On Wednesday November 16 in New York, The National Book Foundation announced the winning book of the prestigious award of the National Book Award for Translated Literature. The finalists that made up the list were: ”A New Name: Septology VI-VII” by Jon Fosse, “Kibogo” by Scholastique Mukasonga, “Jawbone” by Monica Ojeda, “Scattered All Over the Earth” by Yoko Tawada and, the finally awarded, “Seven Empty Houses” of the Argentine writer Samantha Schweblin.
The jury, of which the writers were part Pilar Adón, Jon Bilbao, Guadalupe Nettel, Andrés Neuman and chaired by Rodrigo Fresanvalued at “Seven empty houses” for the precision of his style, the investigation into the rarity and the perverse costumbrismo that inhabits his enveloping and dazzling stories. The president of the jury, referring to the narrator, exclaimed: “A sane scientist contemplating madmen, or people who are seriously thinking of going mad.”
“In 2015, we published for the first time “Seven empty houses”With which Samantha Schweblin got the IV Ribera del Duero International Short Narrative Award. Twenty-seven editions later, and fourteen editions in Argentina, coincides in bookstores with its English translation “Seven Empty Houses”, by Megan McDowell and obtains this marvelous recognition”, declared Juan Casamayorpublisher of Foam Pages.
The repercussion for the American award coincided with the presentation of the Buenos Aires writer reading the beginning of the story “La respiración cavernaria”. Precisely about this story and about “Seven empty houses” several flattering reviews were written in different media. “There is no better example of Samanta Schweblin’s ability to alter the emotional stability of readers than in the outstanding story of the collection,” he explained. The Washington Post. On the other hand, The New York Times He noted: “This is Schweblin at its sharpest and most ferocious.”
It is not the first time that Samanta Schweblin, born in Buenos Aires in 1978, has established herself in the literary world. Her first book “The Core of the Disturbance” (2002), won the awards of the National Endowment for the Arts and the Haroldo Conti National Competition. In 2008, he was awarded the Casa de las Américas prize for his book of short stories. “Birds in the mouth” (2009), translated into thirteen languages and published in more than twenty countries. He obtained the last edition of the French Juan Rulfo prize, and in 2014 he published his first novel, “Rescue distance”.
Specialized critics described the book as exploring everyday terrors, dissecting their own fears and those of others, and putting on the table the prejudices of those who, between estrangement and a rarefied “normality”, contemplate others. Schweblin’s sharp and precise prose, his ability to create dense and disturbing atmospheres, and the shocking range of sensations have earned this book all applause.