Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction and Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel and post Colonial Asian Fiction, Yiddish Literature, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality historical novels are some of my Literary Interests





Tuesday, August 22, 2017

"Spiderweb" - A Short Story by Mariana (from The New Yorker, 2016, translated from Spanish by Megan McDowell)



The New Yorker, December 29, 2016


Information on Women in Translation Month - August, 2017


Short stories I have read so far for Women In Translation Month - August, 2017

  1. "Happy New Year" by Ajaat Cour - Translated from Punjabi
  2. "The Floating Forest" by Natsuo Kirino- Translated from Japanese
  3. " A Home Near the Sea" by Kamala Das - Translated from Malayalam
  4. "Maria" by Dacia Maraini- Translated from Italian
  5. "Zletka" by Maja Hrgovic - Translated from Croatian
  6. "Arshingar" by Jharna Raham - Translated from Bengali
  7. "Tsipke" by Salomea Perl - Translated from Yiddish
  8. "Mother" by Urmilaw Pawar - Translated from Marathi
  9. "My Creator, My Creation" by Tiina Raevaara - Translated from Finnish
  10. "Cast Offs" by Wajida Tabassum - Translated from Urdu
  11. It's All Up to You" by Slywia Chutnik - Translated from Polish
  12. "Covert Joy" by Clarice Lispector- Translated from Portuguese 
  13. "The Daughter, The Wife, and the Mother" by Arupa Kilita - Translated from Assam
  14. "Red Glow of the New Moon" by Kundanika Kapadia - translated from Gujarati
  15. "Breaking Point" by Usha Mahajan- translated from Hindu
  16. "The Gentleman Thief" by Goli Taraghi - translated from Persian
  17. "Spider Web" by Mariana Enriguez- translated from Spanish

Mariana Enriquez, from Buenos Aires, is a leading Argentinian short story writer.  Today's story "Spiderweb" was published, in translation in the December 19, 2016 of The New Yorker (for now you can read it for free on their website, link above).  Publication in The New Yorker has sustained and started many literary careers.

The narrator of "Spiderweb" is a young recently married woman, living in Buenos Aires.  Her aunt and uncle have never met her husband and they have asked her to bring her husband to their house, up near the northern border close to Paraguay and Brazil, a very rugged place for a young woman from a very sophisticated city like Buenos Aires.

Enriquez does a wonderful job of setting the stage in these opening line:

"In February I went to visit my aunt and uncle in Corrientes, because I was tired of their reproaches: “You got married and we haven’t even met your husband! How is that possible? You’re hiding him from us.”
“No,” I’d say, laughing, over the phone. “How could I be hiding him? I’d love for you to meet him—we’ll come soon.”
But they were right: I was hiding him.
My aunt and my uncle were the custodians of the memory of my mother, their favorite sister, who was killed in a stupid accident when I was seventeen. During the first months of mourning, they offered to have me come live with them in the north; I said no. They came to visit me often. They gave me money, called me every day. My cousins stayed to keep me company on weekends. But I still felt abandoned, and because of that solitude I fell in love too quickly, I got married impetuously, and now I was living with Juan Martín, who irritated and bored me."

Her husband boasts to her relatives about his business success and denigrates the province in which they live as underdeveloped.  In a private conversation she tells her aunt that her husband repulses her.  She hates having sex with him.  Her cousin Natalie joins them, she is single but has a wealthy boyfriend.  Her husband doesn't like Natalie. The narrator thinks she is very beautiful.  Natalie proposes a three hundred kilometer road trip to a market town in Paraguay where she buys exquisite lace for resale back home.  The road trip is very exciting, it has a Wild West kind of feel, Paraguay feels edgy and dangerous.  Seeing the interaction of the two cousins was wonderful, great dialogue.


There are exciting developments on the Way Home that I will leave untold.   Enriquez made me feel I was along for the ride.

I greatly enjoyed this story and hope to read more stories by Mariana Enriquez.

Mariana Enriquez is a writer and editor based in Buenos Aires, where she contributes to a number of newspapers and literary journals, both fiction and nonfiction- from the website of Penguin Random House Books.

Mel u 






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