112th: Translating Girlhood with Karen Van Dyck and Xiaolu Guo
Join Book Culture 112th on Friday, September 27th at 7pm for Translating Girlhood: a Conversation between Karen Van Dyck and Xiaolu Guo to celebrate the publication of Margarita Liberaki's Three Summers.
An NYRB Classics Original
Three Summers is the story of three sisters growing up in the countryside near Athens before the Second World War. Living in a big old house surrounded by a beautiful garden are Maria, the oldest sister, as sexually bold as she is eager to settle down and have a family of her own; beautiful but distant Infanta; and dreamy and rebellious Katerina, through whose eyes the story is mostly observed. Over three summers, the girls share and keep secrets, fall in and out of love, try to figure out their parents and other members of the tribe of adults, take note of the weird ways of friends and neighbors, worry about and wonder who they are. Karen Van Dyck’s translation captures all the light and warmth of this modern Greek classic.
In this unforgettable novel, lush and evocative passages are interspersed with candid, astringent, and often unsettling insights about adolescence, desire, and the mysterious web of human relationships. Margarita Liberaki’s sensuousness has an edge, and her tartness has a compelling sweetness. Enthralled, the reader moves deeper and deeper into her summery world.
Karen Van Dyck is the Kimon A. Doukas Professor of Modern Greek Literature at Columbia University. She writes on modern Greek and diaspora literature and on gender and translation. She has edited or co-edited several volumes of poetry, including A Century of Greek Poetry (2004); The Greek Poets: Homer to the Present (2010); and, for NYRB Poets, Austerity Measures: The New Greek Poetry (2017). She is also the translator of Margarita Liberaki’s Three Summers, an NYRB Classics title. Her translations have appeared in Brooklyn Rail, Asymptote, and The Baffler.
Xiaolu Guo is a British/Chinese novelist, essayist and filmmaker. Her novels include A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers (Orange Prize for Fiction Shortlist), Village of Stone, and I Am China. Her recent memoir Nine Continents won the National Book Critics Circle Award 2017 and shortlisted for the Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Award and Costa Award. She is named as a Granta’s Best of Young British Novelist in 2013. She also directed several feature films, including How Is Your Fish Today (Sundance) and UFO In Her Eyes (TIFF). She, A Chinese received the “Golden Leopard" award at the Locarno Film Festival 2009. Her documentaries include Five Men and A Caravaggio premiered at BFI London Film Festival 2018. She is a jury member for the Booker Prize 2019 and currently a visiting fellow at Columbia University in NYC.
Margarita Liberaki (1919–2001) was born in Athens and raised by her grandparents, who ran the Fexis bookstore and publishing house. In addition to Three Summers, an NYRB Classics title, she wrote two further novels, The Other Alexander (1950) and The Mystery (1976); a number of plays, including Candaules’ Wife (1955) and The Danaïds (1956), part of a cycle she called Mythical Theater; several screenplays, including Jules Dassin’s Phaedra (1962) and Diaspora (1999), about Greek intellectuals in exile in Paris during the junta; and a translation of Treasure Island (2000). Three Summers is now a standard part of Greek and Cypriot public education; it was adapted as a television miniseries in 1995.