Wednesday, January 14th, 2009
Argentine author Sergio Chejfec, whose Mis dos Mundos was recommended by Enrique Vila-Matas as one of the best books he read in 2008, will be reading from the translation My Two Worlds in NYC Thursday the 29th, two weeks from tomorrow. His translator Liz Werner will also be there; this is Chejfec's first book to appear in English. The event is a party for the 10th anniversary of BOMB Magazine. If you're coming, drop me a line. (via 3%.)
Update: A misreading -- Chejfec's translator is Margaret Carson.
Thursday, January 29th, 2009
I'm looking forward to hearing Sergio Chejfec reading this evening, and hope to buy a copy of his book. And I just found out, he is blogging, and has been since 2006! His blog is Parábola Anterior -- mostly in Spanish, the top article AOTW is translated into English by Margaret Carson (who translated My Two Worlds and will be at the event tonight). At LanguageHat's site, I asked how his name is pronounced; Bill Walderman notes that the name is the Polish spelling of Heifetz.
Sergio Chejfec turned out not to be the highlight of the evening. His work -- the portion of it that is excerpted in BOMB -- is lovely and introspective; but because it is introspective it did not lend itself to being read aloud. You want room for your mind to wander while you're reading it. My favorite thing I heard this evening was the poetry of Nicanor Parra, read by his translator Liz Werner from the recent book Antipoems: How to Look Better & Feel Great. For instance, from the poem "Something Like That":
THE TRUE PROBLEM of philosophy
is who does the dishes
the passage of time
but first, who does the dishes
whoever wants to do them, go ahead
see ya later, alligator
and we're right back to being enemies
Also very nice to listen to was Lina Meruana's short story "Ay" -- she writes a flowing, engaging narrative that pulled me in. She only read the first half of the story but it was enough to make me want to read the rest of it on the train coming home. Raúl Zurita was also there, reading some oddly dream-like poems about the coup of 1973 and about Akira Kurosawa; he has one of the most pleasant reading voices I've ever heard -- it was almost hard to get past the immediate sensory delight of listening to him speak, to get at the content of the poems. Zurita also has a piece in this issue of BOMB about Nicanor Parra, sort of bringing me full circle.
In truth, we can only read the maps of cities we know. In my case, for example, and first and foremost, Buenos Aires. The problem is, under normal circumstances, a map plays a kind of trick on us, because if we know a city well, any detail it shows us will be either redundant or limited. Come to think of it, that describes the relationship I have with Buenos Aires: redundancy and insufficiency.
This line really captures my imagination. I've always liked looking at maps -- I'm very familiar with the distinction between looking at a map of familiar territory and looking at a map of somewhere I've never been (and the gradations of experience in between), but I would never have thought of expressing it this way. I love the idea that home is necessarily redundant and insufficient.
-- Sergio Chejfec, My Two Worlds
Friday, January 21st, 2011
Exciting news from 3% -- Open Letter Books will be publishing Margaret Carson's translation of Mis dos mundos this summer! This should be great -- I remember loving the excerpt printed in BOMB.
Open Letter will be publishing two more of Chejfec's titles, The Dark and The Planets.
Drop me a line! or, sign my Guestbook.
Check out Ellen's writing at Patch.com.