Translations by Suzanne Jill Levine: Where There’s Love, There’s Hate (with Jessica E. Powell) and Mundo Cruel: Stories

2013 Publications by Suzanne Jill Levine

2013: Adolfo Bioy Casares & Silvina Ocampo, Where There’s Love, There’s Hate. Melville House (Brooklyn, NY). Translated with Jessica E. Powell.

Originally published in 1946, Where There’s Love, There’s Hate is the only work of fiction that united husband-and-wife Adolfo Bioy Casares and Silvina Ocampo as co-authors. Suzanne Jill Levine collaborated with Jessica E. Powell to bring this inventive novella, a satirical hybrid of the mystery and romance genres, to English-language readers for the first time.

It’s a mystery as to why two towering figures of Latin American literature such as Silvina Ocampo and Adolfo Bioy Casares aren’t better known outside Spanish-language literature for more than just their close association with Jorge Luis Borges. Particularly for this book—the only novel the husband-and-wife team wrote together, which has never before been translated into English.

It, too, is a mystery: In seaside Bosque del Mar, Argentina, guests at the Hotel Central are struck by double misfortune—the mysterious death of one of their party, and an investigation headed by the physician, writer, and insufferable busybody, Dr. Humberto Huberman. When pretty young translator Mary is found dead on the first night of Huberman’s stay, he quickly appoints himself leader of an inquiry that will see blame apportioned in turn to each and every guest—including Mary’s own sister—escalating into a wild, wind-blown reconnaissance mission to the nearby shipwreck, theJoseph K.

Where There’s Love, There’s Hateis both a genuinely suspenseful mystery and an ingenious send-up of the genre—a novel that’s captivating, unashamedly erudite, and gloriously witty.

2013: Luis Negrón, Mundo Cruel: Stories. Seven Stories Press (New York, NY).

Suzanne Jill Levine’s translation of Luis Negrón’s 2010 debut, a poignant and lively collection of nine stories, offers readers a glimpse into the community of Santurce, Puerto Rico.

Nine short stories open a door into working class Santurce, Puerto Rico, where shoddy medical offices, Catholic churches, Mormon temples, and Santeria storefronts line the sunbaked streets. Here, a bumbling prostitute-turned-fugitive bewilderingly avoids capture. Back-biting mothers hand down judgment on their neighbors and the world at large from their front lawns. A desperate dog-owner will do anything to have his precious animal sent to a taxidermist. A young Chosen One with a curious gift helps his fellow parishioners find God.

Mundo Cruel, Luis Negron's debut book, elegantly presents to its readers a world both tragic and outrageous. Masterfully satirical with a discrete solemnity at its core, Mundo Cruel's most remarkable element is its language. Several of its stories feature unnamed protagonists brought to life by their speech—colloquial, self-incriminating, and idiosyncratic—revealing Negron's mesmerizing talent for conjuring the spoken word in all its subtlety.

Recent Publications by Suzanne Jill Levine

2012: Reckoning. Finishing Line Press (Georgetown, KY).

The chapbook Reckoning places Suzanne Jill Levine’s original poems alongside her translations of leading Latin American poets such as Alejandra Pizarnik, Octavio Paz and Severo Sarduy.

2011: José Donoso, The Lizard’s Tale. Northwestern University Press (Evanston, IL).

Chilean novelist José Donoso was a central if often overlooked figure of the Latin American Boom. Suzanne Jill Levine’s translation of Donoso’s final work, which was published in Spanish posthumously in 2007 under the editorship of Julio Ortega, received the prestigious PEN Center USA 2012 Literary Award for Translation.

Winner of 2012 PEN Center USA Literary Award for Translation

José Donoso was the leading Chilean representative of the Latin American “Boom” of the sixties and seventies that included Gabriel García Márquez, Mario Vargas Llosa, and Manuel Puig, among others. Written as a draft in 1973, set aside, and forgotten, The Lizard’s Tale was discovered among Donoso’s papers at Princeton University by his daughter after his death. Edited for publication by critic and poet Julio Ortega, it was published posthumously in Spanish under the title Lagartija sin cola in 2007. Suzanne Jill Levine, who knew Donoso and translated two of his earlier works, brings the book to an English-language audience for the first time.  Defeated and hiding in his Barcelona apartment, painter Antonio Muñoz-Roa—clearly Donoso’s alter ego—relates the story of his flight with Luisa, his cousin, lover, and benefactor, after his scandalous desertion from the “Informalist” movement (a witty reference to a contemporary Spanish art movement and possibly an allusion to the Boom as well), in which he had been a member of a certain standing. Frustrated, old, and alone, the artist looks back on his years in the small town of Dors, a place he unsuccessfully tried to rescue from the crushing advance of modernity, and on the decline of his own family, also threatened by the changing times. In Levine’s able hands, Donoso’s clear prose shines through, forming a compact, powerful, and still-relevant meditation on the commercialization of art and the very places we inhabit.

2010: General Editor for Penguin Classics Series of Borges’ Poetry and Essays.

In 2010, under the general editorship of Suzanne Jill Levine, Penguin Classics released a five-volume series of Jorge Luis Borges’s nonfiction and poetry, comprised of new collections of writing including material published in English for the first time (On Mysticism, On Writing, On Argentina)and dual-language editions of his poetry (Poems of the Night, The Sonnets).

2009: The Subversive Scribe: Translating Latin American Fiction, 2nd edition.

Dalkey Archive Press (Champaign, IL). 1st edition, 1991, Graywolf Press (Minneapolis, MN).

Reissued by Dalkey Archive Press in 2009, this groundbreaking book on the poetics of translation showcases Suzanne Jill Levine’s intimate collaborations with some of the most innovative writers of twentieth-century Latin American fiction. Her detailed and illuminating record of the process of translating Guillermo Cabrera Infante, Manuel Puig and Severo Sarduy shows that translation, like writing, is fundamentally a creative act.

To most of us, “subversion” means political subversion, but The Subversive Scribe is about collaboration not with an enemy, but with texts and between writers. Though Suzanne Jill Levine is the translator of some of the most inventive Latin American authors of the twentieth century—including Julio Cortázar, G. Cabrera Infante, Manuel Puig, and Severo Sarduy—each of whom were revolutionaries not only on the page, but in confronting the sexual and cultural taboos of their respective countries, she considers the act of translation itself to be a form of subversion. Rather than regret translation’s shortcomings, Levine stresses how translation is itself a creative act, unearthing a version lying dormant beneath an original text, and animating it, like some mad scientist, in order to create a text illuminated and motivated by the original. In The Subversive Scribe, one of our most versatile and creative translators gives us an intimate and entertaining overview of the tricky relationships lying behind the art of literary translation.

Where There's Love, There's Hate, Translated by Suzanne Jill Levine with Jessica E. Powell
Mundo Cruel: Stories, Translated by Suzanne Jill Levine
Suzanne Jill Levine