number of books from their respective countries that are translated and published in the US and calling attention to the work of publishers like Dalkey Archive Press, University of Rochester Press, and Words Without Borders.  I am particularly excited to learn that Dalkey is going to be devoting more efforts to works translated from Hebrew, as I am always on the lookout for more books from the Middle East.