Friday, August 28, 2020

WITMonth Day 28 | Joy | Brief thoughts

I've been thinking a lot about pain and joy lately. The world is going through a lot. We are going through a lot. And in these tough times, readers often find themselves seeking shelter in literature, whether as an educational experience or a comforting one. WITMonth has often been the former for me, but finding joy in world literature is surprisingly difficult. So few books are translated, after all, that there is often too little room left for books that fall into genres that are considered "less serious". Joyous books are a rarity among books written by women in translation.

Where is adventure? Where is love? Where is happiness? Where is joy?

I think about the books I've read lately. Many are truly wonderful books, but they delve into particularly heavy topics - war, violence, sexism, racism, tragedy. And even when the books themselves are full of love (like Island of Shattered Dreams), there is still a tragic core, or the books that are uplifting come from a place of sadness.

I find myself seeking more of that. Women - particularly women writers from underrepresented backgrounds in English translation - deserve to share stories that reflect all of life, not just the tragedies or difficulties or struggles. We are allowed to simply have women's love, happiness, adventure, and optimism without tragedy as its base. Along with all my hopes for more translations of works by women writers from around the world, I would like more joy.

1 comment:

  1. I completely agree with you - I wonder if this is a reflection that what gets translated seems to be 'worthy' stories, and we tend to stereotype that women's stories from other parts of the world are all about oppression or suffering etc. (Huge generalisation there, I know, but I think there must be a subconscious element of that. If it's something light and frothy, we have plenty of writers of our own, so let's leave the translated slots for something more 'thought-provoking'.


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