Saturday, November 28, 2009

Regreso al Madrid

This past week I spent two delightful days doing press interviews in Madrid. My hosts at Alfaguara (chiefly in the persons of Rosa Junquera and her colleague Alejandro Aliaga) were wonderful, and looked after me like an old friend. It was also delightful to meet María Fernandez Soto, who translated Zoia’s Gold for Alfaguara a few years ago, as well as The Einstein Girl more recently. It turns out she is writing a novel herself, which may account for the beauty of her prose, which I have heard widely praised. As a writer, if you are lucky enough to have a good translator in a foreign tongue, it is a very desirable thing to keep them, not least because you will enjoy continuity of style and voice (which are theirs, after all, and no longer really yours). She told me about some of the particular challenges involved in turning English literary fiction into Spanish literary fiction, which I found quite fascinating. All the decisions about style, voice and tense that a writer makes have subtly different ramifications in different languages, so I am beginning to learn.

The effect on press coverage has been excellent. The interviews given to the press agencies in particular have been syndicated all over Spain and Latin America, and there have been features in the national press - occasionally accompanied by photographs of me looking tired (I was) and jowly. There have also been radio features all over the place, including this one on the national RTVE network. Although the item itself is in Spanish, the entire interview (with the utterly charming Eva Cruz) is also downloadable and is in English. You can hear both broadcast and interview here:

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