Dear readers:
For our sixth anniversary in May 2010, The Caribbean Review of Books has launched a new website at www.caribbeanreviewofbooks.com. Antilles has now moved to www.caribbeanreviewofbooks.com/antilles — please update your bookmarks and RSS feed. If you link to Antilles from your own blog or website, please update that too!

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Por favor and s'il vous plaît

One of the CRB's long-term objectives, dear readers, is to offer every issue of the magazine online fully translated into Spanish, French, and Dutch, and so increase our readership throughout the non-Anglophone Caribbean. Perhaps the time will come when we can afford to hire language editors to oversee this. But in the nearer future, we're trying to get a modest translation pilot project off the ground.

We're looking for volunteers fluent in Spanish and French--preferably but not necessarily with some professional translating experience--willing to tackle, say, one review or essay per month (or one every other month), to help us start building a multilingual online archive. Sadly, at the moment we can't afford to pay for this, but every translation will be published with a full credit to the volunteer translator, and we'll list their names in the print magazine too.

This is a great opportunity, for instance, for university students majoring in Spanish or French--they get nice, juicy pieces of text to practise on, and they can list "CRB translator" in their CVs. We'd be very grateful for the help of any of our readers with the language skills and time to participate in this project.

If you'd like to volunteer, you can email me directly at nicholas[NOSPAM]laughlin[AT]gmail[dot]com. (You're going to delete [NOSPAM] and put in the "at" sign and dot, of course.) And please pass this on to anyone you think may be able to help. With any luck, the CRB's Spanish and French archives will make their first appearances in time to greet the new year.

"We learn to read collectively"

Via if:book, the blog of the Institute for the Future of the Book, a link to an audio interview with Junot Díaz in which he talks about "reading as a collective enterprise":

Nobody learns to read outside of a collective. We forget--because we read and we read alone--we forget that we learn to read collectively. We learn with our peers, and a teacher teaches us.... When you read a book--and especially like this book, where there's gonna be Spanish, there's gonna be historical references, there's gonna be nerdish, as they say, forget the elvish, the nerdish, there's gonna be fanboy stuff, there's gonna be talk about Morgoth, about dark side, about John Brunner's science fiction books, about Asimov, about Bova, about Andre Norton, about E. E. Doc Smith's Lensman, you know all this weird esoteric stuff, amongst all these Dominican references, Caribbean references, urban black American references, all this nerd talk, all this kind of hip "we went to college" speak--the reason that's all there in one place is the same reason that reading is a collective enterprise. When we did not know a word when we were young and learning, we would ask someone. We forgot--I think many of us forget--that praxis, that fundamental praxis. What I want is for people to read and remember that reading, while we may practice it alone, in solitude, it arose out of a collective learning and out of a collective exchange....

(My copy of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao arrived two days ago; I've been reading it hungrily--though solitarily--in the evenings.)

(Three Díaz posts in a row!)

Monday, 12 November 2007

"You can go home again"

The immigrant experience, it's been noted, is no longer what it once was. When immigrants who came to the United States in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries left their homelands, they left them forever....

Things are different in the jet age. Now you can go home again, and the trail of immigration has become a two-way street. Assimilation is less certain, involvement with the homeland more intimate and more fraught. Even after a generation or more, families can remain suspended between two places, two languages and the claims of two discordant histories. All this is especially true of immigrants from the Caribbean basin, whose lands are so close, and whose status and plans are so often unclear.

-- From a review of Junot Díaz's novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by William Deresiewicz, in The Nation. (Thanks to Antilles reader Matthew Hunte for the link.)