Return Trip Tango and Other Stories from Abroad

Frank MacShane, Editor, Lori M. Carlos, Editor
Frank MacShane, Editor, Lori M. Carlos, Editor Columbia University Press $50.5 (255p) ISBN 978-0-231-07992-1
Reviewed on: 11/02/1992
Release date: 11/01/1992
Paperback - 255 pages - 978-0-231-07993-8
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Departures, fleeting encounters at way stations, homecomings--these and other incidents of travel occasion some of the most intriguing pieces in this collection of foreign short stories and novel excerpts reprinted from Translation magazine. In a brief sketch of an embarkation, Portuguese writer Agustina Bessa Luis reveals through descriptions of simple physical gestures and facial expressions nothing less than her characters' means of resisting ``the horror of existence.'' More fantastic, Turkish writer Orhan Duru's tale concerns a marooned space creature who crosses paths with a 15th-century Genoese mariner. The mariner--an amateur cartographer--helps the creature recover his spaceship and in return receives a glimpse of a complete globe of Earth. While one of the collection's strengths lies in presenting lesser known writers such as these, it also includes by-now familiar work by Kobo Abe, Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Gyorgy Konrad whose novel excerpt depicts a visit to a family graveyard as a homecoming. Describing buried relatives, Konrad writes that they face ``eastward in their long white gowns, and, with pebbles on their eyelids, rest buried like raisins in the braided Sabbath loaf.'' Ivan Sanders's translation here is emblematic of the high quality of the translations throughout the volume--which collectively attest to the worthiness of Translation 's enterprise. The editors are associated with Columbia University's Translation Center. (Nov.)
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