If You Kept a Record of Sins by Andrea Bajani
Translated by Elizabeth Harris
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Hector Abad’s The Farm, translated by Anne McLean, has been longlisted for the 2020 International Dublin Literary Award!
Héctor Abad is one of Colombia’s leading writers. Born in 1958, he grew up in Medellín, where he studied medicine, philosophy and journalism. In 1987, his father was murdered by Colombian paramilitaries, an event he reflected on 20 years later in Oblivion: A Memoir (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2012), which earned widespread critical acclaim as well as the WOLA-Duke Book Award. Abad has worked as a lecturer in Spanish at the University of Verona and as a translator of Italian literature. Abad writes a weekly column for Colombia’s national newspaper El Espectador. The Farm won the 2015 Cálamo Prize in Spain and was shortlisted for the Mario Vargas Llosa Prize.
Anne McLean has translated works by Javier Cercas, Evelio Rosero, Juan Gabriel Vázquez, Ignacio Martinez de Pisón, Carmen Martín Gaite, Enrique Vila-Matas, and Héctor Abad, as well as Autonauts of the Cosmoroute, Diary of Andrés Fava and From the Observatory by Julio Cortázar. Twice-winner of both the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize and the Premio Valle-Inclán, McLean won the IMPAC Dublin Literary Awards in 2014 with Juan Gabriel Vázquez.
“How can you mourn your loved ones when they have no graves? How can you mourn without allowing them to sink into oblivion—a second death, for which you are then responsible?” These are the questions that drive Scholastique Mukasonga’s short story, Grief, an excerpt from Igifu appearing in The New Yorker this week. Mukasonga discusses Grief and more in an interview with Deborah Treisman.
“On TV, on the radio, they never called it genocide. As if that word were reserved. Too serious. Too serious for Africa. Yes, there were massacres, but there were always massacres in Africa. And these massacres were happening in a country that no one had ever heard of. A country that no one could find on a map. Tribal hatred, primitive, atavistic hatred: nothing to understand there. ‘Weird stuff goes on where you come from,’ people would tell her.”