‘I didn’t realise I was becoming untranslatable,’ Marcelo Cohen confessed after the publication of his eleventh novel, in an interview with Argentine newspaper Clarín. ‘And when I did realise, it was already too late.’ Given that Cohen is himself a renowned translator – the list of authors he has translated into Spanish reads like an index of literary influences: J.G. Ballard, T.S. Eliot, William S. Burroughs, Clarice Lispector – the fact that his writing is considered ‘untranslatable’ seems, in the words of his interviewer, like something of a ‘Karmic paradox’. And the badge of untranslatability casts a powerful spell: Cohen boasts a decades-long career and more than a dozen critically acclaimed works of fiction, yet Melodrome is the first of his novels to be published in English.
Alice Whitmore reviews 'Melodrome' by Marcelo Cohen, translated by Chris Andrews
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Alice Whitmore is the Pushcart Prize and Mascara Avant-garde Award-nominated translator of Mariana Dimópulos’s Imminence (Giramondo, 2019) and All My Goodbyes (Giramondo, 2017), as well as Guillermo Fadanelli’s See You at Breakfast? (Giramondo, 2016) and a number of poetry, short fiction, and essay selections. She is the translations editor of Cordite Poetry Review and an assistant editor at The AALITRA Review.
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