A Conversation with Suzanne Jill Levine

Suzanne Jill Levine has had the vision and bravado to become a protagonist in the story of Latin American literature in English translation and to change it in the process, not only publishing biographies and translations, but also creating a mashup of autobiography and scholarship that’s totally original. Her versions of books by Guillermo Cabrera Infante, Severo Sarduy, and Manuel Puig are important to me because they enrich the resources of Anglophone literature with a reach extending beyond that of anything except the most critically acclaimed bestseller. When you read a Latin American novel in English, there’s a good chance you’re reading one of her translations. I think the work of Suzanne Jill Levine has an impact comparable to that of C. K. Scott Moncrieff’s Proust or Constance Garnett’s Dostoevsky—not only literary but cultural.