Tonight: “Sharp: A Discussion of Women and Criticism,” a panel at the Housing Works Bookstore in New York featuring writers Kate Bolick, Laura Miller, Michelle Orange, and more. It begins at 7 p.m.; more information can be found here.
“The Google Translate results feel less and less lucky as the sentence progresses, and with each new roll of the search engine dice.” Over the six years that Esther Allen was translating Argentine novelist Antonio Di Benedetto‘s classic, Zama, she would occasionally run lines through Google translate as an experiment in the ersatz. Pair with translator Alison Anderson on “Ferrante Fever” and what a great translation adds to the original work.
Does modern China need its own literary sub-genre? On trying to understand China’s “ultra-unreal” reality: “If Magic Realism was the way in which Latin American authors presented their view of their reality, then Ultra-Unreal Realism should be our name for the literature through which the Chinese regard their reality. The Chinese word ‘chaohuan’ (ultra-unreal) is something of a play on the word ‘mohuan’ (magic), as in ‘mohuan xianshizhuyi’ (magic realism)— ‘mohuan’ is ‘magical unreal,’ and ‘chaohuan’ is ‘surpassing the unreal.’”
“Whenever I tried to invent a character or a situation, I felt a stab of guilt. I could hear my teacher’s quavering voice saying, Write what you know! Why had she insisted on this so vociferously?” Writing class mantras are easy to impart but they are also easily misinterpreted. A.X. Ahmad, author of The Last Taxi Ride and The Caretaker, learns this truth the hard way as he tries to become a writer following a personal upheaval. Pair with Ahmad’s Millions essay on “The Thriller, Reinvented.”