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Like a Club Sandwich

Adam Mars-Jones: Aztec Anachronisms, 23 May 2024

You Dreamed of Empires 
by Álvaro Enrigue, translated by Natasha Wimmer.
Harvill Secker, 206 pp., £18.99, January, 978 1 78730 380 5
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... neither the Inca nor the Aztecs had the use of iron.With Enrigue’s encouragement his translator, Natasha Wimmer, keeps certain words in the original. In a sense the cihuacoatl of Tenochtitlan is the mayor of the city, but mayors are not usually military commanders, and he is also supreme general of the Mexica army. Yes, you could translate calmecac as ...

In the Sonora

Benjamin Kunkel: Roberto Bolaño, 6 September 2007

The Savage Detectives 
by Roberto Bolaño, translated by Natasha Wimmer.
Picador, 577 pp., £16.99, July 2007, 978 0 330 44514 6
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Last Evenings on Earth 
by Roberto Bolaño, translated by Chris Andrews.
Harvill, 277 pp., £15.99, April 2007, 978 1 84343 181 7
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by Roberto Bolaño, translated by Chris Andrews.
New Directions, 184 pp., $21.95, January 2007, 978 0 8112 1664 7
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... But in The Savage Detectives he doesn’t overdo the local colour, which his superb translator Natasha Wimmer in any case wisely ignores. The narrators are individuated above all through our sense of the helpless particularity of their fates; and to the extent that they sound alike, this is explained and excused by their common situation (testifying ...

Draw on a Moustache

Chris Power: Nona Fernández, 1 December 2022

The Twilight Zone 
by Nona Fernández, translated by Natasha Wimmer.
Daunt, 232 pp., £10.99, July 2022, 978 1 914198 21 2
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... In 1959​ , television screens across the United States became portals to other worlds. The Twilight Zone, an anthology series with no narrative links between episodes, showed characters going beyond the limits of normal human experience, encountering extraterrestrials, time travel, evil spirits and magical objects. The world we take for granted, the show suggested, might not be the one in which we live ...

More like a Cemetery

Michael Wood: The Part about Bolaño, 26 February 2009

Nazi Literature in the Americas 
by Roberto Bolaño, translated by Chris Andrews.
New Directions, 227 pp., £17.95, May 2008, 978 0 8112 1705 7
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by Roberto Bolaño, translated by Natasha Wimmer.
Picador, 898 pp., £20, January 2009, 978 0 330 44742 3
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... Roberto Bolaño likes to prolong his jokes well past the moment when even the slowest reader has got the point. Nazi Literature in the Americas, for example, looks like a single gag – the brief deadpan biography of an imaginary Fascist or near Fascist writer – multiplied by 30-odd cases over 200 pages. But then it dawns on even the slowest reader that what looked like the point wasn’t the point; and that the jokes were not only jokes ...

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