LI is a little late with this news. But going through the book blogs today, we were happy to see that Margaret Jull Costa won an award for her translation of the Maias – and Natasha Randall, who we’ve had the pleasure of interviewing, was on the short list for her fantastic translation of Zamyatin’s We. We are no expert on 19th century novels in Spain and Portugal, but we have managed to read a few. Eca de Queiroz’s The Maias takes a deep pleasure in just going on – describing the static rituals of the Portugese upper class, that contrast between a frivolous public politics and a deeply strategized private politics of love affairs. Queiroz has affinities with Zola, but he doesn’t have Zola’s love for the tabloid and tawdry. One can’t imagine Queiroz making up a list of words used in the working quarters of Lisbon for fucking. Costa is supposedly going to translate the bulk of Queiroz’s work. And what could be more important than that? Of course, Daedelus is having trouble coming up with the funding to allow this to happen, since we live in a world where the shadowy funding powers can’t distinguish good from bad projects. It might be that this dirty decade, this filthy time that leaves a light glaze of shit over ever person living in it, will be known more for a few translations than for anything else.
So remember the translators. And speaking of which - I’ve just had Natasha Wimmer’s translation of Bolano’s last novel delivered to my door, for future review. Envy me! is all I can say.