Adam Critchley interviews Mexican author Álvaro Enrigue about “his conviction that translated work is finding a widening world audience,” and there’s plenty of interesting stuff, beginning with this:
I think there has been a change in perspective among readers, both in the US and the UK, regarding the notion of translation.
I think reading a work in translation used to be seen as reading a “false” book, but the new generation has modified that outlook, and this is not simply due to a renewal of readers but of editors. We’re seeing a new generation of editors, who now tend to be younger than writers. And many of these young editors are women, and that has introduced an aspect to the market reflected in seeing more translations read.
I’m glad to hear it! But the next paragraph showed me an abyss of ignorance in my own head that I had been unaware of:
There was also an impressive shift from the 20th to the 21st century in the quality of translations. I moved to the US in 1998 and in those days if you wanted to read Spanish-language writers in translation the only options were [the Spaniards] Enrique Vila-Matas and Javier Marías. There was absolutely nothing else. But now a writer under the age of 30 who publishes a decent novel in Mexico or Peru, for example, can find a publisher in the US or the UK.
I still had the idea, left over from the ’60s and ’70s, that Latin American writing was a big thing in the US — el boom, ¿no? Turns out el boom was a long time ago… (Thanks, Trevor!)