& Jennifer CROFT
Ten photographs for a book
called A PERFECT CEMETERY
called A PERFECT CEMETERY
‘I love Federico Falco’s short story collection A PERFECT CEMETERY, which I translated for Charco Press. I also love Falco’s mirada—his way of beholding the world. After interviewing him about his textual work (see here), I wanted to also hold a kind of conversation through images, and asked him to send me some of his favorite photos from his recent travels around Argentina. I paired his selections with lines from each of the five stories that appear in A PERFECT CEMETERY, in Spanish, and I responded to his selections with my own photos paired with the same lines in my English translations. I hope what follows gives a taste of our collaboration—a rich mix of differing but complementary sensibilities, a shared respect for mystery, distance, silence, solitude, and above all a love of the natural world and an awe of its prowess.’
—J.C., April ‘21
Steve y ella boca arriba, mirando el mecerse lento de las copas de los árboles. Steve haciéndole el amor, los dos desnudos entre los helechos. El musgo húmedo que crece en las sombras, Steve moviéndose en olas, flores carnosas, pétalos, algas largas como cabelleras, ondeando en la corriente.
SILVI Y LA NOCHE OSCURA
She and Steve lying down on their backs watching the tops of the trees as they swayed, slowly. Steve making love to her, the two of them naked among the ferns. The moist moss that grows in the shadows, Steve moving in waves, fleshy flowers, petals, algae long like hair, undulating in the stream.
SILVI & HER DARK NIGHT
Antes de que llegara el verano, un par de tumbas, o cinco, o seis, o diez, combarían su lisura inmaculada. Por el momento, era una colina magnífica.
UN CEMENTERIO PERFECTO
Before summer came, a couple of graves, or five, or six, or ten, would warp its immaculate sheen. For the moment, it was a magnificent hill.
A PERFECT CEMETERY
Un chicotazo de viento le arrancó el gorro de lana, que desapareció dando tumbos, perdiéndose en lo blanco.
A gust of wind ripped off her woollen cap, which vanished somersaulting, lost in the white.
En el espejito retrovisor, la estación de servicio ya no era más que un relumbrón apuntalando la noche; el cartel de la parrillita, un último farol en medio de la oscuridad y el campo.
LA ACTIVIDAD FORESTAL
In the rearview mirror, the petrol station was already no more than a flash underpinning the night; the parrilla’s sign a last lantern in the middle of the darkness and the countryside.
En las noches de calor, todo se volvía lento, extático. No había aletazos de murciélagos, no ululaban las lechuzas, las liebres no salían de sus madrigueras. El rey dormía sobre una cama de berros, a orillas de la vertiente seca, en un bajo encharcado que olía a podrido pero se mantenía fresco.
On hot nights everything slowed, ecstatic. There was no bats’ flapping, no owls’ singing, and the hares never emerged from their warren. The king slept atop a bed of watercress, at the edge of the dry slope in a swamped hollow that smelled foetid but stayed cool.
Federico FALCO (General Cabrera, Córdoba, Argentina, 1977) is the author of four collections of short stories, a book of poems and the novel Cielos de Córdoba (Córdoba Skies). He holds a BA in Communications from Blas Pascal University in Argentina and an MFA in Creative Writing in Spanish from New York University. In 2010, Granta selected him as one of the Best Young Spanish-Language Novelists, and in 2017 the story ‘Silvi and the Her Dark Night’ (included in this collection) was a finalist for the García Márquez Short Story Prize. Falco is currently the director of Chai Editora, dedicated to publishing short stories by contemporary Argentinian authors. His forthcoming novel, Los Llanos (The Plains) was recently finalist of the Herralde Prize (2020). He lives in Buenos Aires and A Perfect Cemetery is his first book to appear in English.
Jennifer CROFT is the author of Homesick and Serpientes y escaleras (Snakes and Ladders) and the co-winner with Nobel Laureate Olga TOKARCZUK of the International Booker Prize for the novel Flights. She holds a PhD in Comparative Literary Studies from Northwestern University and an MFA in Literary Translation from the University of Iowa. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The New York Review Daily, The Paris Review Daily, The Los Angeles Review of Books, Granta, Tin House, BOMB, n+1, Guernica, The Guardian, The Chicago Tribune and elsewhere