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In Translation: Megan McDowell on The Obscene Bird of Night with Hari Kunzru

José Donoso’s The Obscene Bird of Night was one of the most brilliantly bizarre novels of “The Boom” of Latin American literature and one of the greatest novels of the century. Narrated in voices that shift and multiply, The Obscene Bird of Night frets the seams between master and slave, rich and poor, reality and nightmares, man and woman, self and other in a maniacal inquiry into the horrifying transformations that power can wreak on identity. In New Directions’s reissue—celebrating the centennial of its author’s birth—star translator Megan McDowell has revised and updated the classic translation, restoring nearly twenty pages of previously untranslated text mysteriously cut from the 1972 edition. Novelist Hari Kunzru (Red Pill) joins McDowell for a conversation and celebration of this newly complete edition of Donoso’s kaleidoscopic masterpiece.


Wed 7/31

The Center for Fiction
15 Lafayette Avenue

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