Words Without Borders

I was talking with my class last night about Juan José Saer’s enigmatic short story ‘Baked Mud’ in the anthology Words Without Borders, and there are two more short pieces of his translated into English online at their site. I am fascinated by Juan José Saer’s writing. I’ve read all there is translated in English — very little, that is — my favorite is still the novel my aunt recommended, The Witness. Hardly any of his books are translated, about four of the over twenty he wrote. He is less well-known than say, Roberto Bolaño or Javier Marías, but so far as I can tell, he is their literary equal.

Anyway, it reminded me to go back and look again at the Words Without Borders website and immediately I went searching for my favorite story there, one that I remember reading not that long ago, when Herta Müller won the Nobel Prize last year. This is her story ‘On Packing,’ which recalls the life of a woman at the time of her sexual awakening, under the oppressive watchful eye of the Romanian secret service, Securitate, and communist leader Nicolae Ceauşescu.


I also noticed this story in the Guardian about the head of the Securitate which is kind of bitterly amusing, as he admits he was spying on Müller and tapping her phone and intimidating her, but thinks she’s a paranoid delusional because she over-reacted to their tactics, which he considered lighter compared to some of the others they spied on.

Another wonderful story I found online at the Guardian which mentions Romania’s communist dictator Nicolae Ceauşescu, is by the great Hungarian novelist Laszlo Krasznahorkai. It is called ‘Something is Burning Outside’ and features a strange visitor to a writer’s retreat near a remote crater lake.

One Response to “Words Without Borders”

  1. Mazgalica Says:
    September 22nd, 2010 at 10:45 am

    Salutare scrii bine te-ar interesa un schimb de linkuri cu blogul meu?

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