Adrienne Mitchell is a literary translator and tenured professor who holds an M.Ed. in Educational Leadership with a focus on second language acquisition and pedagogy, as well as an M.A. in Romance Languages from the University of Oregon.
On her translation of Rosa Montero’s novel Bella y oscura (published as Beautiful and Dark, Aunt Lute 2010):
I first encountered Montero’s work as a graduate student in Romance Languages and immediately fell in love with her writing style. I delved more deeply into her work when I wrote my M.A. essay on the social implications of spatial imagery in her novels. Most of Montero’s works have not yet been translated into English—none of her more recent works in fact—and that was the initial impetus for exploring a translation project. In particular, I felt a strong affinity for Bella y oscura. Montero’s language in this novel is descriptive and elegant. I am, at heart, a writer, and I love words. Her words jump off the page—they are alive, visceral, juicy, sparkling. I believe her word choices are perfect, gracefully concise yet eminently impactful.
Finding a way to translate her ideas, the thematic content, the pith of this novel into language that is just as vibrant as the original has been stimulating and meaningful work. It is this language that forces the reader to confront and understand the “life that is so dark and beautiful.” Just as the novel itself is compelling, I simply could not not translate it.
By Rosa Montero
Translated by Adrienne Mitchell
Combining elements of the real and the fantastic, Beautiful and Dark(Bella y oscura) is written from the perspective of an orphaned girl taken to live with relatives in a derelict neighborhood at the edge of a city. Trying to cope with the mystery and violence of the adult world around her, she is drawn to the Lilliputian Airelei, who fascinates her with fantastic tales that mix myth and memory.
PRAISE FOR BEAUTIFUL AND DARK
Beautiful and Dark…is a dramatization of the painful innocence of childhood when confronting the adult world, of the position of women, of love, of death, and of writing itself—the Beautiful and Dark writing that Rosa Montero has invented with intense and entertaining effectiveness in order to be loyal to her truth.
—Juan Antonio Masoliver Ródenas, La Vanguardia
Beautiful and Dark synthesizes the mixture that comprises the book well—a mixture of sordid social realism, existentialist orientation, and the mysterious, magical terror that depicts the unknown from the mythifying, childish perspective of a girl, whose experiences are a metaphor for unfulfilled desires.
—J.L. Martín Nogales, El Diario Vasco
In her most thoughtful novel to date, Rosa Montero brilliantly combines intrigue and imagination with personal insight into human nature.
—Javier Escudero, World Literature in Review