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About the Author
Silvina Ocampo was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1903. A central figure of Argentine literary circles, Ocampo's accolades include Argentina's National Poetry Prize and a Guggenheim fellowship. She was an early contributor to Argentina's Sur magazine, where she worked closely with its founder, her sister; Adolfo Bioy Casares, her husband; and Jorge Luis Borges. In 1937, Sur published Ocampo's first book, Viaje olvidado. She went on to publish thirteen volumes of fiction and poetry during a long and much-lauded career. Ocampo died in Buenos Aires in 1993. La promesa, her only novel, was posthumously published in 2011.
Carmen Boullosa (born in Mexico City in 1954) is one of Mexico's leading novelists, poets, and playwrights. She has published fifteen novels, the most recent of which are El complot de los románticos, Las paredes hablan, and La virgen y el violin, all with Editorial Siruela in Madrid. Her second novel, Antes, won the renowned Xavier Villaurrutia Prize for Best Mexican Novel. Her works in English translation include They're Cows, We're Pigs; Leaving Tabasco; and Cleopatra Dismounts, all published by Grove Press, Jump of the Manta Ray, with illustrations by Philip Hughes, published by The Old Press, and Texas: The Great Theft, published by Deep Vellum. Her novels have also been translated into Italian, Dutch, German, French, Portuguese, Chinese, and Russian.
Katie Lateef-Jan is a PhD Candidate at the University of California, Santa Barbara in Comparative Literature with a doctoral emphasis in Translation Studies. Her research focuses on twentieth-century Latin American literature, specifically Argentine fantastic fiction. She is the co-editor with Suzanne Jill Levine of Untranslatability Goes Global: The Translator's Dilemma (2018). Her translations from the Spanish have appeared in Granta; Review: Literature and Arts of the Americas; and ZYZZYVA.
Suzanne Jill Levine is the General Editor of Penguin's paperback classics of Jorge Luis Borges' poetry and essays (2010) and a noted translator, since 1971, of Latin American prose and poetry by distinguished writers such as Guillermo Cabrera Infante, Julio Cortázar, Carlos Fuentes, Manuel Puig, Severo Sarduy, and Adolfo Bioy Casares. She has published over 40 booklength translations not to mention hundreds of poetry and prose translations in anthologies and journals such as the New Yorker (including one of Ocampo's stories in their recent flash fiction issue).
Levine has received many honors, among them PEN awards, several NEA and NEH grants, Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, and more recently the PEN USA Translation prize for José Donoso's posthumous novel The Lizard's Tale.
Founder of Translation Studies at UCSB, she has mentored students throughout her academic career (including Jessica Powell and Katie Lateef Jan). Levine is author of several books including the poetry chapbook Reckoning (2012); The Subversive Scribe: Translating Latin American Fiction (1991; 2009); Manuel Puig and the Spiderwoman: His Life and Fictions (FSG, 2000, 2002). Her most recent translation is Guadalupe Nettel's Bezoar and Other Unsettling Stories (2020) for Seven Stories Press.
"She is a remarkably visual writer. The situations she composes--innocence corrupted; class status revealed or revoked; the external effects on the body of various foods, states of weather, varieties of poison and medicine--make for phenomenal tableaux."--Laura Kolbe, New York Review of Books
"Suzanne Jill Levine, working with Jessica Powell on The Promise and Katie Lateef-Jan on Forgotten Journey, has produced a translation that beautifully captures the elegance and strangeness of Ocampo's style. . . . The results are intoxicating."--Miranda France, The Times Literary Supplement
"Through these fantastical tales the narrator explores the life of young girls, their friendships, their inner solitudes, as well as the constant quest to understand the duality of life and the imagination."--Marjorie Agosin, author of I Lived On Butterfly Hill
"Ocampo inhabits and brings to life a hyper-real, surreal, and resolutely feminine world ruled by unapologetic beauty and pervading sadness."--Andrei Codrescu, author of No Time Like Now: New Poems
"We are made of stories, and, when they are as well-told as Silvina Ocampo's, they will remain after we are gone."--Dorothy Potter Snyder, "Reading in Translation"
"Forgotten Journey and The Promise by late Argentine writer Silvina Ocampo are cornucopias, outpourings of words with the same concision we ascribe to nature. Descriptions pour forth not like water but sap, ensuring the reader will pause and savor, not just in a portrait but every paragraph, each word."--Ana Castillo, Women's Review of Books
"There is literature that takes the known world (a dinner party or a walk with a dog, first love or a visit to friends) and shows it in a way we've never seen before; there is literature that takes us to a place we've never been (early twentieth-century Buenos Aires or adrift in the middle of the ocean) and makes it somehow familiar. The marvel of Silvina Ocampo's fiction is that it does both things simultaneously, its deepest context the confluence of the things of this world . . . "--Kathryn Davis, author of The Silk Road
"Suzanne Jill Levine and Katie Lateef-Jan's vivid translation of the whole of Forgotten Journey captures well Ocampo's unsettlingly topsy-turvy world, peopled by precocious children who act with the self-possession of adults, and adults cowed by the fears and phobias of childhood."--Fiona Mackintosh, author of Childhood in the Works of Silvina Ocampo and Alejandra Pizarnik
On Thus Were Their Faces: Selected Stories by Silvina Ocampo
"Dark, masterly tales. . . . a (very good) introduction. . . . Ocampo's technique is beyond all reproach; an author has to keep masterly control when letting events veer off beyond the quotidian (the phrase 'magic realism' seems inadequate when applied to her)." --Nicholas Lezard, The Guardian
"These stories are feverish, cruel, and wry, set among the surrealisms of puberty, disability, and precarity."--Joshua Cohen, Harper's
Praise for Silvina Ocampo:
"Ocampo wrote with fascinated horror of Argentinean petty bourgeois society, whose banality and kitsch settings she used in a masterly way to depict strange, surreal atmospheres sometimes verging on the supernatural." --The Independent
Praise for Suzanne Jill Levine's The Subversive Scribe
"What [Levine] has to say about the linguistic, personal, scholarly, and imaginative elements that the translator must bring to that process is an invaluable contribution to our understanding of translation in particular and creativity in general.... An important and original book."--Edith Grossman, translator of Love in the Time of Cholera