Finished copies are in and shipped off to subscribers, as we get ready to launchAccommodations, the follow-up to Wioletta Greg's Swallowing Mercury, in Man Booker International-winner Jennifer Croft's translation.
For a limited time, you can purchase both books with our Wioletta Greg bundlefor $24—that's 25% off the cover price.
Accommodations follows Wiola after she leaves her childhood village, a close-knit agricultural community in Poland where the Catholic calendar and local gossip punctuate daily life. Her new independence in the nearby city of Czestochowa is far from a fresh start, as she moves between a hostel and a convent brimming with secrets, taking in the stories of those around her. In the same striking prose that drew readers to her critically acclaimed debut, Accommodations navigates Wiola’s winding path to self-discovery.
"Jewel-like in its intensity, Greg's latest novel is a strong follow-up to her first."—Kirkus Reviews
"Couched in melodious, resonant writing, this fanciful meditation on individual maturation and spirituality will satisfy and stimulate."—Publishers Weekly
An Interview with Gabriela Ybarra
A conversation between Gabriela Ybarra, author of The Dinner Guest (tr.Natasha Wimmer), and Sarah Timmer Harvey appeared in Asymptote:
STH: The Dinner Guest is a fascinating blend of fact and fiction. The framework of the story is undoubtedly factual . . . yet there are also parts that are pure fiction; imagined events, conversations, and connections. Is it important to you that readers view The Dinner Guest as a novel?
GY: Genre isn’t so important to me. I consider the book a novel because I believe that memory is always fiction and, in the case of my grandfather, I had to make up big parts of his kidnapping because nobody in my family would tell me anything about it. For many years, my family lived as if these traumatic events had never happened. I could infer their pain through their silences, but lacked a story; the only information that I had came from the newspapers. In the case of my mother, I did know the events quite well, but reality is often too complicated to make believable, so I had to twist it.
STH: The Dinner Guest reminded me of Annie Ernaux’s Shame, which, in spite of being a memoir, is very similar in tone. Ernaux described Shame as an “ethnological study of myself” in which she examined the influence of a particular incident in her childhood on her relationship with shame. But while Ernaux avoided “inventing reality,” you have actively pursued it while employing voice that feels similarly precise and analytical. Did you experiment with the narrative voice, or did you start the project already sure of the tone?
GY: I like what Ernaux says about the ethnological study of herself. I always feel that I’m a detective of my own life. At the beginning of the writing process, I wasn’t sure about the tone, but I found it through trial and error. I felt that the text worked better when the emotions were contained and not too explicit. In earlier versions, it wasn’t like this at all.
You can read the full interview with Ybarra on Asymptote.
News, Reviews, and More
1. The Guardian reviews Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi's Let's Tell This Story Properly: "[The collection] explores the emotional nuance of the immigrant experience, particularly so in 'Let’s Tell This Story Properly.' An apt title: Makumbi definitely does." 2. Esther Kinsky's River (tr. Iain Galbraith) is featured in Reading in Translation: "Once immersed in the patient quality of the text, the reader’s rhythm chimes with the speed of the text. I was sad to bid goodbye to the characters, whose lives and grief I shared."