Each of them surveys the landscape with the same withdrawn expression he might have assumed had he been alone in this deserted place, the details each observes not coinciding with the other’s, each of them assembling it therefore in his own way, as though it were two distinct places, the island, the sky, the trees, the red slope, the aquatic plants at the riverbank, the water …
—Translated by Steve Dolph
Read more in Little Star Weekly
Little Star loves the work of Juan José Saer, the great Argentian novelist whose work is being comprehensively translated by Open Letter. Next month they will bring out Saer’s masterwork, his final novel La Grande, which follows the lives of a group of friends from their revolutionary youth to not-so-settled adulthood. Like all Saer’s work La Grande accumulates its meanings in delicate layers of precise and attentive human observation, sedimentary accretions in a capacious literary landscape. We also loved the strangely titled Sixty-five Years of Washington, which similarly showed a close attentiveness to ties of friendship and how they weave through history.
Open Letter, with their terrific blog Three Percent (referring to the paltry 3 percent of US books that are translations), their sponsorship of the Best Translated Book Award, and their great, beautifully designed books, continues to expand in dizzying ways they parameters of what we can read in English.
Juan José Saer (1937–2005) was born in Santa Fé, Argentina, and moved to France in 1968. He was the author of numerous novels and short stories and a winner of Spain’s prestigious Nadal Prize. Steve Dolph is the founding editor of Calque, a journal of literature in translation. His translation of Saer’s Scars was a finalist for the 2012 Best Translated Book Award.
La Grande, will appear in June.