O derradeiro libro de Emma Olsen is the urgent memoirs that the fictional writer Emma Olsen wishes to put on paper a few weeks before she dies in order to tell what has never been told before and to seek reconciliation with a past and a hometown that have always haunted her. In an exercise of sincerity typical of those who no longer have anything to lose because death lurks, Emma Olsen portrays her childhood and adolescence in Faith, a tiny town in South Dakota, with the haunting presence of her friend and neighbor Clarissa Logan.
The main subject of the story is a transcendental obsession that all readers can relate to, from any geographic location or country. It is the flight from an ever-returning past, here personified in the disturbing friendship with Clarissa and the town of Faith. Olsen moves from her Midwest hometown to mature and become a writer in New York City. Despite efforts to flee that stifling town, where everyone knows everyone and no one is free because everyone must guard their honor, Olsen spends her years as a writer trying to explain her first 18 years of existence in Faith. Her latest book is on a par with the confessional stories of great writers where the past is a trauma and sincerity is an imperious mandate and an exercise in courage to face it, as in Bernhard Schlink's The Reader or Max Frisch's Montauk.
Through precise language and an extremely careful and, at times, poetic style, Berta Dávila introduces the famous writer Emma Olsen, whose literary career is made known to readers through the original resource of the translator's notes. These brief notes by a fictitious translator are fundamental for the reader to know what obsessions have haunted Olsen throughout her life and what she has written about in her canonical works. Dávila manages to keep the reader's attention through the dosage of actions interspersed with brief reflections on transcendental issues in Olsen's life. Everything is told with a tone charged with uneasiness and disturbance due to traumatic events that we intuit and of which we perceive some traces, but that we do not get to know until the last pages.
The style and language of the book is suitable for translation into English as it does not have any particularity that could hinder the translation exercise. The work is suitable for translation in the USA as it is set in that country and deals with a subject close to the American public: the escape from a small town to become an adult in a big city (the Big Apple). In addition, the book is full of references to American works and writers (Anne Sexton, Sylvia Plath, Charles Bukowski) easily identifiable by readers and which would not need any explanation in the translation.
Lily Meyer is a writer, translator, and critic. Her translations include Claudia Ulloa Donoso’s story collections Little Bird and Ice for Martians. Her ...