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“The book that taught me what translation was.”

Author: Jhumpa Lahiri
Newspaper, blog or website: The New Yorker
Date: Nov 6 2021

“My understanding of invece changed just like an umbrella in the wind, from a workhorse in my Italian vocabulary to a lexical distillation of pure poetry and philosophy. From book to book, this type of revelation is what translating Starnone’s work has taught me about language and about words—that they change as we blink and that they are rich with alternatives. It is my engagement with his texts that has rendered me, definitively, a translator, and this novel activity in my creative life has revealed the inherent instability not only of language but of life. In undertaking the task of choosing English words to take the place of his Italian ones, I am ever thankful and forever changed.”

Read the full essay in The New Yorker.

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