Pedro Vergés’ ASHES (BOLERO): AN ENGLISH TRANSLATION WITH MARGARITE FERNÁNDEZ OLMOS.
Ashes (Sólo cenizas Hallarás: Bolero, 1980)—perhaps the best novel written by a Dominican author in the 20th century and considered a classic of Dominican fiction—was the winner of the XV Vicente Blasco Ibáñez Prize for Fiction in 1980 as well as of the 1981 Premio Internacional de la Crítica Española. Its author, Pedro Vergés (1945), has enjoyed a long career as a diplomat (he was ambassador to Spain, Germany, and Japan) and was until recently the Dominican Republic’s Minister of Culture. He is currently the Dominican Republic’s ambassador to Canada. He is also poet and short story writer. Sólo cenizas hallarás is his only novel. This is its first English translation.
The novel interweaves the perspectives of a gallery of characters between June 1961 and December 1962, at the moment of chaotic transition between the death of Dominican dictator Rafael Leonidas Trujillo and a new democratic political system. It is Vergés’ attempt to grapple with what he described as “the serious psychological and political crisis the country underwent as a result of Trujillo’s dictatorship,” a deeply traumatic period in the nation’s history. Richly detailed and deeply nuanced, the novel traverses the city of Santo Domingo as a haunting space, seen through the eyes of its characters in all its pathos and humor as both a threatening and absurd space.
HEEDING THE CHANT OF THE CARIBBEAN SEA/AU CHANT DE LA MER CARAÏBE: SELECTED POEMS BY DANIEL THALY.
Bilingual edition in progress. Translations by Mark Andrews and Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert, introduction by Mark Andrews. London: Papillote Press, 2022.
Daniel Thaly (1878-1950) was a Dominican/Martinican poet now chiefly forgotten but whose verses had won him extensive fame in the early twentieth century. He commemorated the tragedy of Mont Pelée through poems whose evocation of the Antillean landscape is etched with the searing pain of the loss of so many friends when the town of St. Pierre was destroyed by the 1902 eruption. The loss of twenty-nine thousand lives within minutes of the main eruption touched Thaly profoundly, as he had been for many years a student at the Lycée St. Pierre and lost relatives, former classmates, teachers, and lifetime friends. He will return again and again to the eruption as a theme in his poetry, as a sort of leit motif that permeates all the collections. But the concreteness of Thaly’s evocations are not limited to the destruction of St. Pierre-they form the core of a profoundly autobiographical element in his poetry, through which he often constructs a version of himself as a citizen divided between Roseau and the St. Pierre that vanished under a cloud of ash while he was away.
This edition, the first to make his work available in English, seeks to reclaim a place for him among the most important writers of 20th-century Dominica.
HOW TO GATHER THE SHADOWS OF THE FLOWERS AND OTHER STORIES BY ANGELA HERNÁNDEZ NÚÑEZ.
Edition and Introduction by Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert and Ivette Romero-Cesareo. Translations by Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert.
Manuscript under review.
Translation into English of a collection of short stories by Dominican writer Angela Hernández Nuñez. The stories, chosen by the author, represent the best of her work.
Hernández Nuñez is the Dominican Republic’s most prominent contemporary novelist. The winner of the National Literary Prize for 2016, she is a prolific and versatile author whose novels, short stories, poems and essays have been the subject of significant critical attention. Marcio Veloz Maggiolo, one of the Dominican Republic’s most respected critics, once declared that in her short stories Hernández Núñez had reached a summit in Dominican writing; the stories, he argued, surprised as much by the maturity and assuredness of their craft as by their “halo of mystery and a fine sense of poetry,” their “murmuring vision of love and enigmas.” The stories, above all, are characterized by a thrust to unveil what lies behind the worldly, terrestrial, and commonplace, to capture what eludes comprehension, what abides beyond the frontiers of the prosaic.
Image: from the Unalterable Limitations series by Firelei Báez
WHERE THE DREAM ENDS: SHORT STORIES BY JOSÉ ALCÁNTARA ALMANZAR.
Edition and introduction by Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert and Cecilia Graña-Rosa. Translations by Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert. Fort Lauderdale: Caribbean Studies Press, 2018.
The stories included in the project have been selected by the author himself and include representative examples from collections dating back to the early 1970s. He considers this selection to represent his best work. The volume is part of a four-part project that includes my translation of similar collections of short stories by Dominican authors Angela Hernández Nuñez (see below) and Pedro Peix, and my translation of Pedro Vergés’s 1980 novel, Sólo cenizas hallarás: bolero. The four authors are considered to be the Dominican Republic’s best contemporary writers and the completion of the larger project would bring their work some richly deserved international attention.
LOS FANTABULOSOS VUELOS: CUENTOS DE MUJERES CARIBEÑAS
Edited with Carmen Esteves. Translations by Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert. Barcelona: Verdecielo Ediciones, 2005.
[English translations with introduction]. Edited with Margarite Fernández Olmos. Fredonia, NY: White Pine Press, 1995. 250pp.
[English translation with introduction]. Edited with Margarite Fernández Olmos. Fredonia, N.Y.: White Pine Press, 1993. Paperback editions: New York: Quality Paperbacks, 1994;
DIE FRAU IM SAND: EROTISCHE PHANTASIEN VON FRAUEN
[German translation of Pleasure in the Word by Susanne Keller]. München: Heyne, 1995.
Edited with Margarite Fernández Olmos.
German translation of El placer de la palabra—described above in its English translation edition.
See also El placer de la palabra, the Spanish original, under “Books: Editions”
GREEN CANE AND JUICY FLOTSAM: SHORT STORIES BY CARIBBEAN WOMEN
[English translations with introduction]. Edited with Carmen C. Esteves. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1991; rpt. 1992, 1994, 1996, 1998. 273pp.