Spain Writes, America Reads: Rabbit Island by Elvira Navarro
Spanish author Elvira Navarro joins translator Christina MacSweeney to discuss her collection of stories “Rabbit Island” with guest author Sarah Rose Etter.
Rabbit Island by Elvira Navarro
Community Bookstore and Two Lines Press present an event celebrating Elvira Navarro’s Rabbit Island, a collection of stories that traverse the fickle, often terrifying terrain between madness and freedom, brilliantly translated by Christina MacSweeney. Spanish author Elvira Navarro joins translator Christina MacSweeney to discuss Rabbit Island with Sarah Rose Etter.
Combining the gritty surrealism of David Lynch with the explosive interior meditations of Clarice Lispector, the stories in Elvira Navarro’s Rabbit Island traverse the fickle, often terrifying terrain between madness and freedom. In the title story, a so-called “non-inventor” conducts an experiment on an island inhabited exclusively by birds and is horrified by what the results portend. “Myotragus” bears witness to a man of privilege’s understanding of the world being violently disrupted by the sight of a creature long thought extinct. Elsewhere, an unsightly “paw” grows from a writer’s earlobe; an obese grandmother floats silently in the corner of a room.
These eleven stories from one of Granta’s Best Young Spanish-Language Novelists are psychogeographies of dingy hotel rooms, shape-shifting cities, and graveyards.
About Elvira Navarro
Elvira Navarro won the Community of Madrid’s Young Writers Award in 2004. Her first book, La ciudad en invierno (The City in Winter), published in 2007, was well received by the critics, and her second, La ciudad feliz (The Happy City, Hispabooks, 2013) was given the twenty-fifth Jaén Fiction Award and the fourth Tormenta Award for best new author, as well as being selected as one of the books of the year by Culturas, the arts and culture supplement of the Spanish newspaper Público. Granta magazine also named her one of their top twenty-two Spanish writers under the age of 35. She contributes to cultural magazines such as El Mundo newspaper’s El Cultural, to Ínsula, Letras Libres, Quimera, Turia, and Calle 20, and to the newspapers Público and El País. She writes literary reviews for Qué Leer and contributions for the blog La tormenta en un vaso. She also teaches creative writing.
About Christina MacSweeney
Christina MacSweeney received the 2016 Valle Inclan prize for her translation of Valeria Luiselli’s The Story of My Teeth, and Among Strange Victims (Daniel Saldaña París) was a finalist in the 2017 Best Translated Book Award. Among the other authors she has translated are: Elvira Navarro (A Working Woman), Verónica Gerber Bicecci (Empty Set; Palabras migrantes / Migrant Words), and Julián Herbert (Tomb Song; The House of the Pain of Others).
About Sarah Rose Etter
Sarah Rose Etter is the author of a short fiction collection, Tongue Party (Caketrain Press), and a novel, The Book of X (forthcoming from Two Dollar Radio). Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Cut, Electric Literature, Vice, Guernica, Philadelphia Weekly, and more. She is the recipient of writing residencies at the Disquiet International Program in Portugal, and the Gullkistan Creative Program in Iceland. In 2018, she was the keynote speaker at the Society for the Study of American Women Writers, where she presented on surrealism in fiction as a mode of feminism.