OCTOBER 13, 2013
OUT OF THAT CORNER came Silvia, her eyes sparkling, her lips wet. Her tiny nipples peered through the flesh of her crossed arms. Her thin, naked body, her hairless pubis, and her limpid legs white as chalk were drawn against the rough background of the wall, where nocturnal insects scuttled. I recognized Silvia as one of those transparent beings who visited me ever more frequently, who would sit on my bedstead and watch me carefully, without disappearing when I opened my eyes in terror. She would come down the steps gently and stop in front of me. Then, confused, I realized we were the same height, we stood eye to eye. I hadn’t grown since I was ten, but the walls had grown tremendously and the mill behind the fence was an obtuse castle, as big as a continent, crowding the square of night sky above. Brown moths turned through the spectral air in electric light and landed on the lumpy lime, forming a mosaic of triangles. Silvia climbed onto the tall throne and sat over the metal bowl, and I stood with my head tilted back, looking into her eyes, following her glassy, whitish body, enlaced by the smell of ladybugs and milked flour. Looking me in the eyes and smiling, her girl face suddenly started to urinate a yellow sparkling stream, which bounced in drops of diamonds over the pavement at my feet. She was a frozen enigma. She looked like a baroque fountain of elliptical beauty… [MORE]
UNTIL RECENTLY we have not heard much about literature from Romania, but in the last few years there have been several interesting moments for Romanian letters. One instance is Sean Cotter’s rendition of Nichita Stănescu’s (1933-1983) poetry, Wheel with a Single Spoke: and Other Poems, published by Archipelago Books. A good translation of Stănescu’s poems was long overdue, and Cotter’s mastery of Romanian subtleties is perfect, equal to the craftsman’s skill. The volume was awarded the Three Percent Best Translated Book Award for Poetry.
Cotter has now also translated the first volume of Mircea Cărtărescu’s trilogy Blinding, bringing the same scholarly experience and literary sensibility to the task. Reading Cotter’s Blinding feels like reading a work originally conceived in English. Many passages of the book are written like a poem, with meter and rhythm, and Cotter matches the quality the Romanian original has…. [MORE]