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Life from Elsewhere: Journeys Through World Literature

3.54  ·  Rating details ·  56 ratings  ·  17 reviews
Writers in Translation, established in 2005 and supported by Bloomberg and Arts Council England, champions the best literature from around the world. To mark the programme's tenth anniversary, ten leading writers from around the world, many of whom have been supported in their work by English PEN, explore the themes of movement, freedom and narrative. Introduced by Amit Ch ...more
Paperback, 160 pages
Published June 21st 2016 by Pushkin Press
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Jun 01, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
3.5 stars

A thought provoking set of small essays on the role of literature, language, and identity. If anything can be said to connect each offering, it is the theme of individuality of experience. The sense that even if there is said to be a 'culture' of something or somewhere, it still includes, or should include, a wealth of variety and contrast. In modern society, with its cultural exchanges, technology, and fluidity of movement, art can still be used to both bridge the gap between people an
Kris - My Novelesque Life
2016; Pushkin Press/Steerforth Press
(Review Not on Blog)

An interesting book that has essays translated from original language to English. I was not really pulled into the collection but appreciate the intent.

***I received an eARC from EDELWEISS***
Apr 21, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: books-read-2016
This collection of literature has been drawn from ten leading writers from all around the world. The themes of freedom and movement are quite prescient at the moment; and it is this that the authors have chosen to explore in their writing. These stories come to us from all around the world, from places of conflict like Syria and Palestine; an author tries to define where they live and another chooses to defy. We have stories of growing up and another author who feels links to his home country.

Yoan Primadisya
May 25, 2020 rated it liked it
Some stories/essays are engaging and open a new way of thinking. My personal fav are Israel’s Ayelet Gundar-Goshen on a meta-fictional encounter between writer and translator and Andrey Kurkov on the dead and living languages of the Caucasus. The first offers us a strong feeling while the later gives us a mixed feeling. Both are appealing and bringing us a new perspective.
Dec 14, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: edelweiss, own
2.5 stars

I have been reading a lot of world literature lately, both in translation and originally written in English, so Life from Elsewhere easily hooked me with its subtitle, "Journeys through World Literature." The collection contains entries translated from seven different languages (Arabic, French, "Israeli" (I think the publisher meant Hebrew), Persian, Polish, Russian, and Spanish), written by authors from such diverse countries as Iran, Poland, Congo, and Hong Kong. Accordingly, I expect
Bernie Gourley
Dec 10, 2015 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: those interested in contemporary world literature.
“Life from Elsewhere” is a collection of essays written by writers from around the world on culture, multiculturalism, and the struggles of life (and writing) in a culture-infused world. The book consists of an introduction and ten essays by authors from India, Congo, Argentina / Spain, China, Israel, Syria, Palestine, Iran, Poland, Russia, and Turkey. It’s being put out to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of a program that seeks to translate more global literature into English (English PEN’s W ...more
Elaine Aldred
Jun 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
Life From Elsewhere: Journeys Through World Literature has been published through the Writers in Translation programme, which was established in 2005 with Bloomberg and supported by Arts Council England. It collects and champions the best literature from around the world. Key to the success of the programme is a substantial translation grant which makes it possible not only for new work from around the world to be enjoyed, but to also pay the often unsung heroes of this type of undertaking, the ...more
Apr 16, 2016 rated it liked it
‘Life from Elsewhere’ is a compilation of essays, some formal, some personal, written by a huge variety of authors from around the world. Published by Pushkin Press, the essays cover a number of concerns, such as migration, translation, and our increasingly globalised world.

My main problem with the book is this: it really, really needs to be longer. There were so many topics covered – but only one essay for each! For me, there needed to be more structure, which would have allowed differing opini
Bam cooks the books ;-)
An interesting collection of essays and short stories from an international group of writers and journalists about life in the modern era and what role art and literature will play.

One unifying theme seemed to me to be the concept of 'identity' in an increasingly mobile society. In his article "The Dream Called Africa,"Alain Mabanckou writes, 'My concept of identity goes far beyond notions of territory or blood.' He is an African with ties to three continents. Another article talks about growin
Apr 30, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016
A short decade of essays and fiction pieces about what it means to be other or an outsider or identity or -- I'm not really sure what the prompt was for these essays precisely. I think it's identity, maybe. That seems like a big enough umbrella to fit all these essays underneath.

And they aren't all essays either. Both Ayelet Gundar-Goshen's and Hanna Krall's submissions are fiction (or at least, intentionally read like fiction), and of course, with my love of narrative and difficulty following n
Apr 01, 2016 rated it liked it
A most mixed bag indeed. Authors give their viewpoint of writing, living, feeling as if they come from the other due to their relocation during their life, or their perception on the state of literature in that embodiment of the other, Iran. We are reminded we could never give a sweeping statement regarding, say, China, as there are too many Chinas for it to ever be valid. An author, in a short story, finds his work in translation unrecognisable – and gallingly popular. Can art and literary be s ...more
Apr 10, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: travel
I really like the idea of this book: a collection of stories written by prominent writers about their home country. I find it fascinating to read about a culture through an insider's eyes. And most of the stories included in this collection were fascinating.

The problem I found with this book was that the stories were too disjointed to form a cohesive collection. Some writers talked about literature, one discussed women's rights, others wrote about translating their work into english, a few talke
Rachel Stansel
Life from Elsewhere is a collection of essays all translated to English, that focus on issues of literature, multiculturalism and freedom throughout the world. The essays were moving, with some more thought provoking for me than others, but all superb. The final essay, Elif Shafek, was my favorite. The author wrote, " We must find an embracing, pluralistic narrative that can speak to the minds and hearts of people from different cultural, ethnic and religious backgrounds. A narrative that is not ...more
Dec 09, 2015 rated it liked it
Life and literature, and journeys and different places trough the words of famous writers and their translators. Some stories are better than others but all of them are beautifully written.

La vita, la letteratura e i viaggi e i differenti posti attraverso le parole di autori famosi e dei loro traduttori (inglesi). Alcune storie sono meglio di altre, ma tutte sono molto ben scritte.


Emma Lunsford
May 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is an essay collection from writers, professors, journalists, etc. from various parts of the world. While the collection as a whole lacked a unifying theme, I really enjoyed each one individually. Lately, I've actively been striving to read perspectives that are different from my own, so I fully support the idea of a collection like this.

Thanks to Netgalley and Pushkin Press for the e-galley.
Jan 29, 2016 rated it liked it
Reflections on nationality, globalisation, writing and translation to celebrate 10 years of the English PEN tarnslation programme. Inevitably with various authors, some will hit the spot more than others, but being so short the good are small and perfectly formed, and the less good do not overstay.
3.5 Stars
Please see my complete review here

This book was provided by the Publisher via NetGalley
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Amit Chaudhuri was born in Calcutta in 1962, and grew up in Bombay. He read English at University College, London, where he took his BA with First Class Honours, and completed his doctorate on critical theory and the poetry of D.H. Lawrence at Balliol College, Oxford, where he was a Dervorguilla Scholar. He was Creative Arts Fellow at Wolfson College, Oxford, from 1992-95, and Leverhulme Special R ...more

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