Words of the World: 5 Authors from Argentina


Welcome to the first installment of Words of the World, a new semi-regular feature we’ll be running to highlight newer, important works of literature in translation from around the globe. You may come across some overly familiar names within these posts from time to time, but ultimately our aim is to draw more attention to some great authors and great titles that you may have missed, and we’ll do it one country at a time.

Are these books the new classics? Time will tell. Either way, they’re most certainly some of our personal favorites from the past few years.

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West of Sunset by Stewart O’Nan


When most readers think of F. Scott Fitzgerald, they conjure up Gatsby-esque images of fame, fortune, and prohibition speakeasies – where the booze, smoke and creative ideas swirled.  The fact that we romanticize the Jazz Age comes as no surprise, but I believe a lot of readers also tend to romanticize the Fitzgeralds personally, as if they spent their entire lives dancing and drinking in the presence of other brilliant and tortured minds.  Which, of course, they did for some time.  But when money runs short and addictions prevail, sometimes you do what you have to do.  For F. Scott Fitzgerald, that meant accepting a desk job as a Hollywood screenwriter so he could support his ailing wife and teenage daughter.

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The Physics of Sorrow by Georgi Gospodinov


We Are Made Of Labyrinths

We Am

So ends the series of schizophrenic introductions found in the prologue to Georgi Gospodinov’s The Physics of Sorrow, a novel that finds a young, fictionalized version of the author jumping into the memories of his immediate family and the other people and beings around him to experience their pains, sorrows, and joys first hand. Gospodinov has discovered from an early age that he possesses an acute gift for empathy. The ability to understand and process what another person is experiencing from their point of view. To know exactly how they think and feel. To blur the line, at least in small bursts of time, between where they begin and he ends. Jumping directly inside the memories of others, he uses this gift to uncover stories that tell of a secret history buried in his family’s past, but as the book progresses, and as he steadily grows older, this talent slowly begins to disappear, leaving him alone, on his own, to search for meaning in the world around him through his now adult eyes.

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Sphinx by Anne Garreta


To Appease Is Not The Same As To Fulfill

With sexes mixed and genders blurred Anne Garreta’s spectacular debut novel forces us to challenge our most deep-seated beliefs when it comes to dealing with matters of the heart. Though the people that swirl around them are clearly defined as being either male or female, Sphinx’s nameless narrator and their love interest A**** have broken free from this constraint and have elevated both themselves and their relationship to a place where gender markers no longer hold any relevance. With these arguably important identifying traits stripped away, what’s left to behold is a shockingly intimate portrait of the complexities of desire, what it’s like to truly lose yourself in another person, and the hidden costs of finally conquering the object of your ultimate affections.

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