There are some 225 languages spoken in Los Angeles and any English-language “review of books” that bears its name should strive to represent that linguistic diversity, to reflect LA’s status as a global city. One way to do so is to highlight the ever-expanding, ever more diverse body of work available to anglophone readers in translation, and to salute the gifted, driven creative artists behind that work. To this day, translators often go unmentioned in reviews of titles that would not exist without them. Not every review of a translated text needs to foreground translation, but critics, editors, and readers should not lose sight of those who brought them the text in the first place; after all, each word they read was chosen by a translator. In this monthly feature, I will gather 10 reviews, essays, and interviews that deal with work in translation. Some will discuss a translator’s choices in detail while others might focus more closely on different questions. In every case, however, the translator will be acknowledged — and the round-up itself will, I hope, serve as a spotlight for the collective contribution translators have made to our culture, and to every culture across the globe.
In this first entry, you will find reviews of novels and stories translated from Spanish, French, and Hebrew, of nonfiction by authors from Finland and Russia, of a poetry collection by a major Ukrainian modernist, and of a new version of Goethe’s West-Eastern Divan
, as well as a translated interview with Akram Aylisli, who is living under de facto house arrest in Azerbaijan, and a profile of the filmmaker Ai Xiaoming, whose Wuhan lockdown “counter-diary” is just now making its way into English.
— Boris Dralyuk, Editor-in-Chief
This digest is part of our year-round celebration of our 10th anniversary. To celebrate with us, please visit our anniversary page!