Absinthe: World Literature in Translation
Vol. 25: Barings // Bearings: Contemporary Women's Writing in Catalan
Edited by Megan Berkobien and María Cristina Hall, Barings // Bearings collects sixteen pieces of contemporary women’s writing in Catalan together with the brilliantly understated illustrations of the artist Elisa Monsó.
This special issue of Absinthe witnesses a living, Catalan language through the emotional labor of translation. It is also a testament to the thriving worlds of women’s writing in Catalan, with time-travelling fiction by Bel Olid (tr. Bethan Cunningham), regrets on pregnancy sublimated into an airborne taxi ride in a story by Tina Vallès (tr. Jennifer Arnold), Mireia Vidal-Conte’s poetry reflecting on Virginia Woolf’s suicide (tr. María Cristina Hall), a story of revenge on an abusive elderly woman by Anna Maria Villalonga (tr. Natasha Tanna), as well as reflections on war, bookstores, and generational conflict in post-Franco Spain. These often surreal pieces of Catalan fiction are informed by several essays and works of literary memoir, including those by Marta Rojals (tr. Alicia Meier) on the state of the Catalan language and Najat El Hachmi (tr. Julia Sanches) on the conditions of growing up in Catalonia as the daughter of Moroccan parents. These latter pieces resist and explore the contours of multilingualism, highlighting the intra- and interlingual reality of spoken Catalan alongside Spanish and Amazigh. Barings // Bearings invokes the feeling of a people through the work of a new generation of translators.