Alice Whitmore reviews 'Melodrome' by Marcelo Cohen, translated by Chris Andrews

Alice Whitmore reviews 'Melodrome' by Marcelo Cohen, translated by Chris Andrews

Melodrome

by Marcelo Cohen, translated by Chris Andrews

Giramondo, $24.95 pb, 142 pp, 9781925336771

‘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.

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Published in November 2018, no. 406

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