The Entre Ríos Trilogy - Perla Suez - translated by Rhonda Buchanan
$18.00, ISBN 978-1-945680-59-5
The three novels in this collection, written by Perla Suez in Spanish, and expertly translated to English by Rhonda Dahl Buchanan, take place in Entre Ríos, the Argentine province where thousands of Jewish immigrants settled at the end of the nineteenth century. Suez weaves history and memory in these tales of passion, violence, and intrigue. Déborah, the protagonist of Lethargy, narrates the traumatic experiences of her youth in Basavilbaso, and captures the stifling atmosphere of intolerance and repression during the 1950s. In The Arrest Lucien Finz, a young Jewish farmer, leaves the rice fields of Villa Clara to study medicine in Buenos Aires, where he becomes a victim of La Semana Trágica, the "Tragic Week" in January of 1919, when government forces arrested, tortured, and murdered striking workers and many innocent people. Complot is an intricate web of lust, deceit, murder, and power, which spans the first three decades of the twentieth century, when Great Britain influenced the growth of the Argentine nation.
“A mesmerizing narrative of life in the Argentine province of Entre Ríos where many
Jews from Eastern Europe settled in between the wars. Perla Suez narrates with passion and audacity life in this region where violence and identity are intertwined with love and the possibilities to belong in a foreign land.”
“Memory, personal and collective, is the engine behind The Entre Ríos Trilogy. Perla Suez returns mercilessly to traumatic moments in Argentine Jewish history: the immigration at the end of the nineteenth century, the pogrom in 1919 known as La Semana Trágica, the quest of the grandchildren of immigrants to find a home, and the perfunctory nature of anti-Semitism. Figuratively, Suez is a descendant of Gerchunoff: a dreamer, a language wizard.”
— Ilán Stavans
“Suez’s minimalist narratives have profound traces in the other side of the tapestry of what, in the end, is still very much a powerful and significant presence of Jews in Argentina. Indeed, Suez’s three novels are exercises in reading those backside traces. They are, in the best feminist tradition, stories told from women’s point of view in the attempt to bring forth the way in which social history, so often forged consciously and unthinkingly by men oblivious to women’s participation in it, impacts on women’s consciousness. The fact that the consciousness of Suez’s characters is that of humble peasant girls or young women only makes them that much more eloquent: stream-of-conscious narrative, oblique witnessing, barely perceptive understanding are all features of these three texts, while at the same time Suez is able to transmit the literal burden of history—Argentine history, Jewish history, Argentine-Jewish history—of each of her characters, both in the first person and in the third person experiences. This is a superb account of women’s lives that are important in their public obscurity, and Buchanan’s translation is flawless.”
— David William Foster
“Buchanan’s masterful translation succeeds in capturing the author’s careful pacing of the text, economy of language, and the lyrical nature of her writing. As a trilogy, the novels offer a powerful resistance against the socio-cultural invisibility of the Jewish immigrant populations, as well as a significant contribution to the literature of marginalization and exile.”
— Karen Wooley Martin
Perla Suez was born in Córdoba, Argentina, but lived the first fifteen years of her life in Basavilbaso, in the province of Entre Ríos, a crucial period that informs her narrative fiction, especially the three novels of The Entre Ríos Trilogy. Suez received a university degree in literature from the Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Argentina, and was awarded fellowships from the French government, which enabled her to work and study from 1976-1978, at the Centro Internacional de Estudios Pedagógicos de Sèvres, during the first years of the dictatorship (1976-1983). She began her literary career publishing novels and short stories for children, and was the founding director of CEDILIJ (Centro de Difusión e Investigación de Literatura Infantil y Juvenil), a center for children’s literature in Córdoba. Her novel Memorias de Vladimir (Alfaguara, 1992) was awarded the White Ravens Prize, and has been published in several subsequent editions, most recently in 2019 by the Editorial Comunicarte. In 2000, she made her debut in the realm of adult fiction with the publication of Letargo, which was a finalist for the prestigious 2001 Rómulo Gallegos Prize. Since then, her popular award-winning children’s novels and books have appeared in new editions, and her novels for adults have been published in translations and new editions. Her first three novels written for adults (Letargo, El arresto, and Complot) were published individually, and in 2006, combined into one volume entitled Trilogía de Entre Ríos (Editorial Norma), to coincide with the publication of the English translation, The Entre Ríos Trilogy: Three Novels (U of New Mexico P, 1st edition). In 2008, Trilogía de Entre Ríos was awarded the Primer Premio Internacional Grinzane Covour. Subsequently, the Editorial Edhasa has released new editions of all three novels of the trilogy. In 2007, Suez won a Guggenheim Fellowship for her novel La pasajera (Editorial Norma, 2008), which was translated to English as Dreaming of the Delta. In 2013, she received the Argentine National Novel Prize for Humo rojo (Editorial Edhasa, 2012). In 2015, her novel El país del diablo received the Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz Literature Prize, and in 2020, the XX Rómulo Gallegos International Novel Prize for the best novel written in Spanish in Latin America and Spain. In 2019, White Pine Press published the translation of the novel as The Devil’s Country. In 2019, Suez published the novel Furia de invierno (Editorial Edhasa) to much critical acclaim, and also Aconcagua (Editorial Ojoreja), a book of short stories that won the 2018 Concurso de Proyectos Editoriales del Fondo de las Artes. Her works have been translated to English, French, Greek, Italian, Macedonian, Portuguese, and Serbian.
Rhonda Dahl Buchanan is a Distinguished Teaching Professor of Spanish and Director of Latin American and Latino Studies at the University of Louisville. She is also the recipient of the University of Louisville Distinguished Professor Award for Outstanding Scholarship, Research, and Creative Activity. She is the author of numerous articles on contemporary Latin American writers and the editor of a book of critical essays, El río de los sueños: Aproximaciones críticas a la obra de Ana María Shua (2001). Her many translations include: The Entre Ríos Trilogy (U of New Mexico P, 2006; 1st ed.) and Dreaming of the Delta (U Texas Tech P, 2014), four novels by Perla Suez. Her translation Quick Fix: Sudden Fiction by Ana María Shua (White Pine P, 2008) is a bilingual illustrated anthology of microfictions. She is the recipient of a 2006 NEA Literature Fellowship for the translation of Alberto Ruy-Sánchez’s novel The Secret Gardens of Mogador: Voices of the Earth (White Pine P, 2009). In 2014, White Pine Press published her translation Poetics of Wonder: Passage to Mogador by Alberto Ruy-Sánchez, with support from Mexico’s PROTRAD translation program. In 2019, White Pine Press published her translation of Perla Suez’s novel The Devil’s Country, and in 2020, her translation of Mempo Giardinelli’s novel Bruno Fólner’s Last Tango, both with support from the Programa Sur Translation Support Program of the Argentine Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the University of Louisville. In 2022, her translation of Tununa Mercado’s Canon de alcoba was published as Chamber Canon by Literal Publishing, with support from the Programa Sur Translation Support Program of the Argentine Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the University of Louisville.