Posted on 04/29/2021 at 02:00 PM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek

Jhumpa Lahiri has a unique relationship to translated literature.

She’s seen her novels and short-story collections be brought into a variety of languages besides English.

But more importantly, she herself — after learning Italian just in the past decade — first began editing in a non-native language, then wrote a novel in it, and finally translated it into English.

That novel, Whereabouts (or Dove Mi Trovo), has been well-received and much buzzed-about.

It also certainly made it tempting for TIME’s interviewer to ask Lahiri her thoughts on the Amanda Gorman poetry translation controversy.

(A brief recap: Two different translators have stepped down after criticism that they are not young Black women, like Gorman.)

Lahiri told the magazine that she was upset by the controversy.

“It goes against what translation at heart really is, which is a bringing together of those who are different, and don’t know one another’s experiences vis a vis language,” she said.

For more specifically on Whereabouts, you can also read or listen to Lahiri’s interview with NPR and check out a collection of its reviews at Bookmarks.

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Categories: Author Interview

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