Paul Willems in Tin House 50

December 6th, 2011 § 0 comments

“It was dawn; the sun, white as a little disk of utter ice, was perched on a red mountain. Below us, a thousand mountains! They all looked like piles of dried blood. The air was so thin, so limpid that we could see them as if they were in our hands. Not a tree, not a lake. An old scab of old blood covered the incurable wound of the world.” ~ Paul Willems, “The Horse’s Eye”

Tin House is celebrating the big five-oh issue-wise; the theme is Beauty. I’m proud to have a translation of Belgian fabulist Paul Willems rub shoulders with such goodies as:

  • an essay on beauty by Marilynne Robinson,
  • Aimee Bender interviewing artist Amy Cutler,
  • Sonya Chung interviewing James Salter,
  • Maggie Shipstead’s Tom-and-Katie-get-divorced story,
  • Gavin Bowd’s translation of Michel Houellebecq,
  • Eric Puchner’s youth-only future,

and lots more, so go out and pick up a copy!

I also weigh in at the Tin House blog on a sentence from James Salter’s short story “Dusk”. Like Salter, Willems applies a spare style to hint at deep and hidden feeling, but in English, I’ve not yet seen such lapidary minimalism married to fabulist content. If you like Paul Willems, look out early in the new year for my translation of his story “Cherepish” in Subtropics!

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