Amy Dillwyn

Amy Dillwyn (Elizabeth Amy Dillwyn, 1845 – 1935) was a Welsh writer. Inspired in part by George Eliot’s Middlemarch, Dillwyn became a feminist writer, and wrote some of the first lesbian novels. In private, Dillwyn wrote of being in love with Olive Talbot, whom she called her ‘wife’ in her journals. She was a strong supporter of the cause of…

German Lit Month, Library Loot & Dewey’s Readathon

Hi, folks, Summer is definitely gone, Victober has just started, and I have here a new stack of books freshly borrowed from my local library. Here is my LIBRARY LOOT: september 26 to october 2 Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Linda from Silly Little Mischief, encouraging bloggers to share the books…

The vast, ancient, solitary sea

Discovery Green-muscled ocean Idol of many arms like an octopus Convulsive incorruptible chaos Ordered tumult Contorted dancer Surrounding the taut ships We traversed row on row of horses Shaking their manes in the trade winds The sea turned suddenly very young and very old Revealing beaches And a people Of just-created men still the colour…

Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen

Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen (November 6, 1919 – July 2, 2004) was a Portuguese writer. Born to a wealthy family, she studied  Classical Philology at the Universidade de Lisboa. Sophia was actively involved in Catholic movements, and openly oposed Salazar’s dictatorship.  She had five children, one of whom is the writer Miguel Sousa Tavares. A documentary about…

I don’t want them to reward me for nonsense

Dear Nadezhda, The Boarding-School Girl, tr. Karen Rosneck (2000. Original: Пансионерка, 1861), very much like your sister’s novel City Folk and Country Folk, tr.  Nora Seligman Favorov (2017. Original: Городские и деревенские, 1863) is as layered as a Russian doll: inside the social satire and comedy of manners, we can glimpse a coming of age story;…

Nadezhda Khvoshchinskaya

Nadezhda Khvoshchinskaya (Nadezhda Dmitryevna Khvoshchinskaya/ Надежда Дмитриевна Хвощинская, May 20, 1824 – June 8, 1889), was a Russian writer. Nadezhda received most of their education at home from private tutors. She wrote under the pseudonym V. Krestovsky, and formed a productive literary partnership with her sister, the writer Sofia Khvoshchinskaya. The two published fiction and translated books to support…

The sea’s only sentence

The scalpel and the metronome on my father’s piano kept a silence between them, when I was a child. Only now, with time, have I begun to hear, understand their strange stories. They hone time to transparency. (Source: Shape of Time, by Doris Kareva, tr. Tiina Aleman (2010. Original: Aja kuju, 2005) When the fear of death…

Doris Kareva

Doris Kareva (1958) is an Estonian writer. She studied Roman-Germanic philology at the University of Tartu, and worked as the literary editor of the cultural weekly Sirp. From 1992 to 2008, Kareva has served as Secretary General of the Estonian National Commission for UNESCO. Currently, she is an editor for the literary journal Looming, and works as a translator. Books In…

The milk of incomprehension

Dear Nora, Soviet Milk, tr. Margita Gailitis (2018. Original: Mātes piens, 2015) was this odd thing: a butterfly that, going in reverse, moults back into a chrysalis. What had started as a nuanced, enraged depiction of life under Soviet rule, gradually turned into a black and white, poor reproduction of what the book might have been….

Nora Ikstena

Nora Ikstena (1969) is a Latvian writer. She studied Philology at the University of Latvia, and English literature at Columbia University. She is a co-founder of the International Writers and Translators’ House in Ventspils. Awards Baltic Assembly Prize in literature Books In English Life Stories, tr.  Margita Gailitis (2013. Original: Dzīves stāsti, 2004) Soviet Milk, tr.  Margita…

Hardness was probably his most distinctive quality

Dear Laura, Reading your novel Breathing into Marble, tr. Marija Marcinkute (2016. Original: Kvėpavimas į marmurą, 2006) feels like being trapped in a room of glass: it’s cold and solid, and we can see everything from a great distance; however, if we try to come near the glass to see more clearly, it gets misty,…

Laura Sintija Černiauskaitė

Laura Sintija Černiauskaitė (1976) is a Lithuanian writer. She studied Lithuanian literature and philology at Vilnius University, and worked as freelance journalist. Since 2004, she is a member of the Lithuanian Writers’ Union. Awards EU Prize for Literature in 2009 for her novel Kvėpavimas į marmurą (2006. In English: Breathing into Marble, tr. Marija Marcinkute, 2016) Books In English Breathing into Marble, tr. Marija Marcinkute,…

Every abyss has its lullabies

Dear Julián, Tomb Song, tr. Christina MacSweeney (2018. Original: Canción de tumba, 2011) is an elegiac account of a writer who tries to reconcile himself both with a troubled past and with a present marked by imminent loss. We follow a mourning trajectory that begins with the narrator’s personal crisis – triggered by his mother’s illness – and…

Julián Herbert

Julián Herbert (1971) is a Mexican writer. He studied Spanish literature at the Universidad Autónoma de Coahuila. He works as a lecturer and musician, and was the vocalist of the rock bands Los Tigres de Borges and Madrastras. Awards Premio Nacional de Literatura Gilberto Owen (2003) Presea Manuel Acuña (2004) Premio Nacional de Cuento Juan José Arreola (2006) Premio Nacional de Cuento Agustín Yáñez (2008)…

Summer reading recap | 2018

Hi, folks! I can’t believe it is September already! Tempus fugit. As promised, I will wrap up my Summer reading below: 20 Books of Summer Hosted by Cathy over at the 746 Books blog, the challenge consisted in listing 20 books to read between June, 1st and September, 3rd this year.  I usually do a poor job in sticking…

Sitting deep in the human heart

Dear Selma, Your short-story collection Invisible Links, tr. Pauline Bancroft Flach (1899. Original: Osynliga länkar,1894) reads like a visit to one of those Scandinavian wooden churches, decorated with dragon heads on the outside and Christian symbols inside. The book is composed of fourteen short-stories crossed by mythical elements drawn from pagan and Christian legends. Natural beings…

Selma Lagerlöf

Selma Lagerlöf (Selma Ottilia Lovisa Lagerlöf, 20 November 1858 – 16 March 1940) was a Swedish writer. She received her education at home and later, against her father’s will, completed her studies to become a teacher at the Royal Women’s Teaching Academy in Stockholm. She then worked as a schoolteacher at a high school for girls, from 1885 to…

Every traveller’s time is a lot of times in one

Dear Olga, Flights, tr. Jennifer Croft (2017. Original: Bieguni, 2007) reads very much like one of the cabinets of curiosities it alludes to: each story is like a small drawer we are eager to open; in each drawer, we find an odd, mythical-sounding anecdote, or a slightly distorted idea. The strangest thing, however, is that…