I’m sporadically participating in Women in Translation month. I didn’t catch wind of this awesome project till it was in full swing, therefore, I didn’t have much time to prepare or research books I might be interested in reading. If you’d like to know more about the project, I suggest you visit Meytal Radzinski at her blog, Biblibio. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe she created Women in Translation month. Her blog has great stats, information, reviews and recommendations for those interested in diversifying their reading.
I coincidentally happened to be reading Manazuru by Hiromi Kawakami at the time, so I figured better late than never. If you read my Best of July post, then you’ll know I enjoyed Manazuru quite a bit. It’s everything I’ve come to know and love about Japanese literature.
The next book I’ve finished for the project was Self-Potrait in Green by Marie Ndiaye.
It’s a short book (103 pages) easy to finish in one sitting. Self-Portrait in Green is translated from the original French by Jordan Stump. I picked it up at Powerhouse Arena books , a neat indie bookshop in Brooklyn. I hadn’t heard anything about the novel prior to picking it up, or even knowing who Marie Ndiaye was. It was sitting on a display table and the cover intrigued me. (Indie bookshops have the best displays) Contemporary French literature for some reason isn’t as popular in the U.S., at least not with readers I know.
I can’t quite figure out my feelings towards the book. It’s bizarre, but in a good way, and it makes me curious to read the original French. The narrator recounts her life and those of women she’s known who she thinks of as “green women”. The women’s lives are based in tragedy with two underlying connections: their association to the narrator, and the color green. Why green? I never quite figured that out. Maybe some connection to nature and the tragic state it’s declining into…? (Clearly my English degree skills are on par). If you like something different, something border lining the grotesque and surreal, I think you’ll appreciate this. Have any of you read anything by her? I’m curious to see if this kind of storytelling is her norm. If so, I’ll for sure pick up more from her.
The last book I’ll probably get in by the end of the month is Happy are the Happy by Yasmina Reza.
Happy are the Happy was translated from the original French by John Cullen. I’m only 20 pages in, but I’ve gathered this is a close look at relationships, both the trials and the mundane aspects of them. I’m not a huge fan of the writing style so far, but it’s still early in the game to have a definite opinion on it.
And that was my Women in Translation month. This a great project, and I wish I would have known about it sooner. Well, there is always next year.
Did you participate in Women in Translation month? What were your favorite reads from the challenge?
F.I.Y. I started grad school this week, so post and activity might me sporadic from now on. Will try to keep my head in the game, (even if it’s only lurking on everyone’s post) as best as I can.
Happy reading 🙂