Annie Ernaux: how is the first translation into River Plate Spanish of the Nobel Prize for Literature

“Diario del Fuera/La vida exterior”, co-edited by Milena Caserola and Milena París, is the first book by Nobel laureate Annie Ernaux to be translated into River Plate Spanish.

In 2015, with Milena Caserola, we were the first publishers to publish in Latin America annie ernaux with Outside Diary/The Outside Lifea diptych translated by Sun Gil. Ernaux was already translated into Spanish but always by Spanish publishers. We also wanted to bet on the River Plate translation and translate in the variety of Spanish.

7 years ago, for us the goal was to make Annie Ernaux known and also to translate new voices of current French contemporary literature outside the labels.

Outside Diary/The Outside Life they are “extreme” diaries where she recounts scenes from the daily life of anonymous people that she finds between Paris and the “banlieue” (the suburb).

This book was made with the support of Translation Assistance Victoria Ocampothe CNL in France and also the translator was able to translate at the Arles College of Translators in France.

Annie Ernaux invited the editor and translator of Milena Paris to visit her home and studio in France.
Annie Ernaux invited the editor and translator of Milena Paris to visit her home and studio in France.

Sol and I had the honor of being received by Annie Ernaux at her home in Cergy Pontoise and walk along its daily routes, between the shopping center and the bakery. He greeted us for tea. I saw where she wrote.

“I am not a woman who writes, I am someone who writes”, she says: “Although being a woman in the 2000s is not being a woman in the 50s, this domination endures. [masculina]even in the cultural spheres. The Women’s Revolution has not happened yet. It has to be done”.

The project arose from the realization that there were very few translations of current French and Francophone writers circulating in Argentine bookstores. Our intention was to show the diversity of new French authors who are outside any label.

In this offer of French letters that they propose to make to the Latin American public, they will seek to include not only French authors but also African, Canadian and Caribbean ones. Translations in our variety but at the same time preserving everything foreign, both in the formal level of the language and in that of cultural references. We choose authors who work and transform language in a particular way, with their own poetics.

1665574059 252 Annie Ernaux how is the first translation into River Plate


In the RER parking lot it is written: DEMENTIA. Further on, on the same wall, TE AMO ELSA and IF YOUR CHILDREN ARE HAPPY THEY ARE COMMUNISTS.

This afternoon, in the Les Linandes neighborhood, a woman passed by on a stretcher supported by two firefighters. In a reclining position, almost sitting, she was calm, gray hair, between fifty and sixty years old. A blanket of hers covered his legs and half of her torso. One girl told another, “I had blood on the sheet.” But the woman did not have a sheet. She thus crossed the pedestrian plaza of Les Linandes like a queen among the people who went to do the shopping at the Franprix, the children who played, to the fire truck in the parking lot. It was half past five, clear and cold. From the top of a building that borders the square, a voice shouted: “Rachid, Rachid!”

I put the purchases in the trunk of the car. The boy who collects the monkeys was leaning against the wall of the passage that leads from the parking lot to the plaza. He had on a blue blazer and those usual gray pants that fall over big shoes. He has a terrible look. He came to get my monkey when I had almost left the parking lot. To return home, I took the lane that borders the open trench to extend the RER. He had the impression of going up towards the sun that was hiding between the criss-crossed irons of the electrical poles rushing towards the center of the New City.

On the train to Saint-Lazare, an old woman sat in a seat next to the aisle, talking to a boy –perhaps her grandson– who remained standing: “And I want to go, I want to go, but are you not well here? Look, moldy quickstone doesn’t cover”. He has his hands in his pockets, he doesn’t answer. After: “But you see a lot of people when you travel.” The old woman laughs: “You will see cute and ugly everywhere!” Her face is still happy as she looks ahead and shuts up. He doesn’t smile and stares at her shoes, leaning against the train door. In front of them a pretty black woman reads a novel from the Harlequin collection, Une ombre sur le bonheur.

Saturday morning in the Super-M of the Trois Fontaines shopping center, a woman walks through the aisles of “Cleaning”, broom brush in hand. She speaks to herself, tragic air: “But where did they go? How difficult it is to run errands by many”.

A quiet crowd at the checkout. An Arab constantly observes inside the monkey the few things that lie at the bottom. Satisfaction of soon having what you wanted or fear that “it will be too expensive”, or both things. A woman in her fifties wearing a black coat rudely throws the packages on the conveyor belt, grabs them again brutally when they are registered, and throws them back in the changuito. She lets the cashier complete her check and signs slowly.

People barely walk through the corridors of the mall. We managed to avoid, without looking at them, all those neighboring bodies a few centimeters away. Infallible instinct or habit. Only the monkeys and the boys hit us in the belly or in the back. “Look where you’re walking!” A mother yells at her son. Some women in line with the lights and mannequins in the shop windows, red lips, red boots, petite tails in jeans and wild hair, move forward with determination.

He went up in Achères-Ville, twenty, twenty-five years. She settled into two seats, legs stretched out, sideways. She pulls a pair of pliers out of her pocket and uses it, then watches the beauty produced in each finger as she reaches out. The passengers pretend not to see him. It seems that it is the first time that she has a nail clipper. Happy with insolence. Nobody can do anything against his happiness of – as the faces of the passengers indicate – rude.

A girl, on the train, forces her mother to read her a book. Each page begins like this: “What time is it? –It’s time to…” (have lunch, go to school, feed the cat, etc.). The mother reads aloud once. The girl demands to read it herself although she still doesn’t know how. Apparently, she only remembered what her mother read to her (probably already several times) because she makes mistakes in the actions that are appropriate for this or that time. Mom corrects her. The girl repeats full of joy, louder and louder: “It’s four o’clock: it’s time to walk the baby. It’s five o’clock: it’s time to change the water to the fish…”. She experiences an increasingly agitated pleasure as she repeats the relentless round of authoritatively linked hours and activities. She gets excited, she doesn’t stop moving in her seat, she turns the pages of the book with a kind of rage, “what time is it, it’s time”. Normally that vertigo of repetition, frequent in boys, soon reaches its paroxysm: screaming, crying and a slap in the face. In this case, the girl pounces on her mother and says: “I want to bite you.”


We are all broken and so is she, that’s why you have to read Annie Ernaux
Annie Ernaux: five books available to read now to the new winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, even if they are not in bookstores
Why it was a mistake to give Annie Ernaux the Nobel

We want to give thanks to the author of this write-up for this outstanding content

Annie Ernaux: how is the first translation into River Plate Spanish of the Nobel Prize for Literature