Translators were at the foreground at last night’s celebration of Dalkey Archive Press at the Queen Sofia Spanish Institute in New York. Organized by the Americas Society, the event brought together four of Dalkey’s brilliant writers and translators: Alejandro Branger, Eduardo Lago, Rowan Ricardo Phillips, and Álvaro Enrigue.
Venezuelan-born translator Alejandro Branger opened the event with colorful anecdotes from his friendship with Carlos Fuentes. He is the translator with E. Shaskan Bumas of two of Fuentes’s novellas, including the author’s final work, Adam in Eden (Dalkey Archive Press, 2013), from which he read last night. The passage offered a vivid and scathing description of a pervasive criminal class in Mexico, “born, like Venus, from the foam of the sea, or in their case, from the foam of a warm beer spilled in a seedy cantina.”
Next to read was Spanish heavyweight Eduardo Lago, who read from the recently released translation of his novel, Call Me Brooklyn (Dalkey Archive Press, 2013), translated by Ernesto Mestre-Reed. He took a moment to lambast the translation of the title of Mexican writer Juan Carlos Villalobos’s latest novel, Si viviéramos en un lugar normal [literally: if we lived somewhere normal] as Quesadillas. He also noted that Call Me Brooklyn, which won Spain’s prestigious Nadal prize seven years ago, was translated into English only last year, lagging behind its appearances in other major languages.